1Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. 3Then Moses said, “I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.” 4When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” 5Then he said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” 6He said further, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. 7Then the Lord said, “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, 8and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 9The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them. 10So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.”
11But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” 12He said, “I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.” 13But Moses said to God, “If I come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” 14God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” He said further, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’“ 15God also said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you’: This is my name forever, and this my title for all generations.
Reading Scripture to Know:
- What is happening/being said? (Observation)
- Why is this happening/being said? (Interpretation)
- What does the rest of Scripture say about it? (Evaluation)
- What does it mean? (Understanding)
- What does it mean for us? (Application)
Reading Scripture to Grow:
- What words or phrases stand out to you? Why?
- Where do you hear the voice of God in this Scripture?
- How do you see the character of God reflected in this Scripture?
- How does this Scripture reveal God?
- How does this Scripture expose humanity and its need for God?
- How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in your life?
- How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in our world?
- What might God want to communicate to you (us) this week through this Scripture?
Scripture Reads Me:
- This passage makes me feel…
- This passage makes me think about…
- This passage reminds me of…
- This passage teaches me that God is…
- This passages teaches me that I am…
- This passage challenges me to…
Reflection: Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush.
I love the way this passage begins. God appears to Moses not while Moses is doing some monumental spiritual work. God appears to Moses while Moses is watching over some sheep. God’s power meets Moses within the context of the mundane. This is not to say that Moses’s spirit was not open to the movement of God. It is just that in this instance, there was no distinction between the mundane and the spiritual. This is an important lesson for us all.
Every moment is an opportunity for God to get our attention. Every moment is a spiritual, sacred moment. Too often we make a distinction between the sacred and the secular, the holy and the profane. If God can reveal Godself in the middle of nowhere in elements as common as fire and shrubbery, then perhaps God can reveal Godself to you in your living room, or the middle of a cotton field, or in an office building.
Also, I am sure Moses thought his opportunities had passed to participate in God’s work on behalf of the people of Israel. He was an eighty-year-old ex-royal fugitive who had been rejected by his people. Yet God chose him to lead and rescue the Israelites from slavery and deliver them back to the Promised Land. No matter how ordinary you feel you are or how disappointing your past has been, God can and will still use you to advance the kingdom of God if you make yourself available to God.
God would lead Moses and the Israelites back to this humble spot and there God would appear to the people and give them, through Moses, the Law. This ordinary place became the seat of the covenant and this ordinary man became the mightiest prophet of God. Who will you become in the kingdom of God? What might God do in the places you find yourself? You might not see a vision exactly like the one Moses saw, but God is ready to appear to you and turn your everyday world into a holy place.
Prayer Focus: Then the Lord said, “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey.
God is both compassionate and active. God sees our hurts and sorrows and then acts upon that compassion to ease our burdens and bring us healing and comfort. In what ways do you need compassion this week? How might we respond to our world compassionately? Ask yourselves both of these questions as you pray this week. Trust God to meet your needs and to bear your struggles. Pray that those hurting around the world will be receptive to God’s offers of freedom and liberation. Be an agent of wholeness, healing, and holiness by engaging God in prayer for yourself and for the world.
Meditation Focus: God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.”
The most important words we can ever say to God are the words “Here I am.” Throughout Scripture, when anyone says these words to God, God does something powerful in their lives. God desires availability over ability. Listen deeply this week for God’s guiding voice. Sit in silence and pray for God to make Godself known to you. May the mantra of your week be “LORD, here I am.” As you let these words take root in your heart, mind, and spirit, God will respond with faithful presence and power.
Journaling Focus: God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.”
This is one of the most important self-disclosures of God in all of Scripture. It is from this encounter with Moses that we derive the personal, revealed name of God, YHWH (Yahweh – translated as LORD in the English). The name YHWH is etymologically connected to the Hebrew word translated in this verse as I AM WHO I AM. Reflect on this response to Moses that God gave with the intention of revealing the divine nature and identity to Moses. What do you suppose this name means? What is the significance of this name for us and for the world? Is there anyone else who could reveal themselves in such a way? Why or why not? Ponder these deep mysteries of God’s self-revelation as you journal this week.
Demonstrate your compassion this week by familiarizing yourself with the work of UMCOR, the United Methodist Committee on Relief. Visit their website at www.umcor.org and consider donating funds to aid flood victims in Texas and others around the world who have experienced the ravaging effects of natural disasters. Donations can be made securely online. When you give to UMCOR, 100% of your gift goes directly to relief work.
Breath Prayer: Father, reveal yourself to us.