October 10, 1993
The bush burned with fire, and the
bush was not consumed. There are several significant facts about
this burning bush.
First, the type of bush which the Lord chose to work through is interesting: the Lord did not chose a tall, stately cedar tree, but a lowly thorn-bush.
God uses people, imperfect people at best: thorn-bushes if you please.
Second, the symbolism of the bush.
Israel and Moses had become Egyptian in their character; the Lord uses the fire of persecution and trial to burn Egypt out of both Moses and His people, Israel.
Gen 15:17; Deut 4:20. According to the original prophecy given to Abraham, Israel would be oppressed for many years in the iron furnace of Egypt. Israel would be oppressed but not consumed.
The burning bush symbolizes the relationship between God and Israel of all times. The burning bush symbolizes the relationship between God and His church.
God was with Israel (thus His Church), protecting Israel from total destruction. As the pressures increase against the faithful church of modern times, we can be assured of God's protection. He will protect the church of today in the midst of a pagan society just as He protected the church of old in the midst of the pagan society.
3. The people
The people prepared by God would destroy Egypt. Egypt, as she did her best to destroy the OT church, was only preparing her own destruction.
Ps 47:2, 3 & Mal 4:3, gives us the same promise for the NT church.
The church today is in bondage in Egypt, burning in the brick-kilns, yet the church is not consumed. Though the church is perplexed and cast down in the eyes of the pagan world today, the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ will not be forever cast down, 2 Co 4:8 [We are] troubled on every side, yet not distressed; [we are] perplexed, but not in despair...
4. The fire
Deuteronomy 4:24; Hebrews 10:27; Revelation 19:12. The fire represents the fire of God which consumes His enemies but not His faithful people. God's enemies are defined as all who are unfaithful to His covenant-law.
Ex 3:2, 4, The Lord appeared to Moses and spoke out of the burning bush to Moses. When Moses brought Israel back to this location to meet their God, again the Lord spoke to establish His covenant out of the burning fire, Deut 4:12; 5:24.
We must not take the covenant-law lightly. It was given in fire and will be enforced by fire.
5. The Lord
The sight which Moses saw here was a strange sight indeed. The Lord works in mysterious ways His wonders to perform.
The Lord may use unusual means to get the attention of those He calls unto Himself. He will use whatever means necessary.
The Lord may speak in a still small voice as He did to Elijah. Elijah was very disturbed because his efforts for the cause of God were seemingly useless, 1 Kings 19:9-18, v. 14. The Lord assures him that the Lord was still in control.
The Lord may speak from the fire of judgment and trials of purifying as He does in the Book of Revelation.
As we study Scripture, primarily, the Lord is presented as fire, and He should be seen as such.
The Lord purifies, judges, searches, and moves in an unstoppable way in history His plan to preform. The promise or threat of fire would do far more to convince of the need of covenant-law faithfulness than will a promise of reward.
6. The fire concluded.
First, 1 Peter 1:7; Revelation 1:14. the fire of the furnace is used to prepare for God a people as it burns away the dross of sin which hinders service to Himself.
The fiery symbol used by Peter does not consume the thorn bush. In fact, the fire turns the thorn bush into gold which is fit for the Masters use.
1 Pet 1:6, It should be also noted that fire is required to purify; there is no purification without fire. This is why Peter said to rejoice in v. 6.
After establishing the necessity of fiery trials, Peter goes on to list the results of purification in the rest of his book. James says the same thing in his first chapter.
Second, He 12:29. Our God is a consuming fire. The fire which purifies His people is the same fire which consumes His enemies. Even though our human nature dreads to see the fire of purification come, the fire of God, which burns away the dross from His people is the same fire which consumes His enemies. God's righteousness is establishes through His righteous judgment against sin.
Isa 11:4; 26:9 & 51:6, God delivers His people and judges the wicked through fire.
Therefore and obviously (& I wish this wasn't so) God's people should not only rejoice in the fiery trials, but they should pray for the Lord to send the fire.
The fire will refine the faith of His people so that they can be effective servants of the Lord their God.
The fire will burn away the sin from around His people.
And finally, God's people must also pray for the grace to see them through the trials and learn the needed lessons.
1 Co 3:12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble...
We ask God to judge evil. Well, this means that the same fire which judges evil around us must also judge the evil dross in His people. The two cannot be separated because fire is no respecter of persons; it burns anywhere flammable material is found.
1 Cor 10:13. No doubt the bush feels the heat, but the promise is that it will not be consumed; rather, the bush will be refined and purified.
Let us not be surprised at the fiery trials that have come and are coming our way. It is an essential part of preparing for God a people for His glory.