As a mother, I’ve always been particularly riveted by the account of Moses, in the first few chapters of Exodus. As an infant, Moses was spared from death from the evil Pharoah who ordered the massacre of every Hebrew male baby born during that period of time. Moses’ mother and sister hid him in a basket alongside the Nile River, and the very daughter of Pharoah– the man who ordered the babies to be murdered– rescued the child. Wow! Talk about God’s sovereignty and mercy!
The Lord God had a plan for the life of Moses, before he was even born, and He would fulfill it no matter the odds. For who can stand or prevail against the Lord Almighty?
Pharoah tried. He considered himself a “god”, and stood arrogantly against the word of God, spoken through Moses and Aaron, to “let My people go”. Time after time, Pharoah lied, broke promises, and even vamped up his ill treatment of the Hebrew people. These children of Israel were held captive as slaves, serving under the cruel taskmasters of Egypt for four hundred years. All that time, the people cried out to God for deliverance from the oppression.
After killing an Egyptian guard who was beating a Hebrew slave, Moses had run away from Egypt to the land of Midian. He’d gotten married, had a couple of kids, and was content working as a shepherd for his father-in-law, Jethro. Life was comfortable and fairly predictable.
But all this time, Moses’ brother, Aaron, his sister Miriam, and the rest of the 600,000 Hebrew people – his flesh and blood – were still suffering in Egypt – with no hope in sight. Surely, Moses must have thought about his family often. Perhaps their plight kept him up at night… and perhaps, he wishes he could have just erased their memory from his mind, never dreaming of returning to Egypt.
But God, in His mercy and divine plan, stepped in, interrupting Moses’ life, and jolting him out of his comfort zone.
Most of us have read or at least heard what happened. Many of us, including my family, have watched the Dreamworks movie of “Moses: Prince of Egypt”, which is (thankfully) quite true to the Bible account. (Side note: As a songwriter, I absolutely LOVE the music in this movie! Particularly, “Through Heaven’s Eyes”, which Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, sings, encourages Moses to follow God’s call upon his life. SO GOOD!)
In reading in Exodus Chapter 3 this week, however, I noticed something I never saw before – a little nuance of possibility that leaped off the page and into my conscience.
3 Meanwhile, Moses was shepherding the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian. He led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb [aka Sinai], the mountain of God. 2 Then the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire within a bush. As Moses looked, he saw that the bush was on fire but was not consumed. 3 So Moses thought: I must go over and look at this remarkable sight. Why isn’t the bush burning up?
4 When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called out to him from the bush, “Moses, Moses!”
“Here I am,” he answered.
5 “Do not come closer,” He said. “Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” 6 Then He continued, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”Moses hid his face because he was afraid to look at God.
7 Then the Lord said, “I have observed the misery of My people in Egypt, and have heard them crying out because of their oppressors, and I know about their sufferings. 8 I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and to bring them from that land to a good and spacious land … 9 The Israelites’ cry for help has come to Me, and I have also seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 Therefore, go. I am sending you… (from Exodus 3:3-10, HCSB)
What struck me like a child grabbing my arm to get my attention, was verse 4:
“When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called out to him from the bush…”
It struck me that God didn’t say anything or “extend the call” to Moses until Moses walked over to LOOK.
I wondered, what if Moses hadn’t stopped what he was doing (shepherding sheep, his usual day job) and walked over to see what was going on? What if he’d ignored the whole remarkable sight? Would God have had to SHOUT from the bush to get his attention?
This brought up relevant and very timely issues with me personally, and with others whom I know. Some (like you) read my blog, a few are regular or occasional ministry partners (praying and financially supporting), particularly for outreaches helping the poor, orphaned, and oppressed. Many are faithful church attenders, a few of those involved in life-changing ministries of their own. Most of them, I would guess, give regularly to their church (as we all should), and that seems sufficient for most, in their minds.
I read a book a few years back that just stopped me in my tracks. I’d attended the Christian Alliance for the Orphan Summit in Louisville, KY, and left with two copies of Fields of the Fatherless. I bought the book at one booth, and received a free copy at another booth. They were giving it away because they felt it was critical that every believer read this book! (When I got home, I donated one copy to our church library.)
