Unexpected Call of God

“Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt,” (Exodus 1:1-3)

Moses spent forty years living in the house of Pharaoh, receiving the best education, and training in the Temple of the Sun. Acts 7:22 states, “And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds.” The Egyptians were a sophisticated and advanced people, building great structures, advanced in science, a military powerhouse, and a culture dominated by art, religion, and superstition. Moses grew up in this culture and tasted the benefits of this training for forty years.

Modern thought tells us that Moses was under the best training and preparation for success in life. If anyone was prepared to lead Israel out of slavery and into freedom, it was Moses. Today, we look similarly to our university system to prepare our children for success. However, nothing prepares one for success like God. Moses’ 40 years in the palace of privilege was not enough. Moses soon found himself killing an Egyptian and then rejected by his own people. He fled Egypt while fearing for his own life. All that Moses had was gone. Moses trades forty years in the Palace for another 40 years in Midian, on the backside of a desert, tending sheep that are not even his own.

Moses’ plan to free his people, the Hebrews, was now just a mere memory. In Exodus 3, Moses is now 40 years removed from Egypt. Forty years of tending sheep, marriage, and family. Moses experienced forty years of obscurity. For Moses, there are no great expectations at this moment in his life.

I find in my own life, this is when God works the greatest. My greatest times with the Lord were when I least expected it. My efforts failed, my strength exhausted, and my ideas gone. This is where Moses is in his life. Perhaps the dream was still there in the back his mind, but it now seemed out of reach.

God uses these times to move us out of the way. Certainly, God places the desires in our hearts to do His work. That work for Moses was leading his people out of Egypt to freedom. God wants to use Moses for this great work, but Moses still needed training. Not university or political training, but “backside of the desert” training. The training that none of us like. Training that is not taught in schools, nor is it training that any of us seek out. It is the type of training that only God can manufacture in our lives. There is no text book, no tuition, no class schedule, and no diploma. When will it end? We are not really sure, but when it is time to graduate you will know it, but you will not expect it. For Moses, graduation appeared in a flame in a bush in the middle of a desert. It was just another day in the life of a shepherd on the backside of the desert. But it was a day he did not expect and it would change his life and the world forever.

God’s call is urgent and important (Exodus 3:4)

Exodus 3:4 states, “And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.” Certainly, a burning bush in the middle of the desert was an attention getter. God had to do something to get Moses attention. Moses life of obscurity and routine had probably led Moses into complacency and low expectations in his own life. God will often do things in our lives to capture our attention. What is God doing in your life to get your attention?

But getting my attention is not enough. God has a message He wants you to hear. He had a message that Moses needed to hear. It was an important message with an urgent call. God uses a double call by saying, “Moses, Moses.” God uses this often in Scripture to relay urgency. He did the same with Abraham (Genesis 22:11), Samuel (1 Samuel 3:10), Simon (Luke 22:31), Martha (Luke 10:41), and Paul (Acts 9:4). The burning bush was the attention grabber in order to send a message of great urgency to Moses.

God’s mission and call in your life is both important and urgent. God’s Word has an urgent call for us. Do you hear it? Are you responding? Second Corinthians 5:20 Paul relays the urgency of our call from God, “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” Jesus stated in Mark 16:15, “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”

God had a mission and a message for Moses to deliver. God has a mission and message for us to deliver. They are not easy. We cannot do them in our own power. This will become obvious to Moses and it will become obvious to us. God calls to do the impossible and the impossible will not be accomplished without God. If we are going to succeed, then we must be right with God. We must be reconciled to God. God has not wronged us, we have wronged Him and we must return to Him. He has an important and urgent call on our lives that must be fulfilled.

God’s call is holy (Exodus 3:5)

“Then He said, ‘Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground. Moreover He said, ‘I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God.“

God has a call on our lives that only He can provide. God’s call is holy because He is holy. As Moses drew closer to examine the burning bush, God stopped him. “Do not draw near this place.” God was saying. “Moses, don’t come any closer.” Too many times in my life God has placed me in a position or situation and I would try to “figure it out.” Don’t. Just trust God.

God’s calling is holy, just, and right. I might not understand it. If I draw too close, I will spend more time trying to figure out God and what He has called me to.

We must understand this. God is holy, therefore trust Him no matter what. We will never be equal to God. His ways are and will always be higher than our ways. When it appears that we are in a situation that seems impossible, His grace will always be sufficient to see us through.

Paul reminds us of the holiness of God in 2 Corinthians 12:1-10. God placed a call on his life on the road to Damascus. God blinded Paul and struck him down for days in order to gain Paul’s full attention. This was Paul’s burning bush experience. Later in Paul’s ministry God allowed him to be caught up into paradise or heaven. Paul expressed that what he experienced could not be expressed in words and he would not even attempt to express it for it would make him look foolish. Furthermore, God had given him a thorn in the flesh, through Satan. The purpose of this thorn was to bring Paul continual pain and affliction in order to remind him of his standing before God. The thorn was designed to keep Paul on his knees and solely rely on the grace of God. It was a reminder that God is completely holy and completely worthy of seeing us through pain in our lives, even when the pain never leaves.

God’s call is humbling (Exodus 3:5).

“Then He said, ‘Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground. Moreover He said, ‘I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God.“

God told Moses to take off his shoes for the place he was standing was holy ground. For Moses, this ground was like any other ground. It was the desert floor. Dusty, dry, and hard. But God was present and speaking. Despite appearances and location, this ground was holy. Therefore, God commanded Moses to treat it as such by removing his shoes.

The removal of shoes is customary in many cultures as a sign of respect and cleanliness. In many middle and far east cultures, people remove their shoes prior to entering a home or even a temple of worship. This was the culture of Moses.

It was not typical, however, to remove your shoes on the dirty desert floor, but God had declared this ground holy. What a humbling experience for Moses. Sandals were worn by most people except the poorest. Sandals were always worn when walking in the desert because of dirt and other pollutants. But Moses was commanded to remove his sandals and humble himself in the presence of God.

What is more important is that Moses will not only be humbled by physically taking off his sandals, but the call God is about to put on his life will seem impossible. Moses will argue, debate, and question God. Moses will be asked by God to humble himself and completely trust His ways. Many of us don’t like that. We are not in control. We don’t know the way. We can’t clearly see the path. That’s what God’s call will look like on our lives.

Will we humble ourselves and trust God? God placed a mighty call on Moses’ life. A call that would change the world forever. God has placed a call on our lives. A call that has life-changing implications. Will you respond? It is an urgent call. It is a holy call. It is humbling call. Don’t miss it!