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030 Moses meets God

And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush; and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed” (Exodus 3:2)

Key Verse:

“I AM WHO I AM! . . . I AM the LORD! … This is my name forever!”

(Exod. 3:14,15; 6:2)

(Exodus 3,4)

In our last lesson, we saw how Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, oppressed the descendants of Abraham,

the Israelites,

by making them his slaves, working them ruthlessly. However, we also read, “the more they were oppressed,

the more they multiplied and spread,

so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites.” (Exod. 1:12)

Finally, Pharaoh issued a decree that every infant boy born to the Israelites was to be thrown into the river to die. However, God, who is more powerful than Satan, had a plan to overturn the evil which Pharaoh was doing.

Thus, we read how the daughter of Pharaoh took in an Israelite baby that she found in a basket in the river. The daughter of Pharaoh had pity on him and adopted him as her child, naming him

Moses.

Thus, Moses grew up in the house of Pharaoh–the very one who wanted to destroy the people of Israel! God, in His wisdom, planned to use Moses

to deliver the Israelites

from the hand of the wicked king. When Moses was forty years old, he ran from Pharaoh who wanted to kill him. For forty years Moses lived in the wilderness, where he got married and looked after the flock of his father-in-law.

Now, let us continue with this story to see

how God revealed Himself to Moses

so that He might send him to Pharaoh to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt. We are reading in Exodus 3:1-15. The Scripture says: 

“Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law, the priest of Midian; and he led the flock to the west side of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him

in a flame of fire

out of the midst of a bush; and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said,

Here am I.

And he said, Draw not near here: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy 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 upon God.

And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; and

I am come down to deliver them

out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a large and good land, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivittes, and the Jebusites. Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me; and

I have also seen the oppression

wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt. And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt. And he said, Certainly

I will be with thee;

and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: when thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain. And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? What shall I say unto them? 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. And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, the Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you;

this is my name forever,

and this is my memorial unto all the generations”. This is where we will stop in our reading.

We can learn at least four things about God’s character from what God said to Moses from inside the burning bush on Mount Sinai.

1) First, we learn that

God is holy!

When Moses saw the flames of the burning bush, he was amazed, drew near to investigate, and heard the voice of God calling out to him. Moses trembled with fear, and did not dare to look. Why was Moses afraid? Because he was standing in the presence of God,

the Holy One!

God declared His holiness by saying to Moses: Draw not near here: put off thy shoes from thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground!

Truly, God, who appeared to Moses in the fiery flames, is holy! God wants everyone to recognize

His holiness.

Concerning the angels who stand in the presence of God, the Scriptures say: “And they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come” (Rev. 4:8) The angels recognize the holiness of God. You who are doing this lesson,

do you recognize God’s holiness?

Let us think a little about what this means. As we have already seen in previous lessons, the holiness of God caused Him to expel Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden after they had sinned. The holiness of God caused Him to refuse Cain’s sacrifice. It was also

God’s holiness

that caused Him to wipe out the people of Noah’s day with a flood. In the period that followed, God confused the language of the world, scattering the people of Babel, those who were trying to rebel against God. And in Abraham’s time,

the holiness of God

caused Him to rain fire from the sky on the people of Sodom, those who were taking pleasure in wickedness.

Sorry to say, to this very day, most people do not respect the holiness of God. They do not realise who God is. They have not recognized

His absolute purity.

We can see this in the way people practice sin and take pleasure in it. We also see the lack of importance people attach to the holiness of God when they wear religion like a cloak, but do not examine the Holy Scriptures in order to understand God’s truth. Many habitually use God’s name in

insincere talk.

They invoke the name of God in vain by saying, “O my God” or “If God wills” when, in reality, the will of God is the farthest thing from their minds. We observe

people’s failure

to understand the holiness of God by the way they try to make themselves righteous before God and refuse to accept the way of righteousness which God has established. Some think that they can make themselves pure before God by refusing to eat some kind of meat, by repeating prayers, or ceremonies of baptism and confirmation. But, as we clearly see in the Writings of the Prophets, such outward actions do not satisfy

God the Holy One

who requires that a person be pure on the inside. Dear friends, God is holy! That is why He said to Moses: put off thy shoes from thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is

holy ground!

