July 11 I Wednesday
“There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up.” —Exodus 3:2
The fact that God would limit Himself to live as a man is incredible, but His incarnation in the person of Jesus Christ was not the first time God appeared on earth as a man. God took the form of a man to wrestle with Jacob, and He appeared to Joshua as the commander of the LORD’s armies just before Israel began the conquest of Jericho. Other times, God appeared in the form of fire or smoke. When God led His people to the Red Sea and through the wilderness, He did so as a pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night (Exodus 13:21).
The burning bush is another of these theophanies, a theological term for when God appears in a physical, tangible form, but it was not as immediately awe-inspiring as something like a pillar of fire. In the heat and dryness of the Midian desert, it was not uncommon for a bush to suddenly undergo spontaneous combustion and burst into flames. What was so surprising was that this bush failed to burn out. Moses knew the bush should have quickly become a heap of ash on the ground, but when it failed to act as a normal bush would, Moses thought to himself, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up” (Exodus 3:3). This was the beginning of Moses’s life-changing encounter with God.
The only explanation for the bush that would not burn out was that God was in the bush. There was nothing inherently special about it. It was blown by the wind and had leaves and twigs like any other bush. But now, the same God who made the bush act impossibly was promising to work through Moses to deliver His people. Moses grew up in the palace of Pharaoh, but he did not accomplish the impossible task of freeing a nation from slavery because he learned leadership as a prince of Egypt or patience as a shepherd. Moses was successful because God was with him, empowering, instructing and leading him.
The God who kept the bush from burning out promised to go with Moses, but when we believe in Christ, we receive the even greater blessing of God living in us. Our ability to do the things God has called us to depends solely and entirely on the indwelling presence of His Spirit. He often uses our previous experiences to equip and prepare us, but it is by living in trust and dependence on His supernatural life and empowering that He makes us ready to face whatever hardships lie ahead or seemingly impossible tasks He has in store.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your life within me and for equipping me with Yourself to accomplish whatever tasks You have set before me today. In Your holy name.