Moses and the BLURNING BUSH
by Pieter Barkhuizen, TH.D.
Question: how many elephants did Moses take into the ark?
Did I catch you out? Of course, it was Noah! Moses was the one
they found in the river, the one who received the Ten
Commandments, and listened as God communicated with him from a
Before we consider the discourse at the burning bush, let's
first engage a short Bible study of the many parallels between
Moses and Jesus.
There are at least 50 very clear parallels between Israel's
Lawgiver and Israel's Messiah. Here are some for your
Moses, a Jew by birth, was born when Egyptians (gentiles) ruled
over Israel (Exodus 8-10). Jesus, a Jew by birth, was born when
Romans (gentiles) ruled over Israel
An evil ruler, the Pharaoh, decreed that all male Hebrew babies
should be killed by casting them into the river (Exodus 1:22).
Moses was the target. An evil ruler, Herod, decreed that all male
Hebrew babies should be put to death (Matthew 2:16). Jesus was
Moses was hidden in Egypt for 3 months to keep him alive (Exodus
2:2). Jesus was also hidden in Egypt to keep Him alive (Matthew
Moses' mother put him in the river in a BASKET (Exodus 2:3).
Jesus' mother put Him in a MANGER - (a feeding trough) (Luke
Now it's your turn.
Can you find some of the other parallels? Here are some
verses to compare:
Exodus 34:29 and Matthew 17.1,2 Psalm 77:20 and John
10:11-16 Numbers 21:9 and John 3:14-15 Exodus 16:15 and John
6:33 Deuteronomy 1:23 and Matthew 10:1 Exodus 17:4 and John
10:31 Exodus 34:28 and Matthew 4.1,2
Jesus began His ministry in a super natural way - a dove
descended on Him, and a voice spoke from Heaven (Matthew
3:17-17). Moses began his ministry also in a supernatural
way - the story of Moses and the burning bush is one of the
most well-known in the Bible (Exodus 3:1-4:17).
Moses was being trained to be a pharaoh, but at age 40, he
killed an Egyptian and fled. Exodus chapter three tells us that
he herded sheep for his father-in-law, Jethro. One day in the
desert, he noticed a burning bush. Perhaps he thought at first
that lightning set the bush ablaze, as it sometimes happens. But
then he observed that the bush was only burning, but not
consumed. And then God spoke to Moses ... from the bush!
Through the miracle-conversation, God told Moses that he
should return to lead the Israelites out of bondage. But, Moses
had a problem with this tall order, and he began to confess some
of his apparent disqualifications for the task ahead.
Have you ever felt disqualified for something you knew God
wanted you to do? Ever made any excuses? I have done that many
times. My ears are turning red as I continue to write. Keep on
reading and let's see how our own excuses compare with those of
At first, Moses confessed his inability. He did not feel
qualified. "Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh?" (Exodus
3:11). Moses sounded very sincere. Nothing wrong with being
humble. Of course, just 40 years earlier, he was so confident
about his call to deliver his people from bondage, that he even
killed an Egyptian. God spoke to Moses, impressing upon his mind
a great lesson, still valid for each and every Christian-believer
today: all is well if God is in the bush! God showed Moses that
the burning bush would burn and not be consumed: the supernatural
can be achieved if God is involved. God is the solution to
feelings of inability.
And then Moses came up with a second excuse, one of
ignorance, "Who are You?" (Exodus 3:13). Again, Moses is honest
and sincere. Israel wanted to know who they were worshiping. The
Israelites had been exposed to many gods while in Egypt - and
Moses wanted to avoid confusion, by identifying for them the only
One and True God. If we have a teachable spirit, then ignorance
is not a serious problem. Moses got the answer: "I AM THAT I AM"
(v.14). The implication is that God is anything and everything
Israel might ever need. In verses 16-22 God told Moses that the
"I AM" was going to be Israel's great Provider.
This lesson means a lot to me personally: whatever my
problem, the great I AM is Jehovah Jireh, my personal Provider.
But Moses wanted to get everything spelled out - he wanted
clarity and understanding, and so in Ex.4:1, he told God about
Israel's unbelief ... they simply would not listen to him. God
had just told Moses what He planned to do - but Moses didn't
believe. Yet another excuse!
