“Exposing the Exodus”
The Phenomenal Bush (Chapter 3 Verses 1-4)
Mysterious, to say the least. Fire in the Bible usually signifies divine judgment, God’s holiness in active opposition to evil. A thought which raises a question, how can a holy God have to do with such impure beings (Habakkuk 1:13)? Other that is, than to judge, to condemn them. The only answer of course is, his gospel grace. Through the good news of his Son Jesus Christ, grace reigns. Not, at the expense of righteousness, but through righteousness (Romans 5:21). The phenomenon, the burning bush, speaks of that grace. And it is this message of grace that God intends to burn into the heart of his servant Moses. How? The cross, God’s vindication of his own justice (Galatians 3:13). It was upon that cross that Jesus endured the fierce wrath of God, plunged into, engulfed in the flames of divine judgment. But they didn’t and could not consume our Surety. The law’s demand for death was met. God’s holiness was intact, whilst justifying the ungodly through faith in his Son, freely form all things. Reconciliation is a Divine act. Interposed between God’s holy displeasure and our sin is the atoning work of Christ. At the expense of God’s compassion and mercy. It’s called simply amazing grace.
Moses is given here a glimpse, a visible manifestation of the divine presence (v4). The presence that was promised guard, guide and protect his people in all ages. The holiness of God’s character is manifested here, for it is in holiness that he is going to deal with own people Israel, and Egypt. This must needs be imprinted upon Moses, the leader’s own soul. Moses has been called out of the darkness, now he must walk in the light (1John 1:5ff). In terms of Christian leadership and worship today this sorely needs to be reiterated. Whose glorious presence is it in which we meet? Moses will find as he commences his work amongst the people of Israel, he will have to rebuke and correct their carnality and idolatry. Way too much of what they imbibed in Egypt they will carry with them when they leave. They will have to learn the reality of the character of the God with whom they have to do, and how he is to be worshiped. This experience of the holy character of God will never leave Moses, it will be a constant reminder to him of the standard ever to be maintained. It is a new realisation of this that is needed in the church today. It would check much of the levity, lightness found in many services.
(© James R Hamilton, written Spring, 2015)