The Fire That Didn’t Go Out
Exodus 3; Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 251-255
We worship God when we are reverent.
“Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground” (Exodus 3:5).
Have you ever enjoyed sitting by a campfire or by a burning fireplace at home? If you do not add wood, the fire will go out. In our story today Moses saw a fire, but it did not burn anything, and it did not go out.
It had been 40 years since Moses had run away from Egypt. He knew now that he had been wrong. Killing was not part of God’s plan. But God had not left him. He had protected Moses as he traveled over the desert.
Moses remembered the first evening in Midian. While he had rested near a well, some shepherdesses came to draw water. They always watered their animals at that well. But some shepherds came and tried to chase the women away. Moses saw what was happening. He protected them from the shepherds. Then he drew water for the women’s sheep.
The women took Moses home with them and fed him. Their father, Jethro, hired Moses to work for him. Later Moses married Jethro’s daughter Zipporah, one of the shepherdesses. And now he and Zipporah had two sons.
The pharaoh Moses had run from was dead. But the Israelites were worse off than ever. The new pharaoh was more cruel than the old one. How Moses wished he hadn’t taken matters into his own hands. He wished he hadn’t killed that Egyptian! If he had only waited for God to show him when to act! His people might have been free by now.
God knew that Moses was ready to lead the Israelites. He had learned to be humble. He had learned to wait for God. He had learned patience as he took care of sheep.
One day Moses was caring for his father-in-law’s flocks as usual. Suddenly he saw a bush burning. Moses saw that the bush kept burning. But it didn’t burn up! The fire was not going out! He decided to have a closer look. As he stood before the bush, he heard a voice.
“Moses! Moses!’’ the voice said.
“Here I am,’’ Moses answered.
“Do not come any closer. Take off your shoes. You are standing on holy ground,’’ said the voice. “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and of Jacob.’’
Quickly Moses took off his sandals and bowed low.
The voice continued: “I have seen the trouble of My people. And I want you to go to Pharaoh and tell him to let My people go.’’
“But, Lord, who am I to go to Pharaoh?’’ Moses asked.
“I will be with you,’’ God promised. “When you leave Egypt, you will come back to this mountain and worship Me.”
Moses answered, “But what will I tell the Israelites? Who will I say sent me?”
God replied, “Tell the Israelites that the God of their fathers sent you. Tell them that I know what is happening. Tell them I have sent you to rescue them. They will listen to you.
“I know that the king of the Egyptians will not believe you. But that will give me a great opportunity. I will do many signs so that everyone will know that I am the true God.”
Moses loved, honored, and respected God. Although he felt unworthy, he would do what God had said. By his deeds Moses would worship God with true reverence and respect. You, too, can worship God with reverence and respect.