Do you think God will blame us, if we honestly confess that
we have doubts ... even a little doubt? In Exodus 4:2-9, Moses
got a prescription for strengthening his faith. You remember the
story: Moses casting his rod on the ground, to the more
challenging test of picking it up after it became a snake. If we
are willing, God will build our faith.
But, Moses had not yet run out of excuses and questions. In
Exodus 4:10, we discover that Moses had a speech impediment,
which created a feeling of inadequacy. Perhaps Moses stuttered.
However, God had a way out. Remember the story of the burning
bush: any old bush is good as long as God is in it! So the speech
problem was no problem for God. And right here Moses made the
blunder of his life! In Exodus 4:13, he asked God to send someone
else. Suddenly God's anger was kindled, verse 14:
And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses, and he
said, is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he
can speak well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet
thee: and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart.
With all the other excuses, God was very patient, but now
His anger was aroused. Why? Because Moses said the one thing that
made God angry: "I'm not available." And God responded by saying
that He would use his brother Aaron. Moses would still have the
responsibility - but he would have to share the privilege of
being God's sole agent in Israel's salvation history.
Is God calling you for something special today? Are you
ready to fire your excuses at God? Please remember that the ONLY
requirement God has of you, is AVAILABILITY. "Are you willing?" -
is the big question. Feeling inadequate? Feeling like an old
bush? Would you like to see what can happen when you let God
inside the bush? Notice what happened to Moses, and how God used
an imperfect person to bring honor and glory to His name.
When Moses led over two million people out of Egypt, he
didn't have all the logistics worked out ahead of time. He just
knew that God had told him to do something, and he stepped out in
You know the story. Moses and the people left Egypt, crossed
the Red Sea, and journeyed through the wilderness for forty
years. But have you ever really considered the magnitude of what
For that many people to cross the Red Sea, double file, the
line would have had to be eight hundred miles long, and it would
have taken thirty-five days and nights. In order to cross in one
night, they had to have an opening in the Red Sea three miles
wide just so they could walk five thousand abreast.
To feed that many people would require fifteen hundred tons
of food each day - or in modern terms, the contents of two
freight trains, each at least a mile long.
Cooking fires would consume the equivalent of four thousand
tons of wood each day - a few more freight trains a mile long
The eleven million gallons of water necessary each day just
for drinking and cooking would fill a freight train of tank cars
totaling eighteen hundred miles in length.
And finally, the land needed for campsites when they stopped
at the end of each day - 750 square miles - would have been two-
thirds the size of the state of Rhode Island.
It would be amazing enough had it been for just one day; but
remember, they were forty years in transit.
Moses trusted Jehovah Jireh's ability to enable him to do
what he had been told to do. It didn't matter that to the natural
mind it didn't seem possible. Moses believed God, and he stepped
out in faith.
Moses was a positive person - sure he had questions, but
once his course was set - he couldn't be moved.
I believe that Moses understood the Gospel, because of what
I have discovered in his famous prayer (Exodus 32:7-35).
"Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin - and if not, blot me, I
pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written" (Exodus
When we look at the original Hebrew in verse 32, it clearly
speaks of salvation. The word "forgive" is the Hebrew word NASA,
which means to "bear" or to "carry." Isaiah also used a form of
this word twice in Isaiah 53:4, 12 - "Surely he has bourne (from
NASA) our griefs . . . and he bare (from NASA) the sin of many.
In Moses' prayer, he is saying to the Lord, "But now, if you will
bear (from NASA) their sin . . ."
This is ample evidence that Moses understood the plan of
redemption. He believed in a coming Messiah, and an anticipated
cross. He had a grasp on Jesus our Substitute: for Moses, for
Israel, for you! Yes, God answered Moses prayer when He sent His
only begotten Son to take OUR PLACE on the cross. Jesus paid it
all; all to Him I owe.
Dr.Pieter Barkhuizen is currently writing a book for the general
Christian market, entitled, "The Shocking Truth About God: a
non-trinitarian perspective vs. the image of the Beast." His
e-mail address is radiogoodhope @aol.com
Moses trusted Jehovah Jireh's ability to enable him to do what he
had been told to do. It didn't atter that to the natural mind it
didn't seem possible.
April-May 2008 ACTS, a publication of the General Council of
Churches of God, 7th Day, Meridian, ID, USA.
Entered on this Website August 2008