This is the one-hundred-thirty-first lesson in author and pastor Mel Lawrenz’ How to Live the Bible series. If you know someone or a group who would like to follow along on this journey through Scripture, they can get more info and sign up to receive these essays via email here.
God called to him from within the bush, Moses! Moses! And Moses said, Here I am. Exodus 3:4
There are two kinds of fire you can have in your house. One is a monster that will move from room to roomleaping, growing, devouring. The other resides in your fireplace. It is controlled, friendly, and inviting. It draws you in. It brings people together. It warms you but does not burn you.
The day the angel of the LORD appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush, human history took a leap forward. On that day, God introduced himself. The religions of the time were about the god of rain or the god of wind or the god of earth. But the one true Godthe actual Creator of all thingsshowed himself in a small way, in a small fire, in a small bush, which mysteriously, was not consumed by the fire.
Then came the call: Moses! A name. And an introduction: I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. A name based on names. This is personal.
It is only a personal God who would say, I have seen the misery of my people, I have heard their cries, I have come down to rescue them. Then the call, I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt. This is personal.
God is not a thing to be found, an energy to be harnessed, an idol to be handled. Gods call begins with Gods self-revelation. God calls when we least expect it. God calls us by name, and then he tells us his name.
The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is also the God of Mike, Susan, Jeffrey, Janet, Kirsten, Walter, Kelly, and Bob. This Creator cares for what he created and who he created. He hears our cries. He knows our faults. He understands our doubts.
He calls because he caresand then he sends. Moses must stand before Pharaoh, held up by the power and the word of the Lord.
God sends us into the world for this same purpose: that God may reclaim real people. The rescue continues because bondage is real: personal sin, abusive relationships, human trafficking, class domination, government corruption, economic injustice. This is personaland it always will be.
Who do you know that is a victim of some kind of bondage, who needs to know of the God of Exodus?
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Mel Lawrenz (@MelLawrenz) trains an international network of Christian leaders, ministry pioneers, and thought-leaders. He served as senior pastor of Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin, for ten years and now serves as Elmbrooks teaching pastor. He has a PhD in the history of Christian thought and is on the adjunct faculty of Trinity International University. Mel’s many books include Spiritual Leadership Today: Having Deep Influence in Every Walk of Life (Zondervan, 2016). See more of Mel’s writing at WordWay.