Light of the World: Day Five
The Burning Bush
Read Exodus 2:23 – 3:22
The book of Genesis ends with the tribe of Israel moving to Egypt to escape a severe 7-year famine. True to his word, God greatly multiplied the Israelites until they grew to such a large number, the Pharaoh became afraid of them and forced the Israelites into slavery (Exodus 1:8-11). But what was intended for evil against the Israelites, God used for good.
But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread abroad. And the Egyptians were in dread of the people of Israel.
God was faithfully keeping his promise to Abraham to make his descendants into a great nation. Yet, the Israelites were in slavery. As the people of Israel cried out and groaned because of their slavery, God heard their cries and remembered his promise to Abraham (Exodus 2:23). This is the last thing we read before chapter 3 begins with God’s calling of Moses. God was setting the deliverance of Israel out of slavery upon the foundation of the Abrahamic Covenant.
Exodus 3 gives the account of how God called Moses to be his servant in order to deliver the Israelites out of slavery. Miraculously, God appears to Moses, “in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush” (v. 2). This is called a theophany (an appearance of God to man). The dialogue that occurs between Moses and God in Exodus 3 is quite miraculous.
Note that, “God called to him” (v. 4). As we’ve already seen, and will continue to see throughout the narrative of the Bible, God is the initiator with mankind. Remember that God was the initiator in creation (Genesis 1), the initiator of the protoevangelium (Genesis 3), and the initiator of the Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 12). Now we see another example of the love of God as he once again initiates his goodness and mercy with the Israelites by appearing to Moses in order to save them.
God reveals himself to Moses as the holy God who is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (vv. 5-6), who has come down (v. 8a) to deliver them from slavery, and bring them into the Promised Land (v. 8). Not only should we marvel at the goodness and mercy of God in these statements, but we should also take note of the foreshadowing of the gospel that we see here. Just as God did not forget his covenant with Abraham, so too would he not forget his promise to send an offspring of woman that would crush the head of the serpent. He did not fail to keep his three-fold promise to Abraham and he would not fail in keeping his word to send a savior.
Not only this, but God says that he has come down in order to deliver the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. Just as he accomplished setting the Israelites free from slavery in Egypt, Jesus would one day come to set mankind free from slavery to sin.
She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.
But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.
As the biblical narrative progresses, we continue to behold God’s sovereign hand throughout history in bringing about the redemption of mankind out of darkness. As miraculous as the exodus of the Israelites was, it was only a small taste of the glorious redemption God would one day accomplish not only for Israel but for the entire world.
Action Point: Take some time to consider the sins that God has set you free from. Praise him today for setting you free from sin and making you a slave to righteousness. Ask him for the strength and resolve to live as a slave of righteousness and to show you how to walk in obedience to him today.