The Burning Bush
The Talmid's Fire of Messiah
by Deborah Peterson
If we have read or have been exposed to Scripture (or Bible stories) for a long time, I think it is easy for us to treat some of it almost like bed time stories or Disney movies - exciting, interesting, even 'mystical', but not real - and to forget these were accounts of real people, and some of the real thoughts, emotions, fears and challenges that these people experienced.
"Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the cohen (priest) of Midian, and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of Elohim (God). And the malak (messenger, angel) of Yahweh appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. And Moses said, 'I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.' When Yahweh saw that he turned aside to see, Elohim (God) called to him out of the bush, 'Moses, Moses!' And he said, 'Here I am.'" (Ex.3:1-4, ESV)
This is something I thought about when the Ruach recently brought to my mind the image of Moses seeing the burning bush for the first time. I tried to imagine what must have been running through his mind when he saw this bush, enflamed and yet not consumed… seeing something that he knew shouldn't be possible. I wonder if he was groping to make sense of it in some of the ways we sometimes do when we are confronted with something so far outside our frame of reference of what is and isn't possible? Was he wondering or convinced that he was imagining things, caught up in some dream or illusion, or flooded with questions along the lines of 'How could this possibly be?'
Throughout Scripture, Elohim often uses trees or bushes to symbolise people. With so many people today trusting only their own logic and intellects to be the light they will walk by, every so often Elohim (God) will send 'burning bushes' across their paths - situations and people that boggle their understanding of what should and shouldn't be possible, both to make them aware of their own vulnerable limitations and to get the attention of hearts and ears that were closed and hardened to the Ruach (Spirit) for a long time.
Scripture tells us that our Elohim (God) is a consuming fire (Exod 24: 17, Deut.4:24, Heb.12:29), and that His devarim (words) are like fire (Jer.5:14, Jer.23:29). On one level, the 'burning bushes' Father Yah wants planted in this world are people truly filled, engulfed, in His Davar (Word) and His presence - to be a challenge and a question mark to those following after their own idols, as they watch and see them walking in a way that in their minds 'can't possibly be or work', yet not only not be destroyed, but continue to grow. When they see these 'burning bushes' freely giving and tithing and having joy (even when they have almost nothing themselves), when they see them forgiving and having shalom (peace), even when they were sinned against in the most terrible ways and the culprits may still not be sorry for what they did, when they see them loving or helping someone without expecting anything back (especially those that really don't deserve it) - these are the kind of 'burning bush' moments that can not only challenge minds, but may get their attention when Elohim (God) speaks to their hearts from the fire.
On another level though, Scripture also speaks of the fire of affliction (Isaiah 48:10). Elohim can use (or even give) trails, pain and suffering to bring Himself glory (John 11:1-46, John 9:1-7). Sometimes, the 'burning bushes' Elohim gives allow a believer to be engulfed (yet not consumed) in trails and afflictions, for the purpose of His glory. When unbelievers and people following after their own idols see these people - engulfed by the trails, yet unconsumed as they cling to Elohim (God) - it makes for some of the strongest testimony of all, leaving them not only to question how it is possible, but to be more open to hear Yah's voice when He speaks to them through it.
Paul was an example of one of these 'burning bushes' - heavily afflicted yet uncrushed as he clung to Yah, trusting Yah not only to use it in Him, but that part of it was for ministering to others:
With all this, we should remember that the reason all of us came to emunah (faith) was because of The Burning Bush - Yah'shua (Jesus) - who was willing to trust His Father and to suffer through His wrath and rejection that our sins deserved, for the sake of our salvation, and who, because of Elohim's (God's) faithfulness, was resurrected and undefeated. He is the Burning Bush, engulfed in the Davar (Word) and Presence of Elohim (God) through whom we heard the Father call us.
"But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken, struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Yah'shua (Jesus), so that the life of Yah'shua (Jesus) may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Yah'shua's (Jesus) sake, so that the life of Yah'shua (Jesus), also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.
"Since we have the same spirit of emunah (faith) according to what has been written, 'I believed, and so I spoke,' we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that He who raised the Master Yah'shua (Jesus), will raise us also with Yah'shua (Jesus) and bring us with you into His presence. For it is all for your [our witnesses'] sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of Elohim (God).
"So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal." (2 Cor.4:7-18, ESV).
Someone reading this may be going through some of the most challenging trails of their life right now… it's for you that Elohim (God) says the words in Isaiah:
However fierce the fire is right now, cling to Yah'shua (Jesus) and Father Yah through Him. As you listen and walk and hold on to Him, He will not only bring you through your fire, but use you to witness to the people around you (possibly in the only way they would hear Him), and reveal His glory to you in a new and deeper way than you ever could have imagined. Amen
"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you" (Is.43:2, ESV).
This page was created on 8 November 2014
Last updated on 8 November 2014
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