The story of Moses and the burning bush can be a trigger for most children’s “Why?” Syndrome – and my daughter is no different.
Moses was with some sheep in the desert . . . WHY?
The bush was on fire but not burning up . . . WHY?
Moses took off his shoes . . . WHY?
Moses knew it was God speaking to him . . . HUH? HOW?
God had a job for Moses . . . WHY???
To be honest, I have a lot of questions when I read this story, too. Why did it have to be a bush? And how DID Moses automatically know that a bush on fire that wasn’t burning up meant IT WAS GOD?
See, it’s confusing.
But one question I never ask is, “Why did Moses try to turn down God’s job offer?”
If I ever question God’s incredible patience, I only have to take notice of how many times He has to send me a message or lesson before I pay attention and learn something. (Seriously, if my daughter was so slow to respond to me, I would lose it!)
Recently I’ve been hit over the head with the word, “brave.” It’s come up in books and songs and conversations; it’s everywhere! And all I can think is how I am not brave at all. I’m a lot like Moses, actually.
The conversation between Moses and God seems foolish when we first read it. Here Moses is, talking to God Almighty IN A BURNING BUSH, and he has the nerve to argue! When God says, “You’re the man for the job,” Moses replies with hemming and hawing and looking around for someone else to do what God is asking.
I’m a nobody.
They won’t believe me.
I’m not a good speaker.
We know God’s love is deep for Moses because nowhere in Exodus does it say He rolled His eyes. Nope. God patiently explained why none of Moses’ excuses were important and why he was – no, really, he WAS – the man for the job. Fortunately for the Israelites (and us), Moses eventually listened and then obeyed.
If I’m not careful I can read that story and laugh off the great lesson for both my daughter and me. When we know the end of the story – and have the luxury of centuries between us – Moses simply seems crazy. Or cowardly. Or both.
But the truth is: I’m a lot like Moses. I can also fall into the trap that I’m a nobody and no one will listen to me.
Wait, though! That’s not the end of the story! God listens to what Moses says, understands his concerns and fears – and then He explains how He’ll be with him and equip him to do this job.
Then? Moses DOES IT. He might still have been scared, but he answered God’s call and he took that job. He did the most terrifying and challenging things he could imagine because His God asked him to – and His God was with him.
The truth is: I WANT to be a lot like Moses.
When God lays something on my heart, prompting me to take action in one way or another, my first reaction isn’t, “Oh cool! God just asked me to do something for His kingdom!” Just like Moses got over the nifty burning bush situation pretty fast and moved right into questioning, I often overlook the fact that God is speaking to me and trusts me with one part of His plan. I also make the mistake of forgetting that if He asks me to do something, He will help me do it.
It’s that simple, isn’t it?
Whether God is asking me to –
- Apply for that job
- Have that tough conversation
- Join that committee
- Write that book
- Fight for family time
Or He’s asking my daughter to –
- Invite a friend to church
- Help her mom take care of the new baby (yes, please!)
- Be nice to “that kid” at school
- Try out for the play
- Memorize Bible verses
He’s asking us for a reason – and He will help us do it. And as long as I can remember that for myself, I can teach my daughter the same thing.
If we admit we’re a little bit like Moses – scared and unsure – we can also rest in knowing how his story turned out. We can stand firm in our calling today because we’ve read all about how God guided Moses through his calling, how He gave Moses the tools he needed and stood with him the entire way. We can be confident that being like Moses is a good thing. We can be brave knowing that God is with us.
Learn more about Moses and 24 other heroes of the Old Testament in a brand new devotional and activity download pack – Old Testament Heroes!
Mary Carver is a writer, church planter, mom and wife. She’s also a recovering perfectionist who loves Jesus, her family and books, watches too much TV, and believes M&Ms are a love language. Mary writes about her imperfect life with humor and honesty, encouraging women to give up on perfect and get on with life at http://www.givinguponperfect.com. She also writes at (in)courage, Mom Advice and Mothers of Daughters.