Exodus 3.1-10 Moses and the Burning Bush, A sermon for Lenten Community Service
I don’t know if you’ve ever done anything stupid before, but I know I have. And you might say Moses did. When he sees an Egyptian mistreating a Hebrew, he reacts. That’s a good thing. He knew what he saw wasn’t right. But his reaction wasn’t right either – he kills the Egyptian. His life threatened, Moses flees into the desert to Midian.
Moses is in Midian forty years when God speaks to him out of a burning bush and calls Moses to go back and deliver the Hebrew people from the mistreatment they are suffering. Moses’ response is “Who am I?”
I propose the answer to this question might be found in the burning bush. God took a normal bush and inhabited it, making it something extraordinary. Moses was aware of his shortcomings. He was aware of his failure the first time he tried to help the Hebrew people. The first time Moses tried to do things his way and in his strength. This time God promises to go with him. God promises to do something extraordinary through an ordinary person.
“Who am I?” Moses asked. Moses is teachable – he learns from Jethro, a priest and his father-in-law. Moses has a humble spirit. He is but a vessel through whom God will speak. Moses has passion and compassion for those who are oppressed. God wired Moses for this.
Moses was a Hebrew raised and educated by Egyptians. He understood their ways.Moses was broken. He left a palace for the desert. He left royalty to become a shepherd.
“Who am I?” Moses asked. God answered, “You are the one I have chosen. I am sending you.” And God did not stop there. he said that he would be with Moses, that he would help Moses, that he would teach Moses what to say.
“Who am I?” is the proper response of any one who is called of God. We all have made mistakes. We all have failed. We all have acted outside God’s will. But we cannot step beyond the bounds of God’s reaching and forgiving. We cannot step beyond the bounds of God’s call.
“Who am I?” Are you curious enough to draw near the burning bush to find the answer? Are you curious enough to tread on holy ground? Are you curious enough to listen for God’s voice speaking to you?