I enjoy the exercise, sights, fresh air, and unexpected surprises one gets when hiking. I love seeing wildlife as squirrels scamper around from tree to tree, deer tiptoe through the brush, or a fox appears from nowhere. I anticipate and appreciate reaching a destination and being rewarded with a priceless view. I love hiking and the rewards that come, but I have no interest in full-blown mountain climbing.
I am always amazed at people risking their lives by taking on the challenge of reaching the peak. The five tallest mountains in the world are not on my bucket list.
In what country would you find each mountain?
How many mountains recorded in Scripture can you name and describe a memorable event that occurred on that mountain?
It might surprise you, but Israel is not noted as a flatland region. There are mountains everywhere. Each one brings views that cover miles and often reach into other countries. As you stand on the mountain, you need to pause and collect the profound historic stories and even miracles that took place right around your feet. There are so many mountains in Israel that there are times when a tour guide says that this is the most likely location an event occurred.
There are a number of biblical stories involving mountains: The Ark landed on Ararat, Abraham “sacrificed” Isaac on Moriah, the Ten Commandments were given on Sinai, Moses looked at the Promised Land from Nebo and Pisgah, Elijah competed against the prophets of Baal on Carmel, the Transfiguration was probably on Hermon, Jesus prayed before His Crucifixion on Olivet (Mount of Olives) and the place of David’s palace and the Temple were on Zion.
Finally, there is Mount Horeb. Exodus chapter 3 records God speaking from the burning bush. God had a special calling for Moses.
There are three truths to remember when God calls you to take on an adventure.
Exodus 3:1-6 says, “Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. And Moses said, ‘I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.’ When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, ‘Moses, Moses!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ Then he said, ‘Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.’ And he said, ‘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.”
What would have been your immediate reaction?
I have a friend who always would say, “Hook, book, look, took,” when preparing or critiquing a lesson. The “hook” was the attention-getting device. The “book” was an important reminder always to examine God’s Word. The “look” was to go deeper with the truth. Finally, the “took” reminded the speaker to give the audience some practical advice they can take with them.
What was God’s “hook” with Moses?
A fear in using the “hook, book, look, took” is that people will focus so much on the illustration that they miss the point. The burning bush got his attention, but do not miss the message. “The angel of the Lord” (found 67 times in the Old Testament) turns a normal area into holy ground. He uses normal people to do amazing deeds. Common can become holy.
Why do you think God called Moses by name?
Finally, God tells Moses to remember the past. God identifies Himself, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Moses had now heard of the mighty works, direction, and most important the promise (covenant) of God. He encouraged Moses to remember the past.
After identifying Himself as the God who was, He has Moses look forward to the future. God was, and He will be.
Exodus 3:7-12 adds, “Then the Lord said, ‘I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of 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 place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. And now, behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.’ But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?’ He said, ‘But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.’”
What verbs are used of God in the first two sentences?
How are these words comforting to us today?
I have always read this phrase with fear, “The place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.” I did not find it comforting to read that God was sending them into the land of six enemies. One would be bad enough, but six? As I study this passage more, I realized God was saying that I am giving you land that is spacious and fruitful enough for even six nations. It was, “A good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey.”
Perspective is everything. What I saw as a challenge, God conveyed as a positive.
Where are some areas where we might lose perspective today and miss God’s blessing?
What promise does God make to Moses at the end of the paragraph?
God is the One who directed the past and holds the future, but He is also the God of now. He is the God of the present. He expressed this to Moses in the next section of the passage.
Exodus 3:13-22 says, “Then Moses said to God, ‘If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?’ God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am.’ And he said, ‘Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’’ God also said to Moses, ‘Say this to the people of Israel: ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations. Go and gather the elders of Israel together and say to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has appeared to me, saying, ‘I have observed you and what has been done to you in Egypt, and I promise that I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, a land flowing with milk and honey.’’’ And they will listen to your voice, and you and the elders of Israel shall go to the king of Egypt and say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us; and now, please let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God.’ But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless compelled by a mighty hand. So I will stretch out my hand and strike Egypt with all the wonders that I will do in it; after that he will let you go. And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and when you go, you shall not go empty, but each woman shall ask of her neighbor, and any woman who lives in her house, for silver and gold jewelry, and for clothing. You shall put them on your sons and on your daughters. So you shall plunder the Egyptians.”
What name does God use for Himself?
What phrases are repeated from the earlier part of this chapter?
Moses was being equipped as an educated man for 40 years in the palace. He decided to leave it to be a deliverer for Israel. It was not God’s timing. Forty years later, after being taught the things of God by a priest and spending quiet time with God, God said it was time. He called Moses to be a deliverer for his people and His people.
What does God promise to Moses (several answers)?
Some people are so consumed with guilt, shame, or hurt from the past that they have a hard time moving forward. Others stand still in fear of the future. Both groups miss the now. We need to embrace the present. We need to walk confidently. Seize the day.
In 1953, Edmund Hillary accomplished something that no one had ever done. He reached the peak of Mount Everest. He had to forget his past failures and those of others. He put aside the fear of failure and even death. He started with that first step in the present.
What is God calling you to do?
“Jesus Christ is the same
yesterday and today and forever.”