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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.
Reflection: Then Moses said, “I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.
Hello from the mountains of Tennessee! Reading about holy ground in this passage was perfect timing for being in this beautiful mountain scenery. My grandfather used to call this “God’s Country” and I can understand why! There is something about being out in nature that connects us to God.
Moses must have had quite the shock when he came upon this burning bush. This, after all, was an unusual occurrence and Moses would not have expected it. So when he sees the bush consumed by fire, his first instinct is to look around to see what could be causing it. It wasn’t until God audibly spoke to him that he realized this was a supernatural experience.
I know we can all relate to Moses in this story. Many times, we have heard God’s voice yet attribute it to something else because we just can’t believe God would speak to us! Or maybe it’s because we aren’t tuned in to what God’s voice sounds like. Even Moses looked away and hid his face after God spoke to him. But if we look away and stay in our fear, we will miss what God wants to tell us. We have to look directly at the burning bush to be refined by its fire.
When have you heard God voice? How did you react? Was it audible or did God speak to you through an experience? Reflect this week on a time when you have heard directly from God. If you haven’t experienced this before, reflect on what may be keeping you from hearing God’s voice. It’s so easy in our busy lives to see the burning bush but look away. Make this week a time you can hear from God in a fresh, new way.
Journaling Focus: Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.
Have you ever been on holy ground? Have you ever felt the presence of God so deeply in a certain place? Write about that place or those places this week. What was different about this place? How did you feel God’s presence? Revisit these spaces of holy ground and say a prayer of thanksgiving for the time spent there.
These questions are designed to help make sense of the message of Scripture. They are not designed to overwhelm, but to enlighten. Do not feel as if you need to answer all – or even most – of these questions every week. Perhaps pick one or two that will help you explore the Scripture and its message more deeply.
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 passage teaches me that I am…
- This passage challenges me to…
Listen to the song, Holy Ground. Focus on the words and your reaction to the words. How will you praise God even now and make where you are standing holy ground? What is God communicating to you through this song? What might you communicate to God?
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…”
The oppression of the Israelites is the focus on this story. But oppression did not end with their liberation. Oppression continues in our world today, even in our own community. Pray for the oppressed. Ask God to open their eyes and ears to signs of liberation. Pray for those that are oppressing others. Pray that they will hear God’s voice to set people free.
Meditation Focus: But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
Have you ever felt like Moses? Have you heard the call from God to go and do but you feel highly unequipped for the job? Imagine that you are Moses. See the burning bush in your minds eye. You probably know the rest of the story. Moses encounters many challenges before he completes the mission. Imagine the way Moses must have felt when he successfully led the people from Egypt. How would he have reacted? Then meditate on what your mission is. How will you accept God’s promise to be with you along the journey? Imagine worshipping on the mountain of Horeb when your mission is complete. Thank God for the journey as you complete your meditation.
Take some time to reflect upon your day or your week. Follow the process below and open yourself up to the presence and work of God in your life this week. Every week the structure is the same, but some specifics are changed to reflect the Scripture of the week.
- Find a place and posture that will prepare you for prayer.
- Begin by breathing in deeply through your nose and breathing deeply out of your mouth.
- Invite God to lead you through the previous day or week. For instance, if it is Tuesday night, reflect back on Tuesday morning, afternoon, and evening. If it is Saturday or Sunday, reflect back on Monday through Friday.
- Ask God to guide you through these questions:
- How have you seen God revealed?
- What were you doing/not doing when you saw God?
- In what ways have you heard God’s call?
- How did you accept God’s help?
- Thank God for this journey of reflection on your day or week. Ask God to continue to reveal Godself to you tomorrow.
Holy Action: God 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.’”
The Bible gives us many names for God. The name “I AM WHO I AM” was revealed to Moses. This week, make a list of all the names of God you know. Devote some research time to explore the names of God used in both the Old and New Testament. What can these names tell us about God today?
Breath Prayer: LORD God, here I am.