Exodus 3

* God appears to Moses in a burning bush. (1-6) God sends Moses

to deliver Israel. (7-10) The name Jehovah. (11-15) The

deliverance of the Israelites promised. (16-22)

1-6 The years of the life of Moses are divided into three

forties; the first forty he spent as a prince in Pharaoh's

court, the second as a shepherd in Midian, the third as a king

in Jeshurun. How changeable is the life of man! The first

appearance of God to Moses, found him tending sheep. This seems

a poor employment for a man of his parts and education, yet he

rests satisfied with it; and thus learns meekness and

contentment, for which he is more noted in sacred writ, than for

all his learning. Satan loves to find us idle; God is pleased

when he finds us employed. Being alone, is a good friend to our

communion with God. To his great surprise, Moses saw a bush

burning without fire to kindle it. The bush burned, and yet did

not burn away; an emblem of the church in bondage in Egypt. And

it fitly reminds us of the church in every age, under its

severest persecutions kept by the presence of God from being

destroyed. Fire is an emblem, in Scripture, of the Divine

holiness and justice, also of the afflictions and trials with

which God proves and purifies his people, and even of that

baptism of the Holy Ghost, by which sinful affections are

consumed, and the soul changed into the Divine nature and image.

God gave Moses a gracious call, to which he returned a ready

answer. Those that would have communion with God, must attend

upon him in the ordinances wherein he is pleased to manifest

himself and his glory, though it be in a bush. Putting off the

shoe was a token of respect and submission. We ought to draw

nigh to God with a solemn pause and preparation, carefully

avoiding every thing that looks light and rude, and unbecoming

his service. God does not say, I was the God of Abraham, Isaac,

and Jacob, but I am. The patriarchs still live, so many years

after their bodies have been in the grave. No length of time can

separate the souls of the just from their Maker. By this, God

instructed Moses as to another world, and strengthened his

belief of a future state. Thus it is interpreted by our Lord

Jesus, who, from hence, proves that the dead are raised, #Lu

20:37|. Moses hid his face, as if both ashamed and afraid to

look upon God. The more we see of God, and his grace, and

covenant love, the more cause we shall see to worship him with

reverence and godly fear.
7-10 God notices the afflictions of Israel. Their sorrows; even

the secret sorrows of God's people are known to him. Their cry;

God hears the cries of his afflicted people. The oppression they

endured; the highest and greatest of their oppressors are not

above him. God promises speedy deliverance by methods out of the

common ways of providence. Those whom God, by his grace,

delivers out of a spiritual Egypt, he will bring to a heavenly

Canaan.
11-15 Formerly Moses thought himself able to deliver Israel,

and set himself to the work too hastily. Now, when the fittest

person on earth for it, he knows his own weakness. This was the

effect of more knowledge of God and of himself. Formerly,

self-confidence mingled with strong faith and great zeal, now

sinful distrust of God crept in under the garb of humility; so

defective are the strongest graces and the best duties of the

most eminent saints. But all objections are answered in,

Certainly I will be with thee. That is enough. Two names God

would now be known by. A name that denotes what he is in

himself, I AM THAT I AM. This explains his name Jehovah, and

signifies, 1. That he is self-existent: he has his being of

himself. 2. That he is eternal and unchangeable, and always the

same, yesterday, to-day, and for ever. 3. That he is

incomprehensible; we cannot by searching find him out: this name

checks all bold and curious inquiries concerning God. 4. That he

is faithful and true to all his promises, unchangeable in his

word as well as in his nature; let Israel know this, I AM hath

sent me unto you. I am, and there is none else besides me. All

else have their being from God, and are wholly dependent upon

him. Also, here is a name that denotes what God is to his

people. The Lord God of your fathers sent me unto you. Moses

must revive among them the religion of their fathers, which was

almost lost; and then they might expect the speedy performance

of the promises made unto their fathers.
16-22 Moses' success with the elders of Israel would be good.

God, who, by his grace, inclines the heart, and opens the ear,

could say beforehand, They shall hearken to thy voice; for he

would make them willing in this day of power. As to Pharaoh,

Moses is here told that petitions and persuasions, and humble

complaints, would not prevail with him; nor a mighty hand

stretched out in signs and wonders. But those will certainly be

broken by the power of God's hand, who will not bow to the power

of his word. Pharaoh's people should furnish Israel with riches

at their departure. In Pharaoh's tyranny and Israel's

oppression, we see the miserable, abject state of sinners.

However galling the yoke, they drudge on till the Lord sends

redemption. With the invitations of the gospel, God sends the

teaching of his Spirit. Thus are men made willing to seek and to

strive for deliverance. Satan loses his power to hold them, they

come forth with all they have and are, and apply all to the

glory of God and the service of his church.
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