Read - Exodus 3:2-6
Message - Alan Burke
In the spring or summer no doubt there will be wildfires on the Mourne’s. A couple of years ago now one fire at its front is a mile long, homes and a caravan park were evacuated while fifty fighter fighters tried to get it under control. It was started either to encourage young shoots for grazing or just out of badness but the visible effect of that fire was clear for everyone to see.
In the dry Sinai desert region a bush catching fires was and is not unusual. This bush that Moses saw was different; it appeared to be on fire even though it wasn’t actually burning. That’s because it was no ordinary fire. For this was the Angel of the Lord appearing to Moses, within the bush, clothed in flames of fire. God by his presence was there.
But this was not an angel in the ordinary sense, created beings sent by God like Gabriel to announce to Mary how she was with Child or the Angels who appeared to the shepherds. No, this Angel is the Lord himself appearing to Moses, this was what is known as a theophany, the visible manifestation of God to his creatures. God had been leading Moses to this point because He unknown to Moses and unknown to his people had been at work, to bring glory to himself, and it is this is the turning point in the book of Exodus for Moses and the people of God.
It is curiosity plain and simple that draws Moses to the bush (4), and the Lord speaks;
His Curiosity now turns to shock even terror. Our familiarity with this means that this supernatural theophany fails to fill us with wonder as it once did when we were children, I’m surprised Moses was even able to respond, there would have been many who turned on their heels and ran. Yet Moses says,
“Here I am.”
The Lord warns Moses not to come any closer, to take of his sandals, for the place where he was standing was holy ground. And then God said verse 6 “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.
After hearing the voice of God, Moses is afraid, his reaction albeit in awe was initially to gaze at the bush, he now covers his face afraid to look at God. Moses understood that that the one who spoke from the bush was the Lord God, the God of his fathers.
Why did Moses cover his face?
Simply because Moses knew that he was an unholy man before the holy God. He hid is face for he knew his unworthiness, his sinfulness. This is why Moses hid his face because he knew that before a holy God he deserved his wrath. And all of us have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God, we are all worthy objects of God's wrath and punishment.
Before the living God men are traumatised, because it reveals sin. Its not the picture that many of us have in our heads, we have made God some kind of fluffy agony aunt that meets our needs, but Bible teaches that at the end of history every human being who has ever lived or will live will stand before God’s throne for judgment (2 Cor 5:10). When that day comes, unless we are holy, we will be destroyed. How will we ever survive a direct encounter with God?
There is only one way that we can stand before God’s throne on that day, it is in and through Jesus Christ, the only way for us to come into the presence of a holy God is to become holy. This is only possible though what God has done, this is why He sent his Son Jesus Christ so that he might become our holiness and redemption (1 Cor 1:30). “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behaviour. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight” (Col. 1:21, 22).
It is the grace that God through Christ Jesus that enables us to approach Him—not as Moses did, hiding his face in fear, but by faith, trusting in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Q73 Which is the eighth commandment?
The eighth commandment is, Thou shalt not steal. (Exod. 20:15)