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Meeting at the Bush

Key References: Exodus 3; 4:1-17; Patriarchs and Prophets, chap. 22, pp. 251-256; The Bible Story (1994), vol. 2, pp. 95-100; Our Beliefs, nos. 17, 22, 11.

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“We have di erent gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully” (Romans 12:6-8).

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God calls me to bless others with the abilities He has given me.

Have you ever faced a challenge that seemed too big for you to handle alone? Let’s take a closer look at the story of Moses, whom God called to the important work of leading the people of Israel out of Egypt. What happened when God took charge and enabled Moses to accomplish this great assignment?

The bush was still burning, and Moses knew he would never be the same again. During this meeting at the bush, God, the great I AM, had called Moses to go back to Egypt. He was to ask Pharaoh to allow God’s people to depart from Egypt.

The Pharaoh is never going to agree to give up all those slaves, Moses thought to himself. I tried to rescue my people years ago. Instead of thanking me when I killed the Egyptian who was beating the Hebrew slave, the Israelites treated me with contempt, and the Egyptians went after me. I barely escaped with my life.

Then God demonstrated to Moses three miraculous signs he could perform to reveal to the Egyptians the amazing power of the God of Israel. First, Moses would throw down his staff , and it would turn into a snake. Then he would place his hand inside his cloak, and when he removed it, his hand would be covered with leprosy. He would then place the hand with leprosy inside his cloak, and this time it would come out completely healed. If the Egyptians would refuse to fear God after those signs, Moses could pour water from the Nile over the ground, and it would turn into blood (see Exodus 4:1-9).

But Moses had been out in the country herding sheep for 40 years. He no longer believed he was the one to deliver Israel. He wasn’t even sure he could speak the Egyptian language anymore. However, Moses couldn’t stand around for long, feeling sorry for himself. God was speaking again. Moses shaded his eyes and looked toward the ever-burning bush.

“Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say” (Exodus 4:11, 12).

God was offering Moses everything he would need to accomplish the task. Yet Moses was still afraid. God spoke again. “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and he will be glad to see you” (verse 14).

His brother was coming! Moses was amazed. He hadn’t seen his brother for many, many years. It would be great to be together again. God was right; Aaron was a good speaker. In fact, together they would be a great team. Moses’ fears began to go away.

“Moses,” God continued, “you shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do” (verse 15).

Moses was starting to see the possibilities. God still wanted to speak through him. God had given him talents of leadership and was asking him to use them to bless his people. The bush crackled louder. “But take this staff in your hand,” God spoke to Moses, “so you can perform the signs with it” (verse 17).

Moses humbly leaned down to pick up his staff . He put his sandals back on his feet. God has promised to teach me what I should do, Moses thought. He is even willing to send someone with diff erent talents than I have to help me.

Moses headed back toward his flock. Just when I thought the rest of my life would be spent calmly herding sheep, God calls me to lead His people. Moses recognized the solemnity of the moments he had spent in conversation with God. Then he started contemplating his life’s greatest assignment.