Exodus 3: 1-15
“Then the Lord said, ‘I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them…”
The bush is burning but it is not consumed. The sandals come off. The flames leap high into the sky. After a word of address, “Moses, Moses!” and introductions, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob,” the Lord tells Moses what this meeting is about. It is about God’s decision to set the people, “my people,” free.
This is the decisive moment when the God of justice moves to center stage in the biblical story. And so it is a fitting place to begin any conversation about our own call to action as followers of Jesus.
The flaming bush sets the imagination on fire and Moses’ reaction to God’s sudden appearance pulls us into our own divine-human dramas, but more than these, it is God’s self-revelation that we cannot afford to miss in this passage if we are to forge a faith strong enough to sustain us in our service and our struggle for justice.
Who is the God of the Bible?
God is the One who sees the misery of humankind, who hears our cries, who knows our suffering, and who comes to deliver us, always, from all forms of slavery and injustice. The God of the Exodus is anything but indifferent. This God is all compassionate, all love and action.
“Indeed, I know their sufferings,” the Lord says, and Christians are led to the foot of the cross.
Our efforts to work for the good of others matter deeply. But how much would our efforts matter eternally if God was uninterested in us as human beings or unwilling to get involved on our behalf? We would be left to our own devices to do the work of healing with little hope that suffering could one day be redeemed or that tears of sorrow could turn to peals of laughter.
Our belief in God’s relentless compassion – compassion that drives to right every wrong – is the never-ending source of our strength. We could do very little without this God whose powerful love is matched with the power and will to deliver. With this God, through the Holy Spirit, we can do anything God asks of us. We can love the neighbors in front of us and we can work to end suffering in every corner of our cities, our nation, and our planet.
We are never alone. The God we know from Mount Horeb to Golgotha, the God of love and justice, is near.