Moses and the Burning Bush (Exodus 2-3)

In the heart of ancient Egypt, a miraculous tale unfolds, bringing you the story of Moses and the burning bush. In this fascinating narrative, you’ll follow Moses from his unexpected upbringing in the Pharaoh’s palace to his divine encounter with God through an extraordinary fiery shrub that never burns out.

This article will walk you through the key moments of his journey, from his flight from Egypt to his time in Midian, leading up to his divine calling and the dramatic signs that convinced him he was chosen. By witnessing Moses’ doubts and triumphs, you’ll learn how his faith and perseverance were pivotal in leading the Israelites out of their suffering.

Moses and the Burning Bush (Exodus 2-3)

Moses’ Early Life

Birth and Danger

Imagine being born into a world where your very existence is a threat to those in power. That’s exactly the situation baby Moses found himself in. Born an Israelite during a time when Pharaoh of Egypt decreed that all newborn Hebrew boys should be killed, Moses’ life was in immediate danger. His mother, desperate to save him, placed him in a waterproof basket and set it afloat on the Nile River, hoping for a miracle.

Rescue and Palace Life

And a miracle she received! Pharaoh’s daughter discovered the basket while bathing in the river. Touched by the baby’s cries, she decided to keep him and raise him as her own. Despite his precarious start, Moses grew up in the lap of luxury. He was educated and cared for within the Egyptian palace, living a life far removed from the hardships faced by his fellow Israelites.

Mistake and Escape

However, the privilege of palace life didn’t shield Moses from the realities of his origins. One day, he witnessed an Egyptian taskmaster brutally beating an Israelite slave. Overcome with rage and a sense of justice, Moses struck and killed the Egyptian. When word of this act reached Pharaoh, Moses was forced to flee for his life. He escaped to the land of Midian, leaving behind the only home he had ever known.

Life in Midian

Arrival in Midian

When Moses arrived in Midian, he was a man on the run, far from the comforts of the Egyptian court. As fate would have it, his journey led him to a well where he encountered the daughters of Jethro, a Midianite priest. These women were being harassed by local shepherds, but Moses, with his strong sense of justice, intervened and helped them draw water for their flocks.

Meeting Jethro’s Daughters

Impressed by his actions, the sisters brought Moses back to their father. Jethro, also known as Reuel, welcomed Moses into his home. Moses’ life took a turn for the better as he settled into this new community. Over time, Moses grew close to Jethro’s family, particularly to Zipporah, one of Jethro’s daughters.

Moses’ New Family

Moses married Zipporah, and they started a family together. He found peace and purpose as a shepherd, a stark contrast to his life in Egypt. He tended to Jethro’s flocks, content with his new role and enjoying the relative simplicity and tranquility of his life in Midian. Little did he know, this period of calm was but a prelude to an extraordinary calling.

Scenario in Egypt

Death of the Old Pharaoh

Back in Egypt, the Pharaoh who had sought Moses’ life eventually died. However, his death brought little relief to the Israelites. Rather than a change in fortune, they faced continued oppression, as the new Pharaoh was equally relentless.

Oppression under the New Pharaoh

The new Pharaoh was just as harsh, if not harsher, than his predecessor. The Israelites were subjected to brutal labor and inhumane treatment, their cries echoing through the land. Despite the relentless cruelty, they clung to hope and fervently prayed for deliverance from their suffering.

Israelites’ Cry for Help

The cries of the Israelites did not go unheard. Their pleas reached God, who was moved by their misery and pain. It was clear that the time for divine intervention had come. God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and decided that the moment to act had arrived.

The Burning Bush Encounter

Tending Jethro’s Flock

One ordinary day, while Moses was tending Jethro’s flock near Mount Horeb, something extraordinary happened. As he guided the sheep across the rugged terrain, his attention was captured by a peculiar sight—a bush that was engulfed in flames but wasn’t burning up.

Angel Appears in the Burning Bush

Curious, Moses approached the bush to get a closer look. To his amazement, an angel of the Lord appeared from within the flames, calling out to him by name, “Moses, Moses.” Imagine hearing your name called out from a blazing bush! It’s enough to stop anyone in their tracks.

God Calls Moses

From the burning bush, God called out to Moses, revealing His presence and His sorrow over the suffering of the Israelites. God explained that He had chosen Moses for a monumental task: to return to Egypt and lead His people out of bondage. Although Moses was initially taken aback, the divine encounter marked the beginning of his transformation from shepherd to leader.

God’s Mission for Moses

God’s Compassion for Israel

God’s heart was heavy with compassion for the Israelites. He had seen their afflictions and heard their cries. He assured Moses that He would rescue His people from their misery and lead them to a land flowing with milk and honey—a place where they could finally thrive and live in freedom.

