This chapter opens with Moses not living out his life under G-d’s call. He has embraced another culture and heritage.
v1: Jethro: We see a change in name (from Reuel to Jethro)
· Priest of Midian: Moses is in a spiritual household. The term “priest” is a generic term and doesn’t mean that Jethro had any connection to the G-d of Israel.
· Desert: A place of dependence. Moses and the flock were not in their usual location (back of the desert – far away).
· Horeb: One of the names of Mount Sinai. Horeb means “very dry/worn out “or “destruction” (when one speaks of the destruction of the temple this word is used). This mountain (like our lives) became a place a transformation when the presence of G-d was upon it (Exodus 20:18)
v2: Angel of the L-rd: This term is often used in the context of deliverance or salvation – a manifestation of G-d’s Presence.
· Fire: Symbolizes judgment. A fire in the dry desert was not unusual. What was unique was that the bush was burning but it was not consumed. This bush was overcoming the judgement of G-d. This was supernatural.
v3: Turn: Not the word normally used for turning in the sense of repentance. This is a word which implies a change of direction, but also can be used for removing or getting rid of something. G-d did this in order to get rid of something that was in Moses life.
· Bush does not burn: A supernatural happening that Moses wanted revelation on. Moses had a desire to understand. Moses interrupted his life in order to see and find out what was happening (Proverbs 25:2, Acts 17:11)
v4: G-d was watching Moses (us) to see how he (we) would respond. Because Moses responded to this event G-d responded to him. Moses saw and acted, therefore G-d saw and acted in the life of Moses. If Moses was going to encounter G-d there was only ONE way in which he could. He had to go to the proper source – not just anywhere. He had to submit to the source of revelation – in this case he had to go to the bush.
· Here I am: this is a term that signifies availability.
v5: Do not draw near this place: G-d is happy that Moses turned aside, but G-d (in the form of a command) set a boundary for Moses.
· Take your sandals off: G-d gave a command to test if Moses (the man who was eventually going to receive the 10 commandments) was willing to obey. In many places to remove shoes is a cultural showing of respect. You are only allowed in the house for fellowship etc if your shoes are off.
· Holy ground: Man was made from ground (Genesis 2:7). This foreshadows what G-d wants to do with humanity – He wants to bring holiness, sanctification, to humanity. There is a connection between sanctification and the commandments. We are not saved by the commandments, but having been saved the commandments can have a sanctifying influence in our lives.
v6: G-d introduces Himself to Moses: The G-d of faith and promise (what we remember when the Patriarchs are mentioned)
· Afraid: Moses believed in G-d. When he hid his face it showed he had a conviction of sin (Genesis 3:8)
v7: G-d was very aware of the situation that the Hebrew people were in.
· Oppression – emotionally, spiritually, physically, financially.
· I know their sorrow: This is an experiential word. G-d knows, from experience, the pain that they are in. It is painful to G-d to see His covenant people suffer.
v8: I have come down: G-d came down in order to rescue or deliver.
· To the place of the Canaanites…: G-d knows this land is inhabited by others, but G-d (who owns the whole earth – He made it!) is going to take their land and give it to His covenant people.
v9: The people had been crying out for a long time, but the faithfulness of the midwives was what ultimately moved G-d’s arm. G-d is a G-d of order. He has spiritual laws, spiritual conditions, and until those were met nothing happened.
v10: G-d had a call for Moses’ life and He delivered this call to him in the form of a commandment.
· My people: They are His people – not because of anything they had or hadn’t done, but because of a covenant. G-d is faithful to His Word. If G-d does not abandon His Old Covenant people then we can rest assured that He will not abandon His New covenant people either.