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It's Not About You (Exodus 3)

Moses and the Burning Bush

Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”

When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”

Moses said, “Here I am.”

“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. I am the God of your father,[1] the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them.10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

11 But Moses said, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

12 God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you[2] will worship God on this mountain.”

13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

14 God said to Moses, “I AM who I AM.[3] This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”

15 God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord,[d] the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’“This is my name forever, the name you shall call me from generation to generation.16 Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—appeared to me and said: I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt. 17 And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—a land flowing with milk and honey.’18 “The elders of Israel will listen to you. Then you and the elders are to go to Pharoah and say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God.’ 19 But I know that Pharoah will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him. 20 So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them. After that, he will let you go. 21 “And I will make the Egyptians favorably disposed toward this people, so that when you leave you will not go empty-handed. 22 Every woman is to ask her neighbor and any woman living in her house for articles of silver and gold and for clothing, which you will put on your sons and daughters. And so you will plunder the Egyptians.”


  1. Exodus 3:6 Masoretic Text; Samaritan Pentateuch (see Acts 7:32) fathers

  2. Exodus 3:12 The Hebrew is plural.

  3. Exodus 3:14 Or I will be what I will be

  4. Exodus 3:15 The Hebrew for Lord sounds like and may be related to the Hebrew for I am in verse 14.


Moses had been working as a shepherd in the wilderness for 40 years. It's probably what he thought he was and who he was. God's perspectives were a bit different, weren't it?

On a usual working day, an unusual thing appeared and caught Moses' attention. It was spectacular but had no relation to the actual message God was going to give. Moses was confused why it didn't burn up. There was never an answer either. What do you make of the 'sign'?

The burning bush attracted Moses to come closer. But then God said, "Do not come any closer." God's order to Moses to take off his shoes can be translated as, "You are not in charge here." Only masters wear shoes.

Starting from v.5, God introduces Himself. What do we know about God from his self-introduction?


In the beginning, Moses just experienced confusion after confusion in this strange encounter. How would this confusion help and prepare Moses for God's calling later? Have you experienced similar confusions in life which could be from God?

How did (and didn't) God deal with Moses' confusions?

God made a lot of "I" statement to the confused and scared Moses. Why are all of them important to Moses and to us?

  • I have seen... (v.7,9)

  • I have heard... (v.7)

  • I am concerned with... (v.7)

  • I have come down to... (v.8)

  • I am sending you... (v.10)

  • I will be with you... (v.12)

  • I AM who I AM... (v.14)

  • I have promised ... (v.17)

Next: "Who made your mouth?" - A study on Exodus 4

#Moses #Exodus #confusion #fear #identity #calling

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