- From the Editor -
“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. 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. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. 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. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God. And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.” (Exodus 3:1-10)
I want to talk to you about some Lessons from the Burning Bush. In this event we find Moses has fled from Egypt. He has found a wife. He has now been in obscurity for a long time. Nobody has seen anything of him. He’s in the lowly position of watching sheep. It seems that God calls a lot of those shepherds, people that really don’t have much public attention, people that really aren’t in the limelight, people that don’t have any great credentials. That’s the case that we have here.
When this event took place, it was a transformation in the life of Moses. This is where God revealed clearly His will. This is where God revealed Himself in an unusual way to this man called Moses, and gave him the direction he needed, his first real personal experience with God.
He was 80 years old at this time. “What are you trying to say preacher?” I’m telling you, you are never too old to surrender to the call of God. As a young man, you ought not to presume upon the grace of God. You ought never to procrastinate, but if you are 30 or 40 years old, or 60 years old and God extends a call, you need not shrink from the call because of your age.
The Bible tells us Moses was 80 years of age. Until now, he had operated by two basic things: number one, what his mother taught him before he was weaned and sent to Pharoah’s daughter’s house and, second, what God had put in his heart.
Acts 7:23 makes reference to when Moses came out of the house and then tried to do what God had already put in his heart, but he wasn’t in the position to get it done yet. It says, “And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel.” I wonder why that came into his heart? Where did that desire come from? Who put it into his heart? God was moving upon him at that point, but he wasn’t ready yet. He was still operating in the flesh. He hadn’t had his Pentecost yet. He hadn’t had his burning bush experience. When he set out to try to achieve the will of God in the flesh, it was a disaster, as we will learn.
Moses still had several handicaps at this point in his life. When he had the burning bush experience, he had a little bit of history, some experiences and things that were a hindrance. First of all, he had 40 years of Egyptian training. In Acts 7:22 it tells us, “And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians,...” That’s not a good thing. That is a hindrance. Because Jeremiah 10:2 says, “...Learn not the way of the heathen,...” The truth is, many folks God calls into the ministry have learned the way of the heathen. They have things that are obstacles to overcome, things they wish they had never known, never experienced.
Understand that innocence is better than conscience. The word conscience is con-science – with knowledge, and innocence is how God created man. When they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the only thing they knew before that was good. When they got knowledge, it corrupted them and they fell. Knowledge was a bad thing. We have all these people that have been educated beyond their intelligence and it seems to pull them into the quagmire. They get too smart to live by faith, too smart to take God at His Word, too smart to accept and act on the truth of the Bible. Instead they are always trying to figure out what God really meant.
Adam and Eve were created in innocence, and in Romans 16:19 Paul tells us, “...yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.” Wisdom is the ability to see things through the eyes of God. I am to be wise concerning things that are good, and simple concerning evil. “What does that mean? You wouldn’t want to be considered simple, would you? Yet God told you to be simple concerning evil. It means that if God says no, that’s good enough for me. I’m just going to be satisfied with that answer and be simple about it. If God said this is the way it is, I don’t need to know why, or how it got this way, or how it’s going to turn out. I just need to be simple concerning what God said is evil, and not get too well-versed in the heathen’s ideology and philosophy.
In Psalm 1:1 He said, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly,...” or the influence of the ungodly. If you do, you’ll find yourself standing in the way of sinners, and then you’ll degenerate to where you are sitting in the seat of the scornful, and think everybody else is dumb.
Moses had this obstacle in his life. He had Egyptian training. Not 12 years, but 40 years. He was learned, not in one area, but in all the wisdom of Egypt. My friend, that was a huge obstacle to overcome.
Then he had this kind of baggage. Acts 7:24 tells us that he smote an Egyptian and killed him and hid him in the sand. Uh oh! You mean God called him after he killed a man? You mean God could use a guy that had baggage, a guy that had something as bad as murder in his past?
I hear people talking about whether fallible men could give us a good translation. Three murderers gave us most of the original stuff. I reckon if God could use three murderers as penmen, He could use a bunch of other fallible men to give us something that can be trusted. If God could use Moses, who was guilty of murder -- and God didn’t sanction what he did by the way. He was misguided, even though his intentions were good. His motive that he was trying to achieve was good, but God never sanctioned what he did. God did forgive him, but he never sanctioned it.
