Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Truth - Where's your burning bush?

The Bible lesson raises an interesting question. In the story of Moses, which falls into three distinct parts, the second part is his wilderness experience. Born a slave, adopted by a princess, he is raised with all the privileges of royalty, until he killed an overseer who was beating a slave. He was forced to flee into the wilderness where he came to stay with Jethro, married one of his daughters and became a humble shepherd. Leading the flock to pasture he sees something unusual, a bush that is on fire, but is not consumed. Seeing his receptivity and curiosity, God speaks to him, something that has not happened before. Moses is told to take off his shoes for he is on holy ground. God is present. To take off the shoes is an ancient as well as modern way of expressing reverence in the East. Reverence is not only due to God but is the first condition of receiving divine truth. God tells Moses He is aware of the slavery of the Israelites and will send Moses to lead them to a land flowing with milk and honey, indicating fertility and abundance.

Moses spent 40 years as a prince in Egypt, followed by 40 years as a humble shepherd. Now he is to lead the people on a 40 year wilderness experience ending with their arrival at the Promised Land. So he is in his 80's when he encounters the burning bush. but this kind of thing can happen to us at any age. You may have had a time of prosperity, followed by a time of lack and humility. You may have been free of health problems only to seem stuck with an unyielding physical problem. You may have been in a happy relationship for many years only to go through years of struggle as it deteriorates. It is at this point that you get your own 'burning bush' wake up call. It may have something to do with how you spent that time, your receptivity to getting closer to God.

Somehow, one day, you realize there is a better way, an answer, a solution, if you can only find it. You turn aside from the path you have been on and are willing to pray and listen to God. In this moment, you feel His very real presence. Right then you are on holy ground. What you will eventually come to see is that you have always been on holy ground. There is no place you can go where God is not.

Your burning bush may be subtle or startling. What matters is how you respond to it. Mentally take off your shoes and know that you are on holy ground God will show you the way. The answer will be provided. Even if it is not the answer you were expecting. I'm sure the last thing Moses wanted to do was to return to Egypt and make demands on Pharoah. But he obeyed, because he came to understand that God would be with him and accomplish His holy purpose. God will do that for you too.

Be at peace.

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