1,500 years before Jesus was born there was a man called Moses. He was a Hebrew who had been brought up in the Palaces of Pharaoh. There was always a tension within him between the extravagance of the palaces of Pharaoh and the plight of the Hebrews who were the salves of the Egyptians. One day that tension broke when Moses saw an Egyptian attacking a Hebrew and he intervened and murdered the Egyptian. Seen by other people, Moses goes on the run and spends his time in the desert.
Moses has been privileged beyond imagination; brought up by Pharaoh himself yet always an outsider. But now he is an outcast as well. Frightened by the anger inside him he does the things he doesn’t want to do and neglects the things he should do. His life is full of darkness because there is no light. He does not know who he is or where he is going. But then it changes. He draws a line in the sand. Today, what goes round now goes forward. He still carries the doubts, the fears and the miseries that make a lifetime but now he is carrying them somewhere. What has changed everything?
The LIGHT OF A BURNING BUSH
Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”
When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
And Moses said, “Here I am.”
“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.
The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. (Exodus 3 v 1 – 8)
Moses looks into the light and hears a voice calling him, “Moses, Moses”. He replies confidently, “Here I am.” And the voice said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground”
Moses stands there, barefoot before the light of the burning bush. God tells Moses that he has heard the cry of his people. He knows their sufferings and He has come to deliver them. There are amazing similarities between this message to Moses from God and the message to the world on that first Christmas.
Moses is full of excuses why he shouldn’t be the one to be God’s messenger to Pharaoh to tell him to release the Israelites. Once he has exhausted those excuses he asks God who he should tell Pharaoh has sent him. God replies, “I am who I am. Say to the people, I am has sent me”.
Moses pears down the tunnel of his own future: the sunsets and tomorrows of a lifetime to a Promised Land and into Exile and then back to the Promised Land. There is invasion, victory, invasion and captivity, the nation of Israel ebbs and flows until 1,500 years later another is born out of the blazing fire of revelation. He comes from somebody ordinary like Moses who is able to say yes to God. His presence will scatter the darkness and His light will burn forever. He is also called, “I am”. And He is the same. He will not allow his people to be slaves. He will search out the lost. He will care for the lowly.
Jesus, born as a baby in Bethlehem is the Son of the “Great I am” – He is the “Great I am” and He has come down to this earth to rescue us. He will be brilliant light. He will be salvation. He will be born into the darkness of an unknowing world.