This week, as I’ve continued work on the book I’m writing about trees in the Bible, I’ve turned to the book of Exodus to look at Moses. When you think of him, what pops in your mind first? The ten commandments? Moses proclaiming to Pharaoh, “Let my people go”? Or maybe it’s a Moses that looks remarkably like Charlton Heston parting the Red Sea? Those are all images of a strong, confident Moses, but he wasn’t always that way.
One day, he was leading his flocks near Mount Horeb (known as the Mountain of God), when he saw something peculiar:
The angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush;
and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not
consumed. So Moses said, “I must turn aside now and see this marvelous sight,
why the bush is not burned up.” When the Lord saw that he turned aside to look,
God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he
said, “Here I am.” Then He said, “Do not come near here; remove your sandals
from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” He said
also, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the
God of Jacob.” Then Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.
– Exodus 3:2-6
Moses’ curiosity stopped him in his tracks, and his encounter with God that day would change him forever. Notice that God didn’t call out to him until Moses had turned aside from his flock. God was waiting until Moses was quiet and fully paying attention. Continue reading