Sometimes I don’t ask the most obvious questions until decades later. Like the burning bush. I’ve known the story of Moses and the burning bush since I was in Sunday school, but it wasn’t until recently that I asked, “Why a burning bush?” God could have spoken to Moses in a tornado or a dream or through a donkey, so why a fiery bush that didn’t burn up?
The more I pondered that question and reexamined the old story, the more I saw three truths: First, just like fire, God is dangerous. “‘Do not come any closer,’ God said. ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground’” (Exodus 3:5). You can’t just run into a fire without serious protection, just like you can’t run into God’s presence without the protecting blood of Jesus. Second, just like fire, God is life giving. “I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians” (Exodus 3:8). Just like the fiery sun gives us life, God’s rescuing hand gives us eternal life in his presence. Third, just like that bush, the eternal God doesn’t burn up. “God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am’” (Exodus 3:14). Our God isn’t “I Was” or “I Will Be for a Bit” but the always-around “I am.”
When God appeared to Moses that day, he wanted to stress three of the most important things in the universe. And while we haven’t seen the same miracle, the same God is here today—holy, life giving, with us always.