Exodus 3:2-4 (NIV)
There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.”
When the image of fire shows up in the Bible it is often related to God’s presence illuminating the way to freedom for his beloved people. God’s presence has been associated with fire for a long time—fire in a bush (Exodus 3:2-4), fire in a pillar (13:21-22), fire on a mountain (19:18), and fire in a cloud (40:34-38).
By the time we get to Acts 2:1-4, we see the flame of God’s presence is once again leading, lighting, and guiding the way to a new, empowered freedom of the heart. It’s a personal “burning bush moment” for every disciple in that upper room.
Moses. Drawn out of the Nile River by the daughter of the great Pharaoh, and raised as a treasured member of the ruling family, he was a Hebrew. Moses’ daily regimen prepared him to become a great ruler, and when someone called his name, he knew they were calling a true prince of Egypt. “Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action” (Acts 7:22). Moses is a born and bred leader—and he knows it.
One squabble, one murder, one speedy escape, one family, and a few decades later, we find Moses again—now tending his father-in-law’s sheep in the wilderness on Mount Horeb. His previous life had probably lost its Egyptian luster and had, perhaps, fallen out of memory. But as a son of Egypt’s royal household, he may have also carried within him a residual sense of call to greatness, to leadership, to destiny. Is it possible that in some way, shape, or form, Moses was still searching for his purpose in life? Is it possible that he was actively looking for someone to call his name as a son, to define his purpose, and to clarify his sense of identity?
His curiosity drew him to a remarkable, burning bush, blazing just for him. God called his name from within the fire. Moses heard his name and responded—and the rest is holy history.
While we know Moses’ experience on Mount Horeb is a unique and central event in salvation history, many people in my home, church, and city are waiting to experience their own “burning bush moment” of God’s presence. They are longing to see God work, to hear God call their name—leading them to their identity and purpose as a human being. They are open, hungry, and searching for hope—whether they say they are or not. A power encounter with the God of heaven can open the doors to transformation like little else can.
And that’s where we come in.
When we partner with the Holy Spirit, taking a faith risk to pray for a struggling neighbor, encouraging the store clerk with a word we believe God has given us for them, or giving generously (out of our lack) to someone in great need, we help to open a heart to the Holy Spirit. In partnership with the Spirit, we see a “burning bush moment” come into view for someone Jesus loves.
In that encounter with the Holy Spirit, and with you, God will often silently, powerfully, speak that person’s name. He will say, in some way, “You are seen, you are known, and you are loved.”
Jesus, I receive the Holy Spirit. Thank you for calling my name, and drawing me to your love. Come, Holy Spirit, use me to be a light to others who are needing to hear their name called by you into an awakened life. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.
Is there someone coming to your mind right now that needs to have a “burning bush” encounter with Jesus? How can you pray for them right now, and participate with the Spirit in what God is already doing in their life?
For the Awakening,