Moses’ Commission

God then laid out His plan for Moses. He was to go to Pharaoh and demand the release of the Israelites. This was no small task, considering Moses’ history with Egypt and his current humble status as a shepherd. Yet, God’s call was clear and unequivocal.

God’s Assurance

Understanding the enormity of what He was asking, God reassured Moses, “I will be with you.” This divine assurance wasn’t just empty words—it was a promise that God would guide, protect, and empower Moses every step of the way. Still, Moses had his doubts, and this is where his story takes another twist.

Moses’ Reluctance

Doubts about Worthiness

Moses’ immediate reaction was one of doubt and reluctance. Who was he, a fugitive and shepherd, to confront Pharaoh and lead the Israelites to freedom? He felt unworthy and ill-equipped for such a monumental task. It was a classic case of imposter syndrome, touching a chord with anyone who’s ever felt they weren’t up to the challenge.

Concerns about Speech

Adding to his self-doubt, Moses was worried about his ability to speak. He fretted over how he would find the right words to persuade Pharaoh and rally the Israelites. His speech impediment was a significant hurdle in his mind, one that he believed disqualified him from being God’s spokesperson.

God’s Reassurance and Signs

God, however, was patient with Moses’ concerns. He assured Moses that He would give him the words to speak and the signs to perform. To bolster his faith, God provided him with miraculous signs: turning his staff into a snake, making his hand leprous and then healing it, and turning water from the Nile into blood. These signs were meant to convince not only Pharaoh but also Moses himself of God’s undeniable presence and power.

Signs and Wonders

The Staff Turned into a Snake

To address Moses’ hesitation, God demonstrated His power with several awe-inspiring signs. First, He instructed Moses to throw his staff on the ground. As soon as Moses did, the staff transformed into a snake. When God commanded Moses to grab it by the tail, it turned back into a staff, showcasing God’s control over the natural world.

Hand Turned Leprous

Next, God directed Moses to place his hand inside his cloak. When Moses pulled it out, his hand was leprous, as white as snow. Then God told him to put his hand back inside the cloak. Upon doing so, Moses withdrew it, and it was restored to health. This sign highlighted God’s ability to afflict and heal, further authenticating His divine power.

Water from the Nile Turned to Blood

Finally, God instructed Moses to pour water from the Nile onto the dry ground. As soon as the water touched the earth, it turned into blood. This was a potent symbol of the plagues that would later befall Egypt and a clear indication that God had supreme authority over creation and destruction.

Final Reluctance and God’s Anger

Moses Asks for Someone Else

Even with these remarkable signs, Moses was still reluctant. He pleaded with God to send someone else, anyone else, to carry out this daunting mission. His persistent hesitation brings to light his deep-seated fears and insecurities.

God’s Anger Kindled

Moses’ reluctance eventually kindled God’s anger. Yet, instead of abandoning Moses, God came up with a solution to alleviate his concerns. God understood Moses’ apprehensions and had planned for this very situation.

Aaron Appointed as Spokesman

God appointed Aaron, Moses’ brother, to be his spokesman. Aaron was known for his eloquence and confidence in speaking. God assured Moses that Aaron would assist him in conveying the divine message, thus easing his anxiety about his speech impediment. Together, they would form an unbeatable team to confront Pharaoh and lead the Israelites to freedom.

Return to Egypt

Moses Informs Jethro

Having received his commission directly from God, Moses returned to Jethro, his father-in-law, to inform him of his decision to return to Egypt. Jethro gave Moses his blessing, understanding the significance of the mission entrusted to him by God.

Moses and Family Begin Journey

Moses set out on the journey back to Egypt, accompanied by his wife Zipporah and their sons. It was a significant step, full of uncertainties and challenges, but Moses carried the conviction of God’s purpose and the promise of divine guidance.

Carrying the Staff of God

Importantly, Moses carried with him the staff of God—the very staff that had transformed into a snake and back, the staff that would perform wonders and serve as a symbol of God’s power. This staff was not just a physical object but a representation of God’s authority and presence with Moses.


Moses’ Transformation

Throughout these experiences, Moses underwent a profound transformation. From a hesitant, self-doubting shepherd, he emerged as a leader chosen by God for the monumental task of freeing the Israelites. His journey illustrates the incredible potential within each of us when we are open to divine guidance and willing to rise above our fears.

God’s Plan Unfolds

God’s plan for Moses and the Israelites unfolded in ways that were both awe-inspiring and challenging. It was a testament to God’s unwavering commitment to His promises and His deep compassion for His people. Each step Moses took was a step towards the fulfillment of divine prophecy and the liberation of an entire nation.

Promise of Deliverance

Ultimately, the story of Moses and the burning bush is a powerful reminder of God’s promise of deliverance. It reassures us that no matter how dire our circumstances may seem, there is always hope and a divine plan at work. You, like Moses, may be called upon for tasks that seem beyond your capabilities, but with faith and willingness, extraordinary things can unfold.

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