It was based upon several scripture passages (which are repeated in many other parts of scripture), but the main one is Deuteronomy 24:19-22:
19 “When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. 20 When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. 21 When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. 22 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt. That is why I command you to do this.”
Along with all the other commandment, God commanded His children (and that includes each of us) to give away a portion of everything they had to the poor. This was in addition to the 10% “tithe” they were to give to the priests and Levites (“church” clergy, pastors, worship leaders). This commandment came with a purpose and a promised result: “so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.”
“One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD, And He will repay him for his good deed.”
The children of Israel were crying out to God for help, for deliverance, for a savior. God raised up Moses to follow that calling. But what if Moses had refused? What if he’d ignored the burning bush, and thereby, ignored the cries of his hurting people? I shudder to ponder the possibilities.
Jesus, similarly, in facing a cruel and excruciating death upon a cross, prayed to his Heavenly Father: ““Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42, ESV)
If Jesus hadn’t gone to the cross, taken the punishment for our sin, then rose again to prove that His sacrifice was sufficient, we would have no hope of eternal life! (See 1st Corinthians 15:12-22) That’s what Easter / Resurrection Sunday is all about! That’s what the Passover was all about!
In 2006, God directed me to “quit my day job”, come home, and teach piano lessons. It would bring only one-third of the income that I’d been making as a school music teacher, but would allow me the time for ministry and mission endeavors to which I knew He was calling me. It was a flying leap OUT of my “comfort zone”.
Little did I know what God was preparing me for. It was my “burning bush” for that season … God speaking supernaturally to me, and I had to choose whether to listen and obey — or ignore and just walk on by. I could “play it safe” and rely on what provided a definite paycheck… but I would undoubtedly miss the tremendous blessing of the astounding things God had in store for me — IF I would live by faith. My own life, and the lives of countless others, would be affected by my decision.
God may speak thru a burning bush, a hungry orphan, or an unexpected job or relationship loss to steer us into His divine plan. #inspiringhopeblog #obedience #blessings Click To Tweet
What about you? What “burning bush” have you witnessed– a cry for help, a call from God, a need that needs met, a dark place or situation that needs the light of Jesus?
Are you giving part of your income, on a regular basis, to “those who cannot pay you back”, the poor, the fatherless, the widow, the “sojourner” or alien/ foreigner who comes across your path – without a friend in the world?
Here are some great suggestions, all of which I have supported from time to time, and some of which I donate to monthly:
- Samaritans Purse (Franklin Graham’s ministry around the world, shoebox ministry, etc.)
- Kids Alive, International (Child rescue/ sponsorship in 16 countries; very evangelistic focus! We are sponsoring our 2nd child through them, and looking for more sponsors to help kids!)
- Your local homeless shelter, Help-in-Crisis (shelter for women & children who are escaping domestic violence), or Crisis Pregnancy center
- Wright Ministries/ Artists in Christian Testimony, International YES– that’s our family ministry, which is a department of Artists in Christian Testimony, Intl, a Non-profit ministry that sends out over 350 missionaries around the world (like myself) to share Jesus through artistic means.
For me, as most of you know, I use music, songwriting, orphan and adoption advocacy, speaking, writing and sharing my testimony to spread the Light of the World – Jesus. Currently (and likely ongoing) we are supporting a Christian orphanage/ school in Chagallu, Andhra Pradesh, India. Pastor Timothy, his wife Jhansi, and their three teenage children are caring 24/7 for 50 orphans they rescued off the streets of Chagallu. It is a very poor region, and (like much of India), they, as Christians, face persecution by the Hindu government.
They teach 212 students daily in the St. Louis Upper Primary School, with no government support. In recent weeks, our ministry (with the help of a few donors, many from my church and family) have provided blankets and jackets/ sweaters for the 50 orphans. This week, we are sending funds to purchase a much-needed water filtration system, to help prevent another outbreak of Typhoid like they suffered through in October 2017. We’re praying, researching and hoping to take a mission team there in 2019. (They’ve been asking us to come since 2010.)