Have you ever raced across hot sand? I have, and what’s more, something prickly shared its bounty with me. To remove all the thorns from my foot was a significant challenge.
Imagine strolling into work one day and then stopping dead in your tracks because your tools are totally engulfed in fire. They aren’t being burned up, mind you, just surrounded by crackling flames.
Now imagine that you hear your name being called, but you see no one. So you move closer. And then you realize it is God talking, and he starts explaining your life mission to you.
My friend, Zvek, and I sometimes discuss our life missions. We are both nearing 30, so we say we have just a few more years to complete our training and get our acts together. Jesus started his ministry at 30, and we are high achievers.
So Moses–that slave baby turned prince turned fugative–do you know about him? Well, he thought he had his act together when he reached middle age. He was still a fugative, sure, but he had a family and a job. Life was as steady and predictable as it had ever been. But one day he drove his herds near the mountain of God. That was the day it all went down.
Moses sees a bush on fire, right there at the foot of the mountain of God. Weird, right? Fire in a desert is abnormal, that’s a fact, so Moses has to take a closer look. A voice calls his name, and he recognises it as God’s voice. “Moses!” God says, “Take off your shoes. This is a holy place.”
Now, reader, please remember that Moses wasn’t standing on a wave-smoothed beach. He was in the middle of a dry, rocky, thorny, burning hot (110°) climate. Scorpions and venomous snakes live here. Would you like to walk across this terrain barefoot?
Moses wants to know what God is up to more than he wants to preserve the lifespan of his feet. He tosses his shoes, follows God’s voice, and finds out his life mission, right there by a bush that is in flames… but not a bit damaged!
That bush, reader, let’s think about that bush for a minute. It was ON FIRE, the quickest death–the worst danger a bush could know–and yet, safe. Untouched. A humble bush, used for something incredible, a living picture of the language of a world close at hand, now, but also very far away. Let’s think about this for a bit. What could it mean?
Getting back to Moses before he vanishes from sight, let’s go over the steps he’s taken today.
1. He chose to travel to the mountain of God. Proximity to holy places.
2. He saw something near the mountain of God that was unusual. It reminded him of one of God’s names: Consuming Fire, and he went towards it, thinking, “Could it be that God is on the move?” Curiosity. Eyes wide open. Understanding of God’s attributes. Action.
3. God called Moses’ name, and he said, “Here I am.” Choosing relationship over being a spectator.
4. Barefoot on burning, thorn-studded sand. A walk past the snake and the scorpion’s dens. “I’d rather be in pain and near you than whole and far away”. Speaking “I will” instead of “I need”.
A refiner’s fire NEVER consumes the gold, reader. Believe it.
Know who God is. Walk in faith.
Always be curious.