The Lesson Of The Thorn-bush
The angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from within a bush. He looked – and the bush was ablaze with fire, but it was not being consumed! So Moses thought, “I will turn aside to see this amazing sight. Why does the bush not burn up?” When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to look, God called to him from within the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.”
[Exod 3:2-4 NET]
Moses was an old man of eighty years! For forty years—the spring-tide of his life—he had basked in Court favour. The son of the palace, though born in a slave-hut. According to Stephen, renowned in deed and word, eloquent in speech, learned in the highest culture of his age, accustomed to lead victorious armies in the field, or to assist in raising pyramids or treasure-cities in peace—all that the ancient world could offer was at his feet (Act 7:22; Heb 11:24-27). But this had been followed by forty other years—of exile, poverty, and heart-break. Instead of the riches of Egypt, he was engaged in tending the sheep of another and the years slowly passed away in obscurity. He was a disappointed and perplexed man. His own record was that when a man’s life reaches four-score years, it is labour and sorrow, and he welcomes the cutting off of the web (Psa 90:10).
One afternoon suddenly a common thorn-bush seemed wrapt in flame. The blaze was pure and clear, and as he watched, “Behold! the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.” Small wonder that he arose from the shelter which screened him from the sun, and drew near to “see this great sight.” Then was heard that inner Voice, familiar to all pure and humble hearts, which bade him realise that the fire was no ordinary flame, but the pledge and sign of God’s Presence.
We must not suppose that there was more of God in that common bush than in the surrounding landscape. It was simply the focusing of His Presence which had always been there, as it is always everywhere. God is as near to each reader of these pages as He was to Moses at that moment! Take this to heart, you most forlorn, most down-hearted, most helpless soul! Be of good cheer! God comes to you, though humbled and scorched, and at the end of yourself! He wraps you around, interpenetrates you, and concentrates Himself on your need, saying: “I AM”—leaving you to fill in His blank cheque, and to claim what you most need. “For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but His kindness shall not depart from you.”
Some of us sorely need Thee, O God; we have been disappointed many times in the things we thought would yield us profit and satisfaction. When we are most absorbed in our necessary business, may Thy Presence be manifested to us. May we realise that we are not wandering aimlessly upon the trackless desert, because Thou art leading us. May every common bush be aflame with God.