The fact that God forgave him enabled God to use him. Somehow you and I always seem to get sidetracked in judging who is qualified to do this, that, and the other. There ain’t none of us qualified, folks, I hate to tell you. If it’s how good you are, there is not a one of us qualified to do anything for God. If God could forgive you, I reckon He could forgive the next guy. If He could put your sin as far as the east is from the west, bury it in the deepest sea, and put up a sign that says, “No Fishing” for you, I guess He could do that for somebody else, too.
God did that for Moses and used Moses in a marvelous way. When he killed the Egyptian, remember he was really trying to do what God had put in his heart. He understood in his heart that he was supposed to be the deliverer for these people of whom he was a part and had been separated from them. He understood that, but he didn’t really know how to go about it until the burning bush experience. This he did in the flesh.
In Romans 7:18 Paul said, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing:...” In light of that, good flesh is bad flesh. So if I try to do a good thing in the energy of the flesh and there is nothing good in my flesh, then it’s going to turn out bad when I operate in the flesh. It does not matter how good my motive was to start with.
Romans 8:7 tells us the problem. “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” He said the carnal mind doesn’t even have the capacity to submit to God. The carnal mind is not in harmony with the mind of God. The carnal mind is not submissive; it’s rebellious and self-exerting and self-exalting. It’s the answer to everything, it thinks. Moses had baggage in the form of past sins.
Moses also had another problem. He had been out of circulation, and we all know if God is going to use somebody they have to be real visible. They have to be important before God could use them. They have to come out of good lineage. Everybody has to know and they have to have some kind of past that is good. He had been out of circulation for 40 years. If he was still at Pharoah’s house, everybody would say, “Oh, sure, that guy can use his testimony.” He’s got a great testimony, out here watching sheep for 40 years. But God can do a work in a man’s heart and God can raise him to the level of the task. The fact is that God made Moses for the task and God was well able to use him, even though he had been out of circulation for 40 years watching sheep on the backside of the desert.
It seems that God is pretty excited about those kind of people. First Corinthians 1:27 talks about what God has chosen. “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.” He didn’t choose the wise. He chose the foolish. He didn’t choose the strong, but the weak. Do you understand when the Bible uses the word ‘choose’ or ‘chosen,’ the implication is that there were other options? To choose something means I prefer this. It’s not that I settled for it. God didn’t settle for the weak; God preferred the weak. God did not settle for the obscure; He preferred them. God wasn’t looking for a bunch of big shots to impress people. He was looking for somebody that was already a servant and surrendered that He could use. He raised this man up.
You’ll find similar things in Exodus 3:11. Moses didn’t say, “Do You know who I am?” He said, “Who am I? I’m a nobody.” God said, “Do you think I didn’t know that? That’s why I chose you, because you are a nobody.” God will reach down and take a nobody and use them for His glory, and everybody will marvel and know that it was God, not the man. Because that guy didn’t have what it took to accomplish this himself, no way. You’ll find it with Moses. You’ll find it with David. You’ll find it with even Saul, who went bad later, but he was hiding in the baggage, not flaunting himself. He was little in his own eyes. He pleaded his insufficiency and understood how badly he needed God. If we’d ever get somebody that knew how much they needed God again, we might have something.
Most folks are not going to try anything too big. If you are not going to try the impossible, you don’t need God. We’ve given up on the impossible and the supernatural. We are only interested in doing what we can do, and it ain’t much. Someone needs to decide that there is still a God and He’s not out of business. By the way, God usually puts people in obscurity for awhile and lets them serve and be humbled.
A guy called me and said, “I know who you ought to have in your National conference.” He named a good young man. I said, “No, I’m not going to do that. I don’t want to mess him up. His time will come. ” Lay hands suddenly on no man. Don’t get in too big a hurry to put him in the limelight, in some position where they are in danger of getting an inflated ego, because pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.
Remember Moses was 80 years of age, and he was just getting started. Abraham and Sarah were a little older than that when they got started. The fact is that Moses had a wife that really didn’t understand God’s standards. She got upset over the issue of circumcision that God required and said, “A bloody husband you are to me.” She really didn’t understand what God commanded. Why is this standard? Why do you have to do this? He could have said, “My wife won’t follow me, and I just can’t do it.” He did make all kinds of excuses, and it kind of made God angry after awhile. Let’s notice a few things that you and I need to get a grip on, lessons from the burning bush.
The Bush Still Burns
First of all, the bush still burns. I mean, God is still in business. Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” In Exodus 3:14 God instructed Moses to tell them, “...I AM hath sent me unto you.” In John 8:58 Jesus said, “...Before Abraham was, I am.” He’s in the eternal present. Nothing past, nothing future, He sees it all in one view and He’s ever present. Nothing has changed with God.
