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Lessons From the Burning Bush

Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.


The Burning Bush

The account of the burning bush in Exodus 3 and Exodus 4 is more than a story. It is an event that teaches us how to respond in God's presence.

There are some powerful lessons we can learn from this account of the burning bush with Moses on the back side of the mountain near Mount Horeb, that is also known as Mount Sinai.

Exodus 3:1-2

According to Exodus 3:1-2, Moses was taking care of his father-in-law's flock. When Moses led Jethro's sheep to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a bush that was on fire, but the bush was not burning up.


Exodus 3:3-5

The bush that did not burn up was designed to get Moses' attention. According to Verses 3-5, Moses said, "I must turn aside now, and see this marvelous sight, why the bush is not burned up."

When the Lord saw that Moses 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 God said, "Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground."

God told Moses to remove his sandals as a sign of reverence. Today we should never take the presence of God lightly.

Exodus 3:6-10

God identifies Himself by saying, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." God then gets to the point of His encounter by telling Moses why He was in the burning bush.

In essence, God told Moses He had seen how the people in Egypt were in slavery and were suffering under the hands of their taskmasters. God could have taken care of the situation Himself, but He wanted to use Moses to deliver His people out of slavery and take them into the promised land. He gave Moses instructions to carry out His plan.


Exodus 3:11 - 4:13

After Moses had been given his assignment, he began to ask questions and give God excuses. As Moses gave each one, God answered and gave an assurance.

ScriptureMoses' QuestionsGod's Assurances

Exodus 3:11

"Who am I that I am to go to Pharoah?"

"Certainly I will be with you."

Exodus 3:13

"Who should I say sent me?"

"Tell them I Am sent you."

Exodus 4:1

"Suppose my own people don't believe me."

God gives Moses three signs foreshadowing what was to come.

Exodus 4:10

"I am not an eloquent speaker. I am slow of speech."

God promised to send Aaron as Moses' spokesperson.

Exodus 4:13

"O, My Lord, please send someone else."

God assured Moses He would teach him.

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Exodus 3:13-15

Moses didn't think he was worthy or capable enough to go to Pharaoh, but God told Moses to say "I AM Who I Am" sent him. That was God's personal name that meant a lot.

God's Personal Name

Several meanings of God's personal name

1. The words “I Am” are a form of the Hebrew verb “hayah” meaning “to be.”

2. God’s personal name, “Yahweh” means “the existing One.”

3. The words “I Am that I Am” means “I exist because I exist.”

5. Saying "I Am" means “to cause to exist.”

God's people had been in bondage over 400 years in Egypt. They had suffered great hardships. Many thought God had forgotten the promises He had made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The slaves thought God would never fulfill His promise to deliver them.

God is now ready to use Moses to fulfill His promise to bring the Hebrews into Canaan, the land flowing with milk and honey. For 40 years Moses had been tending sheep. Now God was going to use him to tend to His people.

The Call of Moses

Moses had spent 40 years in Egypt. He fled from Egypt after he killed an Egyptian taskmaster who was mistreating his people. He had spent 40 years in Midian herding Jethro's sheep. More than likely, Moses believed that would be all he would do for the rest of his life.

Now at the age of 80, God calls him to go to Pharaoh and deliver Israel from Egyptian bondage.

Moses objects and says he is unworthy to fulfill this great task, but God assures him that He will be with him and enable him to complete the assignment he has been given.


Lessons from the Burning Bush

  • Moses' Excuses and God's Assurances
    When God called Moses from the burning bush, Moses gave God five distinct excuses. For each excuse Moses gave, God gave Moses His assurance.

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