2) Next, continuing on what God said to Moses in the burning bush, we discover that God is not only the Holy One, but

He is also the Faithful One!

{that is, the One who keeps His covenants} Did you hear what God first said to Moses? He said, 

“I am the God of your forefathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” (Exod. 3:6)

These words should bring joy to the heart of anyone who wants to approach God and enjoy a relationship with Him. God,

the Holy One,

is the One who established a covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

God is the Faithful One;

He will never leave or betray His friends! Even after hundreds of years, He had not forgotten what He had promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their descendants.

What about you?

Do you appreciate the faithfulness of God? Do you enjoy a close relationship with the God who spoke with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? This is an important question for anyone who wants to be truly happy in this life and in the life to come. We are not asking: Do you have religion? – because following the rules of religion will never make anyone righteous before God. What we are asking is:

Do you have a right relationship with God?

Have you believed the message of the way of salvation which God has established? Have you come to see that following a religion and having a relationship with God Himself are two different things?

Today there are thousands and thousands of religions in the world. For example, the experts tell us that in one country alone, there are more than four thousand different religions and sects! Four thousand religions!?!

Amazing!

Are there four thousand gods? Or four thousand ways which lead to God? No! The Scriptures say: 

“There is one God and one Mediator between God and men.” (1 Tim. 2:5)

Why then are there thousands of religions and thousands of different sects in the world today? It is because most of Adam’s descendants have ignored the foundation of truth that God established with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They do not know about the promises which God made to Abraham and his descendants concerning

the Mediator,

who was to come into the world to deliver the children of Adam from the penalty and power of sin. They do not know the Word of the God who never changes. They do not know

the Faithful One!

3) God manifested another characteristic when He appeared to Moses in the fire that blazed in the bush. It was mercy. God is not only the Holy One and the Faithful One, but

He is also the Merciful One.

That is why God said to Moses concerning the people of Israel, “And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; and

I am come down to deliver them

out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of the land of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a large and good land…” (Exod. 3:7,8)

Why did God plan to liberate the people of Israel and lead them to a good land?

Did the Israelites deserve God’s mercy?

Were they better than other nations?

No, they were not!

Why then did God plan to deliver them and bless them so? Only because of His faithfulness and His mercy. As the Scriptures say: “God heard their groaning and He remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. So God looked on the Israelites and had mercy on them.” (Exod. 2:24,25) Yes,

God is the Merciful One!

4) Finally, there is one more thing about God that we can see in the story of the burning bush. We heard Moses ask God what His name is. Can the nature of the eternal God be described in a single name?

This God

who is so great and holy,

faithful and merciful; this God whom man cannot see with his eyes; this God who created everything, sees everything, knows everything, and can do anything—

What is His name?

Some think God’s name is simply “God”. Truly, God is God. However, God is not His name. God is who He is. I am a man, but man is not my name. Each of us has a name by which we are known. What is God’s name?

What answer did God give to Moses?

Let us read it again. God said to Moses, I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The LORD, 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!” (Exod. 3:14-15) {Note: Hebrew “YHWH” & English “LORD” translates as The Eternal One}

What is the name of God which describes His eternal nature?

Did you hear it? It is: the LORD! {The Eternal One}! In the Holy Scriptures, the prophets ascribe to God hundreds and hundreds of names and titles, but this name, the LORD, is used more than any other—over six thousand, five hundred times. God is the LORD, the Eternal “I AM,” the One who was, who is, who will exist forever! He is the Eternal One! He has no beginning. He has no end. He has no limits.

He has no equal.

He is One who exists by His own power! What He was yesterday and is today, He will be forever. He never changes. The LORD {The Eternal One} is His Name!

Dear friend, do you know the LORD? Do you recognize His holiness? Are you rejoicing in His faithfulness (that is, keeping His covenants and doing what He says)?

Have you received His mercy?

Do you believe His Word? Have you entered into a close relationship with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? Do you know the LORD who spoke to Moses from the burning bush?

In the next lesson we will continue the story of Moses and see how God sent him to Pharaoh, the wicked king of Egypt.

God bless you as you continue to think of these words God spoke to Moses: 

“I AM WHO I AM! . . . I AM the LORD! . . . This is my name forever!” (Exod. 3:14,15; 6:2)

We would invite you to answer the questions attached and send them together with any questions that you might have

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