Exodus 3:1 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.
2 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.
3 And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.
4 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.
5 And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.
As we see here, Moses was busy doing what he was asked to do. He was raised in royalty, but he had no problem being a shepherd for his father-in-law. A shepherd would look for good pasture for his flock. Moses led his flock to the backside of the desert. Horeb means dry and desert. It is called the mountain of God here. It is where God would meet with Moses and give him an important message and calling.
In verse 2 we see that it was the angel of the LORD that appeared in a flame of fire from the bush. Further on we see that the LORD is speaking to Moses. This was a special meeting that God had arranged for Moses. Moses was observant and did not just walk away from this scene. He noticed that the bush was not being consumed with the fire. Moses took the time to look closer at what was taking place there.
In verse 4 we see that the LORD saw what Moses was doing, and we see here how important it is for a person to listen to God. God does not force Himself upon a person. He makes it very clear that listening to Him is the right thing to do. He waited for Moses to respond favourably to what God was doing before He did anything more. Having gained Moses’ attention, He could now continue His purpose for this unique meeting.
God called to him out of the midst of the bush. Three times the Bible speaks of God as a “consuming fire”. Isaiah was given a vision of the holiness of God and we read there that God prepared Isaiah for his work by taking a hot coal from the fire to purify him.
Moses needed to understand that the true God was much different than the pagan gods he had been taught about in Pharaoh’s courts. Moses also needed to understand the importance of listening to God. God called to him twice. Moses was wise in responding to God quickly.
In verse 5 God would now begin to teach Moses the importance of recognizing Who the true God is. Moses was commanded to remove his shoes in the presence of the LORD. God is a holy God. No sin can enter into His presence. God showed Adam that one sin was too much. Adam was judged for his sin and he was driven out of the Garden and away from the tree of life because of his sin.
The removal of the shoes was symbolic of removing that which is defiled. The shoes of man walk in many places. They step in many places. As a shepherd, Moses would likely step on the excrement of the sheep at times. As mentioned this was symbolic of the need for the heart of man to be cleansed in order to enter God’s presence.
Psalm 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:
The context here is of someone who is saved. The lost person will come to God filled with sin. God does not expect man to clean up his life before he can be saved. No man can do that. Those that are saved, have been cleansed through the blood of Jesus Christ. The saved person needs to confess sin committed after they have been saved in order to be forgiven and restored to right fellowship.
Moses needed to understand that he could not serve God in a compromised manner. The Bible is clear on that throughout. Jesus Christ came to this earth to go to the cross and shed His blood there and die there for our sins. He made it possible for all to be cleansed from sin.
II Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Galatians 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
God is a holy God. As we have noted already, no sin can enter His presence. We need to be holy people.
Leviticus 20:7 Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God.
I Peter 1:15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
No man can be holy on his own. The world has developed different self-help programs for those who desire to stop certain sinful habits. Yet they still have a sin nature and thus other sinful habits and they do not desire to get rid of them. The world also has “counsellors” who claim to know how to help people deal with different sins that they try to relabel so as not to offend the person.
Moses needed to remove his shoes. He was not told to wash them. He was told to remove them. Those shoes were symbolic of the defiled, worldly life. Moses was being prepared to stand before the Pharaoh and he was to be in the place of God before Pharaoh. He was not God. He did not become a god. However, God was going to work through him in such a way that the Pharaoh would have a fear of Moses and thus he would be protected from the wrath of the king.
Moses needed to understand that his life needed to be different. That difference needed to be built upon the true God Whom he knew in part and needed to know much better.
Matthew 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
We need to understand the significance of Jesus Christ’s coming to this earth. We need to understand the necessity of the cross and of the shed blood of the Saviour. For those who are saved, He is precious. He is the life giver. He is the life changer. There are many today who claim to be saved, but their lives have not been changed. They will even defend their sinful habits. That does not wash. No matter how many people will say it fits, God says no. I would rather listen to God than the many liars who are there to deceive the gullible. In the end all will stand before the Lord Jesus Christ. His eyes are described as like fire. He is holy and He knows every minute detail about us. It is a blessing to be able to come before the thrice holy God and to be welcomed into His presence because we have been cleansed through the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.