b) The Days of Moses (Acts 7:20-43)
30 When forty years were fulfilled, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in a flame of fire in a bush. 31 When Moses saw it, he wondered at the sight. As he came close to see, a voice of the Lord came to him, 32 ‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ Moses trembled, and dared not look. 33 The Lord said to him, ‘Take your sandals off of your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground. 34 I have surely seen the affliction of my people that is in Egypt, and have heard their groaning. I have come down to deliver them. Now come, I will send you into Egypt.’
Moses lived in the house of Jethro, his father-in-law, an orthodox priest of God who had received spiritual revelations outside the Old Testament and lived faithful to the Most High. Despite his Egyptian education, and the fact that he became guilty of murder, Moses did not become an unbeliever. His heart was filled with a longing for harmony with the One who created both the heavens and earth. Forty years of calm and Isolation in the wilderness leads an individual nearer to God! It signifies hundreds of thousands of hours alone with his sheep in wind, sunshine, and in danger, but also in intimate conversation with God.
Suddenly the eternal Holy One appeared from His hidden place to manifest himself to Moses in the flames of the burning bush. One of the angels from His throne brought about the fire through his radiant glory. The astonished shepherd came near the burning bush, which was not consumed in spite of the fire. He then heard a clear voice from the midst of the bush, but saw no one there. Our God speaks understandable human words. Our heavenly Father is not a ghost, or a roaming spirit, but a self-acting person. He uses “I” in his speech to refer to himself, and addresses us with “you” when He comes down to our low level and grants us to understand His thoughts. Our God is love.
God manifested himself to Moses as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, for He had bound himself to the patriarchs forever. This God is faithful and never changes.
Moses grew frightened and began to tremble when he heard the voice from the bush in the desert. He dared not look at the rays of the Lord’s holiness, but with reverence and godly fear kept a distance from them. God gave Moses an indication of His glorious holiness, saying to him: “Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.” Each span of the ground on which Christ trod, and wherever those who bear the Holy Spirit start moving, is holy ground. The Holy One is not separated from sinners, though he is separated from all sin. His love is wrapped in the gown of His holiness, so that we, the impure, might not be burnt in the fire of His all-consuming glory.
Moses was purified by the close voice of God. His heart and his spirit revived; he began to regard the ways of the Holy Spirit. If it were not for the Spirit he would have melted away in the presence of the Lord.
God told Moses that he had heard the prayers of the slaves, for the Lord of heaven and earth loves the small and the despised. He desires to save and bless them. Every heartfelt groan is a true prayer which God can answer, and each heartfelt word addressed to the Most High reaches him. God knows your voice, and sees your true longing.
The Almighty came down to our small globe to deliver the exploited slaves. He did not send a host of angels, nor did He shake the earth or throw thunderbolts. He chose an eighty year old man who was busy feeding his sheep to deliver, through his weakness, the people of the covenant. God’s salvation is not carried out through power and might, but through the guidance of His Spirit alone. God asked Moses both to obey and to agree to His call. By so doing he might become a preacher of the gospel of salvation to his nation.
- What is the significance of God’s manifesting Himself to an eighty year old shepherd in the wilderness?