As we come to this great chapter in Exodus where we learn of Moses’ experience at the burning bush, we must understand what brought him to this place. Moses had been raised in Pharaoh’s palace. He was well-trained by Egyptian standards. According to Stephen’s sermon in Acts chapter seven, he was a great man. “And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds” (Acts 7:22). With all of his learning and ability, Moses thought he could help his people, but we read that his self-efforts were a failure, and he was forced to flee for his life (Exodus 2:11-15). He spent forty years in the wilderness, during which time God had prepared him to be the deliverer for Israel; but first, Moses must know something about the God whom he is to represent, and it is through this encounter with the burning bush that God taught Moses three vital lessons about Himself. Let’s note them in our text.
Moses was reminded that God is an Attentive God – “And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows” (Exodus 3:7). First, God sees: “I have surely seen the affliction of my people.” God was not blind to what was taking place. God was watching and observing all that was unfolding in the land of Egypt. Secondly, God hears: “and have heard their cry.” Not only was God’s eye seeing all that took place, but the ear of God was attuned to hear the cry of His chosen people. Thirdly, God understands: “for I know their sorrows.” What an important lesson for us all to be reminded of, that our God is an attentive God—He sees, He hears, and He understands what we are going through. In some seasons of life, it is easy for us to conclude that somehow we have been forgotten by God; that perhaps He doesn’t see our situation, that our prayers are not being heard, or that He doesn’t understand what we are going through; but that is simply not true. God is a God who is carefully attuned to all that takes place in the lives of His children.
Moses was also reminded that God is an Almighty God – “And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:8). God told Moses that not only was He aware of what was happening, but He was also going to get involved on behalf of His people. He was coming to deliver them. “I am come down to deliver them.” God was not going to abandon them in their state of oppression and hardship, but He was coming to set them free. He was also coming to direct them “and to bring them unto a good land.” God was not only going to use His power to get them out of their troubled condition, but He was going to use it to move them to a better place than they had ever been before. He could do that, for He is an almighty God!
Finally, Moses was reminded that God is an Abiding God – “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you” (Exodus 3:14). This provides an unchanging reality—God is. He is not merely the God of the past nor just the God of the future, but He is the God of the present. He also gives us an unfailing resource—“I Am.” When Moses protested that he was not able to perform the task of leading the Israelites out of Egypt, God’s response was, “I Am.”
These are certainly great truths for us to be reminded of today. God is certainly an Attentive God. He sees, He hears, and He understands our situation. The truth of the matter is, God understands our situation even better than we do. He knows what is going on. Also, the fact remains that God is an Almighty God. He will deliver us at His appointed season, and He will direct us to a place more wonderful than anything we have ever known! We can trust Him. And our God is an Abiding God. He never changes. We can look through the Bible narrative and see that never once has He failed, and our circumstance will not be the first. In Him, we have an unfailing resource. You may say, “I am not able to go on.” But God says, “I Am.” You may feel, “I am not able to forgive that person,” but God says, “I Am.” In whatever area we are not able to meet the demand, God says, “I am.” We can lean on Him, and He will see us through. I’m reminded of the words penned by Charles Gabriel who wrote:
“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,
And leaning on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth But one step I may see:
His eye is on the sparrow, And I know He watches me.
I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free.
For His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
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Bro. Burcham serves as the Chairman of the Bible Department at Golden State Baptist College. Prior to coming to GSBC, he served as a missionary with his family in Japan for a number of years and then pastored in Missouri. Bro. Burcham also teaches an adult Sunday school class at NVBC.