This month, our series journeys through the story of Moses and the Israelites in Egypt. Through this story, we will explore several elements of creation.
The story of Moses begins with fire. The burning bush surely must have brought a mixture of emotions from fear to wonder. This divine experience inspired Moses to grow into one of the greatest leaders of all time, a leader who would defy the powers of the world and free his people.
1Moses was taking care of the flock for his father-in-law Jethro, Midian’s priest. He led his flock out to the edge of the desert, and he came to God’s mountain called Horeb. 2The Lord’s messenger appeared to him in a flame of fire in the middle of a bush. Moses saw that the bush was in flames, but it didn’t burn up. 3Then Moses said to himself, Let me check out this amazing sight and find out why the bush isn’t burning up.
4When the Lord saw that he was coming to look, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!”
Moses said, “I’m here.”
5Then the Lord said, “Don’t come any closer! Take off your sandals, because you are standing on holy ground.” 6He continued, “I am the God of your father, Abraham’s God, Isaac’s God, and Jacob’s God.” Moses hid his face because he was afraid to look at God.
7Then the Lord said, “I’ve clearly seen my people oppressed in Egypt. I’ve heard their cry of injustice because of their slave masters. I know about their pain. 8I’ve come down to rescue them from the Egyptians in order to take them out of that land and bring them to a good and broad land, a land that’s full of milk and honey, a place where the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites all live. 9Now the Israelites’ cries of injustice have reached me. I’ve seen just how much the Egyptians have oppressed them. 10So get going. I’m sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.”
11But Moses said to God, “Who am I to go to Pharaoh and to bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
12God said, “I’ll be with you. And this will show you that I’m the one who sent you. After you bring the people out of Egypt, you will come back here and worship God on this mountain.”
13But Moses said to God, “If I now come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ they are going to ask me, ‘What’s this God’s name?’ What am I supposed to say to them?”
14God said to Moses, “I Am Who I Am. So say to the Israelites, ‘I Am has sent me to you.’” 15God continued, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your ancestors, Abraham’s God, Isaac’s God, and Jacob’s God, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever; this is how all generations will remember me.
Consider these questions:
- Think of times that you have felt inspired. What emotions surrounded this inspiration? Fear? Hope? Joy?
- How have you responded to inspiration? Did you make excuses like Moses?
- Assuming you have responded differently at different times, how might these different responses affect your response to future inspirations?
Post-sermon update on 9/5
Audio from the sermon can be heard below, and video can be found by clicking this link (will open in a new tab).
Sunday’s sermon included an expression of inspiration and a sharing of ideas. Considering the goals set for us by our new Bishop, we are invited into a spirit of newness. Indeed, we cannot welcome new people without doing new things.
It is my hope that we may experience inspiration together. And if we experience fear of doing new things, I am confident that God will offer assurances just as God did with Moses.
Because I believe that God is not just giving us the flames of inspiration, but that God implores us in the same way God implored Moses: “So get going!”
Consider these questions:
- How do you feel inspired to “make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world?” If you don’t like that phrase, consider this question instead: How do you feel inspired to help grow the ministries of PB UMC?
- What fears (or excuses, if you identify with Moses the way I do) come to mind when you think about the previous question?
- When you pray about these fears, how does God offer comfort and assurance?
- What is a tangible step you can take to get going?