June 9, 2019

Burning Bush

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. — Exodus 3:4-6
Accompanying Sermon

In Retrospect

  • Why was Moses in Midian?
  • Reread Exodus 2:23-25. What is the implication of the section ending “God knew”?

Community Reading

Exodus 3:1–4:17, Hebrews 5:1-4, Hebrews 7:11-18

Begin Study

There is nothing boring about Moses’ “calling” story. With our modern thinking, we find colorful stories of talking serpents and conversations with fiery shrubs just that— stories. We should be cautious taking the powerful images from the Bible and reducing them to only symbol and metaphor. The message of our God comes emblazoned with purifying and holy fire, so why would His “call” to obedience look any different? Just like Moses, we too are invited to step into His presence on holy and sacred ground. Moses did not feel up for the challenge, but God’s power will not be hindered by our human weaknesses when His people, plan, and glory are at stake.

Review Questions

  • How did you start your career? What drew you to it? Did you feel “called” to it? Why/why not?
  • As a group, come up with a working definition of “calling” (as in “vocation”). How would you differentiate a “job” from a “calling”?
  • How would you describe Moses “calling” from this section of Exodus?  
  • Exodus 3:7 says “I know their sufferings.” What do you believe this means? Read Hebrews 2:9-10, 18. How does this Hebrews text enhance the meaning of the sufferings noted in Exodus 3:7?
  • God’s name is presented in Exodus 3:14. What do you know about this special name? What seems connected to this name in the following verse and what is the significance?  
  • In Exodus 3 and 4, how many times does Moses respond to God? What is the tone of his responses? Describe a time when you responded in a similar way.
  • How does God respond to Moses’ hesitation in Exodus 4:13? How does God accommodate Moses’ weakness? Now read Hebrews 5:1-4 and 7:11. What was God’s ultimate plan?


Sometimes in our ongoing search for God’s will in our lives, we get lazy and complacent. We think that going through the same intermittent religious motions within the course of our distracted and busy lives is somehow going to connect God’s purposes with our lives. Are we looking for God in the busy and the mundane? It’s a minor point, but the text in Exodus 3:4 says “when the LORD saw that [Moses] turned aside to see, God called . . .” Are we looking for God to speak, to act, to interrupt our busy lives? Even in the exile of Midian in the middle of the daily grind of shepherding, Moses’ attention was caught by God.

Every day this week, in the middle of your normal day-to-day, stop, pray, and ask God to speak. Ask what He wants from you in that moment and in the future. Report back to your group what, if anything, happened.