He stood there, transfixed. Moments earlier he had been wending his way among the rocks, leading his flock to fresh grazing land. He glanced down at his dusty feet, to regain his footing; then up, squinting as he surveyed the horizon. Only the clatter of small hooves could be heard… the distant bleating of a lamb trying to keep up with the group. His thoughts were far away. The years rehearsed themselves through his mind as he walked. The separation from his family, the luxuriant life he chose to forsake, the persecution of his brethren, the man he killed, the fear he felt upon discovery, his flight into the wilderness-they were all potent events that resurrected themselves in times of solitude.
Now he has a new life and a family of his own. He believes he has achieved comfortable anonymity as a country shepherd. But God intends to get the attention of this distracted man named Moses.
The Inconceivable, Inconsumable Shrub
An insignificant desert shrub becomes the unmistakably divine instrument God employs to gain the consideration of His servant-in-the-rough. Moses is entranced by the bush, burning with eternal fire. He hears the roar of the flames darting in and out of its branches, but not the familiar crackling of kindled wood. He feels the heat upon his face as he comes nearer to inspect the phenomenon. There is no smoke, no smell of burning timber; but small plants around its base curl and char in the heat. Captivated by the spectacle, his thoughts are now trained upon one question, “Why is this happening?”
Ears prick and noses twitch-even the sheep are aware that this is no ordinary patch of vegetation. This bush has been made a beacon, proclaiming, “Stop and take notice!” And they did…the shepherd, and his fleecy followers. Who would guess that this humble man would one day have greatness divinely “thrust upon him”, and become a mighty deliverer of God’s people? By the time the first census was taken in Numbers 1, his “flock” will have grown in size to an estimated three million souls.
Does God still work so significantly in the lives of His people? Certainly. It may not be through an audible voice, but He is continually making an effort to cause His presence to be known. Perhaps we are not sensible of these attempts because we are distracted by relationships, responsibilities, or past disappointments, as Moses may have been that day in the wilderness.
Often as parents we will take the face of a little one in our hands in order to make direct eye contact and command their full attention. Our gentle heavenly Father in His compassion (Ps. 103:13,14) behaves in much the same way. As we look into His Word, He looks back at us and deep into our hearts (Ps. 139:23). Unfortunately, because we are corrupted by sin and distracted by our flesh, we can walk away from this intimate encounter and readily forget what His soul-searching gaze has revealed (Jas. 1:23,24).
Jesus said often, “He who hath ears to hear, let him hear”-in our vernacular, “Listen up!” But, especially in our hurried and harried generation, we are suffering from a spiritual ADD, and we have difficulty focusing on things eternal. Inundated with cares and preoccupied with plans, we put down deep earthly roots and cease to be “strangers and pilgrims” (I Pet. 2:11). Our lives flow from one routine event to another at such a rapid pace that we have lost the sensibility required to see significance in the small things. Therefore, to be heard above the cacophony in our heads, God seems to resort more often to the wind, earthquake and fire than to the “still, small voice” (I Kings 19:11,12) in order to convey His message.