Extra-Ordinary Encounters Psalm 105:1-6;26-45 Exodus 3:1-12
Just mention the name “Moses” and the first thing that quite often comes to mind... for a lot of people... is... Charlton Heston... and his portrayal of Moses in the Hollywood epic, “The Ten Commandments.” Images of Moses holding the stone tables... or parting the Red Sea are kinda ingrained into our collective memory as a people of faith.
Of course, if we don’t remember that... maybe we remember the stories from Sunday school, when we were children... of the baby Moses being placed in a basket and floated down the Nile River to safety.
Still others may think of our lesson for today... and Moses’ encounter with God at the burning bush... It was God’s way of “calling” Moses into service... a call to go back to Egypt and deliver the captive Israelites from bondage and slavery...
Moses had lived in Egypt... growing up in the Pharaoh’s house. But that was a lifetime ago now...
At the time of our Lesson for today, Moses was settled in Midian... and was working for his father-in-law, Jethro, taking care of the family business... tending to the flocks.
In other words, Moses was leading an ordinary life, with an ordinary family, in a ordinary place... but all that was about to change.
Because right in the middle of all that ordinary... something extraordinary happened. Moses encountered a burning bush. Of course there’s nothing particularly special or exceptional about a burning bush... bushes burn all the time! But this bush was different! It was on fire but... the bush wasn’t being consumed by the flames! And that little fact, is what grabbed Moses’ attention.
Once God had Moses’ attention... God spoke. “Moses, Moses!” Moses responded, “Here I am!” “Don’t come any closer and take off your shoes you are standing on holy ground.” Then God when on, “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” At that Moses hid his face in fear! And I’m sure any of us would have done the same!
God continued to speak to Moses, engaging Moses, out of the flames of that burning bush... calling Moses to go and tell Pharaoh, “Let my people go!”
You’re familiar with the rest of the story. Moses, after a little gentle persuasion, obeyed God’s call. He went to Egypt. He told Pharaoh to let God’s people go. Of course, God sent along a few plagues to help Moses out! But eventually, the Pharaoh relented, and released God’s people... and they began their journey to the Promised Land... a free people.
It’s a wonderful story, filled with drama and action the whole way through! But what in the world does it say to us, as modern day followers of God.
Well... the image of the burning bush is a reminder to us, that God uses any means necessary to get our attention.
Like Moses most of us go about out lives like everyone else! We live life in a repetitive cycle of the ordinary. We get up every morning... following our individual routines... making our way through our days, and weeks, and months, and years... just going about our business.
Then something happens that gets our attention... something that’s out-of-the-ordinary...
Of course, that something could be a very happy, welcomed occasion! Like the birth of a child... or the beginning of a new relationship... It may be that you wake up to a beautiful sunrise, or you’re somehow struck by how blessed you are to be well fed, well clothed and provided for... or you could even win the Lottery! You know... it’s possible... if you buy a ticket, that is! :)
But sometimes, those out-of-the-ordinary moments aren’t so welcomed. Jobs change... factories get boarded up... marriages fall apart... sickness, accidents... even death comes calling. None of us are immune.
Yet, in all of those out-of-the-ordinary moments... be they good or bad... God speaks. He calls to us, reminding us of who and Whose we are!
Not audibly... I’ve never literally heard God’s voice with my ears! But somehow, some-way, God touches our hearts and souls in a personal way, through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit that’s at work within us. And he calls us to his work. He sends us to comfort the distraught, to heal the broken, to free the oppressed, to bring light to those who dwell in darkness... NOT as those who live above, or live insulated from life... BUT as those who’ve been there... through the joys and heartaches... the good and the bad.
That is what our Lesson is showing us, today. It’s not so much Moses’ call as it is ours. God is calling you. That calling is as varied as we are!
It may be that God is calling you to truly trust him... He may be calling you to salvation; to give your life to Christ. He might be calling you to make a commitment to serve him. He might be calling you to baptism or to join the church.
God may be calling you to be more committed, more devoted, more faithful in your walk with Christ. He may be calling you to let go of anger and hurt and disappointments. To study more of God’s Word... to pray more! God may be calling you to some particular area of service in the community or in the church. It may be to preach and teach.
I don’t know what it is that God is calling you, as an individual, to do. But I do know God is calling you. Just as God came to Moses in his everyday, ordinary life... God comes to us. Just as he got Moses’ attention... God gets our attention. And just as God spoke to Moses God speaks to us.
The burning bush reminds us of that calling...
Are you listening? Are we listening for God's direction. Of course, if asked whether or not God is calling us... most people would act surprised... “Who, me?”
Most people think God only calls preachers and missionaries and people like Moses. But when God called Moses he was living an ordinary, everyday life... And when God called me I was just a red-headed, freckled face kid from Lanett... who liked music and hoped to be a teach music someday. God had other plans.
Never forget: God calls ordinary people... through the extra-ordinary moments of life.
Are we listening?