A Message from the Burning Bush

In my morning Bible study time I'm following the Two-Track plan laid out by author Philip Yancy. The plan is divided into a series of 2-week daily readings on various topics, such as "Women of the Bible," "Prayers of the Bible," "The Holy Spirit," etc.

This morning I started "Two Weeks on Social Justice." I admit, when I read that heading, I said to myself, "Sigh. These next weeks will be a trial to get through." The topic just didn't sound interesting, or even relevant to me. Day 1's reading was Exodous 3, when Moses encounters God in the burning bush. How many times have I heard that story? I mean, we all have a visual picture of that event, brought to life by the movie The Ten Commandments, right?

Imagine my surprise when a verse 7 leaped off the page at me.

God said, "I have seen the misery of my people in Egypt. ... I am concerned about their suffering."

Here's a personal confession - I've suffered lately. I am struggling under a burden that is, at times, more than I can bear. When I read those words, it was as though God was saying directly to me, "I have seen your misery, and I'm concerned about your suffering."

But the chapter didn't end there. Not only did God see the suffering of His people, He sent a deliverer, someone to rescue them. He told Moses at that time that it wouldn't be easy. In fact, there would be a lot of opposition and a lot of confrontation before the people were truly set free. I'm absolutely positive that God could have acted instantaneously to set His children free. He could have snapped His fingers and changed Pharoh's mind. But he didn't do that, did He? Instead He promised to be with Moses through every step of the conflict, to give him power he didn't possess on his own, and to lead the Israelites out of captivity, away from their oppressors, in the end. Eventually He led them through the Red Sea, and crushed their oppressors behind them.

Is my burden any different than the Israelites? No, it's not. It's something that is as hard, as painful, as oppressive as their slavery and hard work. And God has sent a Deliverer to lead me out, into the peace and prosperity of the promised land. I know He could snap His fingers and free me instantaneously. Instead, He sent Jesus to deliver me. He has promised to be with me through every step of the conflict, to give me strength when I don't have any of my own. And to lead me away from this thing that oppresses me.

What oppresses you? Is it sin? Shame? Addiction? Guilt? Emotional wounds? Whatever it is, I am confident that God is far more powerful than your oppressors. He hears your cries for help, and He knows of your suffering. And He wants to lead you out, into the peace He promised through Jesus.

I'm heading for the far shore of the Red Sea. Want to join me?