The forests of eastern Ontario are susceptible to fires in the hot summer months, especially if there has been a drought. The Fire Ban prohibits campfires and burning of brush; even a tossed aside cigarette butt can ignite the forest. Most dreaded are lightning strikes, so unpredictable. My sister-in-law saw a plume of smoke from such a strike, billowing from the trees, as she was out on the lake in a boat. However, the fire rangers were there to quickly extinguish the blaze.
The prophet Moses witnessed such a wildfire. “One day Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian. He led the flock into the wilderness and came to Sinai, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of the bush. Moses stared in amazement. Though the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn’t burn up. ‘This is amazing’, Moses said to himself, ‘Why isn’t the bush burning up? I must go see it.’ When the Lord saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, ‘Moses! Moses!’ ‘Here I am,’ Moses replied. ” (Exodus 3:1-4 ESV)
Moses, once the Prince of Egypt, was now a simple shepherd of flocks not even his own, in a desert wilderness. He had been working for his father-in-law for forty years in this capacity. Apparently, spontaneous combustion of resinous desert vegetation is not uncommon, but the burning bush Moses saw was not being burnt up, and it ignited his own curiosity. He turned aside from his work to investigate, in amazement, and had a face to face meeting with the God of Israel which would not only transform his own life, but change the course of history.
Even though he was forgotten by the world, it seemed, Moses was not forgotten by God. A refugee from Egypt, he was led to the family of the priest of Midian, lived among God-fearing people, and travelled to the mountain of God, finally to meet with God Himself. Interesting, God didn’t speak until He had Moses’ attention, and came closer. Although the man didn’t see anyone in the burning bush, he heard His voice in there, calling to him.
When you feel forgotten, in a wilderness wondering what has become of your life, remember that you are precious to God and He will guide your steps, if you listen and come close to Him. The burning bush is the symbol of the church, the people of God who may be under attack and afraid, but not destroyed, because God is in our midst. Don’t be afraid to approach Him, the Holy One, in reverence and thanksgiving, for His salvation and guidance throughout your life.
Prayer: Thank you, O Lord, for Your revelation of Yourself to Moses, and to us through Your holy Word. We praise You because we are precious to You, and guided through our lives by Your wisdom and provision. Amen.