Exodus 3* God appears to Moses in a burning bush. (1-6) God sends Mosesto deliver Israel. (7-10) The name Jehovah. (11-15) Thedeliverance of the Israelites promised. (16-22)1-6 The years of the life of Moses are divided into threeforties; the first forty he spent as a prince in Pharaoh'scourt, the second as a shepherd in Midian, the third as a kingin Jeshurun. How changeable is the life of man! The firstappearance of God to Moses, found him tending sheep. This seemsa poor employment for a man of his parts and education, yet herests satisfied with it; and thus learns meekness andcontentment, for which he is more noted in sacred writ, than forall his learning. Satan loves to find us idle; God is pleasedwhen he finds us employed. Being alone, is a good friend to ourcommunion with God. To his great surprise, Moses saw a bushburning without fire to kindle it. The bush burned, and yet didnot burn away; an emblem of the church in bondage in Egypt. Andit fitly reminds us of the church in every age, under itsseverest persecutions kept by the presence of God from beingdestroyed. Fire is an emblem, in Scripture, of the Divineholiness and justice, also of the afflictions and trials withwhich God proves and purifies his people, and even of thatbaptism of the Holy Ghost, by which sinful affections areconsumed, and the soul changed into the Divine nature and image.God gave Moses a gracious call, to which he returned a readyanswer. Those that would have communion with God, must attendupon him in the ordinances wherein he is pleased to manifesthimself and his glory, though it be in a bush. Putting off theshoe was a token of respect and submission. We ought to drawnigh to God with a solemn pause and preparation, carefullyavoiding every thing that looks light and rude, and unbecominghis service. God does not say, I was the God of Abraham, Isaac,and Jacob, but I am. The patriarchs still live, so many yearsafter their bodies have been in the grave. No length of time canseparate the souls of the just from their Maker. By this, Godinstructed Moses as to another world, and strengthened hisbelief of a future state. Thus it is interpreted by our LordJesus, who, from hence, proves that the dead are raised, #Lu20:37|. Moses hid his face, as if both ashamed and afraid tolook upon God. The more we see of God, and his grace, andcovenant love, the more cause we shall see to worship him withreverence and godly fear. 7-10 God notices the afflictions of Israel. Their sorrows; eventhe secret sorrows of God's people are known to him. Their cry;God hears the cries of his afflicted people. The oppression theyendured; the highest and greatest of their oppressors are notabove him. God promises speedy deliverance by methods out of thecommon ways of providence. Those whom God, by his grace,delivers out of a spiritual Egypt, he will bring to a heavenlyCanaan. 11-15 Formerly Moses thought himself able to deliver Israel,and set himself to the work too hastily. Now, when the fittestperson on earth for it, he knows his own weakness. This was theeffect of more knowledge of God and of himself. Formerly,self-confidence mingled with strong faith and great zeal, nowsinful distrust of God crept in under the garb of humility; sodefective are the strongest graces and the best duties of themost eminent saints. But all objections are answered in,Certainly I will be with thee. That is enough. Two names Godwould now be known by. A name that denotes what he is inhimself, I AM THAT I AM. This explains his name Jehovah, andsignifies, 1. That he is self-existent: he has his being ofhimself. 2. That he is eternal and unchangeable, and always thesame, yesterday, to-day, and for ever. 3. That he isincomprehensible; we cannot by searching find him out: this namechecks all bold and curious inquiries concerning God. 4. That heis faithful and true to all his promises, unchangeable in hisword as well as in his nature; let Israel know this, I AM hathsent me unto you. I am, and there is none else besides me. Allelse have their being from God, and are wholly dependent uponhim. Also, here is a name that denotes what God is to hispeople. The Lord God of your fathers sent me unto you. Mosesmust revive among them the religion of their fathers, which wasalmost lost; and then they might expect the speedy performanceof 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 hewould make them willing in this day of power. As to Pharaoh,Moses is here told that petitions and persuasions, and humblecomplaints, would not prevail with him; nor a mighty handstretched out in signs and wonders. But those will certainly bebroken by the power of God's hand, who will not bow to the powerof his word. Pharaoh's people should furnish Israel with richesat their departure. In Pharaoh's tyranny and Israel'soppression, we see the miserable, abject state of sinners.However galling the yoke, they drudge on till the Lord sendsredemption. With the invitations of the gospel, God sends theteaching of his Spirit. Thus are men made willing to seek and tostrive for deliverance. Satan loses his power to hold them, theycome forth with all they have and are, and apply all to theglory of God and the service of his church.
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