God’s Burning Bushes
A devotional by Karen Marstaller
“Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed.” –Exodus 3:1-2 (ESV)
The other day some of my friends and I gathered to pray and study the Bible.
We discussed the difficulty we often have with telling other people about Jesus Christ, especially those who do not know Christ. One of the ladies recalled the story of Moses and the burning bush, and how God caught the attention of Moses through a shrub. We all laughed when my friend said that there were lots of bushes in her front yard, and maybe God could use one of those to speak to our loved ones.
Her comment started me thinking. To my knowledge, God hasn’t been talking to anyone recently through a bush, so how does He plan to tell others about Jesus Christ in today’s world? It’s pretty evident that His plan is to use us—His children—His flawed, often mindless children. We have been given the task of sharing the gospel of Jesus with a world that has wandered far from the Lord.
Within our hearts, the Lord has placed the glorious news of salvation in Jesus, and we can’t keep it hidden from those around us who are lost and dying. For many of us, the task to share the gospel is daunting. We’re nervous about what people might think of us if we speak openly about God’s gift of salvation. We worry about how we’ll look, but that’s not how God sees it. This is not about us at all. It’s about telling others of the hope we have in this life, and in the next one—eternity in Heaven.
When Moses turns aside to see the bush that burned but wasn’t burned up, God spoke to a very ordinary shepherd. He told Moses to take off his sandals because the ground he was standing on was holy (Exodus 3:5). Then God commissions Moses. The man who had previously fled Egypt in fear of his life is commanded to go back and lead Israel out of their slavery into the land that God had promised them.
What God told Moses to do is exactly what He wants us to do. We who have met the Lord are to humble ourselves first, and then we can be used by God in naturally occurring ways to share the freedom we know through Jesus.
Our neighbors, friends, family, and even perfect strangers will be blessed by the life-giving news of our true God Who loves them and Who invites them to come into His family. He’s the One Who will forgive them and accept them as His own. Why are we waiting to share such amazing news of grace and mercy?
Maybe we don’t know how, or we’re afraid, or we’re too busy. We can always come up with our numerous excuses, but the Apostle Paul explains a simple way to share the gospel. He says it’s like the planting process. Sow the seed. Water. Let God bring the harvest (1 Corinthians 3:6). The seeds are the good words we use to help people recognize how much God loves them. When we tell someone we will pray for them and then do it, God is honored and people are drawn to Him. It may be a long time before they remember that prayer again, but they will remember, and we might even be blessed to hear their story one day.
Sow a few seeds of kindness and hope, or water a few drops of joy and gladness, and before long we will put our past fears and doubts behind us. We can walk in joyful expectation with the Lord, our Savior and our Friend, as we tell others about Him.
One of the most comforting parts of the burning bush story is that the bush burned, but it wasn’t consumed. As I grow older, I tend to pace myself more. But God has plans for us that aren’t all-consuming. He gives strength—His strength, and He gives us His Word to speak. Because He is our Lord, we really can do all things through Christ, and He will strengthen us (Philippians 4:13).
Let’s Pray: Dear Lord, the God of Moses and of all creation, will You set us on fire for You? Please light the kindling and let us burn brightly with our love for Jesus, Your Son. It is in His great name that we pray. Amen.
Song of Reflection: “I Am Not Ashamed” by Heritage Singers. Listen to it here.
Karen Marstaller is a retired high school teacher who spent most of her career challenging creative students to write. Her heart is for her readers.
She writes to encourage them, to make them laugh, to show them that life is a beautiful journey, and regardless of their past, to show them that there is joy ahead if they will just keep looking.
Karen and her husband live in central Texas in a sweet little home that they completely remodeled. They enjoy spending time with their family, which includes seven precious grandchildren.
Most of all, Karen writes in obedience to the command to love your neighbor, to offer a cup of water to those who are dying of thirst, and to comfort others with the comfort she has received.
You can reach Karen by emailing her at this address: email@example.com