Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Moses at the Burning Bush

Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground” (Exodus 3:5).

One day while pasturing Jethro’s flocks, Moses saw a bush burning on the side of a mountain. Amazed the bush was not consumed, Moses went to investigate. There he heard God tell him to take off his shoes because he was standing on holy ground.

What is holy ground? In the ultimate sense, holy ground is ground where God is. In a lesser sense, we have an awareness of “sacred space” in our feelings about our church buildings. Older people who grew up in a particular church have strong feelings about the building in which they worshiped because it houses their memories. Perhaps they were married there, a loved one’s funeral service was held there, their children were baptized there, or they were converted there.

In a greater sense, “Sacred Space” is the environment around God. When we remember that man was made of soil we can understand why “holy ground” is seen ultimately as the company of human beings around God’s throne. The church, considered as people, is holy ground in this higher sense. The great Memorial in the church that we are called to remember is the Lord’s Supper: “Do this as My Memorial.”

God first called Moses to deliver the Hebrews to holy ground, to the Mountain of God (Exodus 3:12). God said He had heard the cry of the Israelites and had seen the oppression inflicted on them by the Egyptians (3:9). God always sees both the sufferer and the oppressor, and when He redeems His people He also destroys their oppressors.

Moses’ first question to God was, “Who am I?” (3:11). In a sense, Moses did not know who he was until God told him. God named those who are to come on His holy ground, who are to join His holy multitude. And God also named Himself “Yahweh,” a contraction of “I AM WHO I AM.”

God has given a new name to members of the new covenant: Christians. He has revealed for Himself a new name as well: Jesus. We are now God’s holy ground, and like Moses, we must treat the holy ground of the church with care.

The bush represented Israel, burning in the furnace of affliction. The bush was not consumed because unseen by men, God was in its midst. The Hebrews did not perceive that God was with them. If you have been experiencing affliction, take comfort from what God reveals to you at the burning bush.