You say, “Well, you know this is 2019.” I’m glad you figured out what year it is. Do you really think that caught God by surprise, that it lasted this long? Do you think God said, “Oops, I didn’t know it was going to last this long. I only gave you enough Bible up to 2000. Sorry, folks, you’ll just have to wing it from here on in.” Nothing ever occurs to God. Nothing ever catches Him by surprise.
You say, “It’s the last days.” I don’t care what days it is. God has not changed. He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever. His character has not changed. His Book has not changed. His will has not changed. His power has not changed. The power of the Gospel has not changed. The glory of God hasn’t changed.
Furthermore, God’s methods have not changed. Whatever worked then works now. The problem is we stopped trying to win souls and started trying to market people in. I’m not opposed to somebody learning about leadership. I’ve got three volumes over there on leadership that are just Bible principles, but we go to these leadership conferences because we think we are going to beam them in and impress them with how slick and sharp and fancy we are about everything, but with no power of God and no prayer closet. We are going to do it a new way. You may gather a crowd the new way, but you won’t change them; in fact, they’ll change you. If you don’t get in the prayer closet and secure the power of God, if you don’t have a burning bush experience, and don’t have that walk with God, you can do anything you want. You can get a crowd as big as you like, but mark her down. You won’t change the crowd; they’ll change you. It’s just a matter of time. That’s the problem we face today.
The bush still burns. God is still revealing Himself to those who are willing to serve in obscurity on the backside of the desert.
God’s working didn’t end with Moses. In Joshua 1:2 God said, “Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise,...” He didn’t say, “Moses my servant is dead and it’s all over. Sorry, folks, he didn’t make it. You’re stuck.” No, God didn’t even hiccup when Moses died. I want you to know something, folks. God was getting along fine before Moses showed up. He was getting along fine before any of us showed up. He’ll get along fine, maybe better, long after we are gone and out of the way. It’s a miracle that God can use us and is willing to. I don’t mean some of us. I mean all of us. It is a miracle of God that He would use us.
In Joshua 1:5 the Lord promised, “...as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee:...” He said, “If you’ll just surrender like Moses did, everything I did for Moses I’ll do for you. As I was with him, I’ll be with you.”
Then He tells Joshua in Joshua 3:7, “And the Lord said unto Joshua, This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel,...” You are smart enough to know that when you look at something through a magnifier, it’s really no bigger than it was before. It just looks bigger. When God magnifies a man so that He can use him, he’s no bigger than he ever was. God just made him look bigger. When people tell you that you are bigger, don’t believe it. You may be under the magnifier, and you may genuinely look bigger, but you ain’t no bigger.
There were many bushes in the desert, but Moses didn’t stop and look at everyone, just the one that was on fire, just the one that burned and was not consumed.
It didn’t end with Elijah either. Because when Elijah was taken up, the mantle fell. Elisha picked it up and he, too, smote the waters and God did for Elisha what He had done for Elijah. As a matter of fact, He allowed Elisha twice as many miracles as Elijah, his mentor. It didn’t end there. In II Kings 2:14, when he smote the waters, God did the same thing for him as He had done for his mentor. Second Kings 2:15 says, “And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha...” I hate to tell you it wasn’t the spirit of Elijah; it was the Spirit of Almighty God. It is not the spirit of Elijah, or the spirit of Elisha that ignites the soul of a man and sets him aflame for God; it’s the Spirit of Almighty God, the Holy Spirit of God. Somebody that you and I need to get more acquainted with.
In Acts 4:8, we find Peter filled with the Holy Ghost. “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them...” It didn’t end in the Old Testament. No, God is still filling men, still setting them on fire. In Acts 13:9, “Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost,...”
You and I are commanded to be filled with the Spirit of God. “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;” (Ephesians 5:18) God never commands me in areas where I have no control. You can rest assured, if God commands you in an area, you have something to do with it. There is a part that you have to handle for it to come to pass, or He would never have commanded you in that area. He would have just taken care of it. We are commanded to be filled. I’m telling you the bush still burns. The fire of God has not gone out. The Holy Spirit of God is still filling and using men. He still sets people ablaze for God. He’s still looking for a vessel.
Do you know when the oil stayed? When he said, “Bring me yet a vessel,” and they said, “There is not a vessel to bring.” TWhy was the oil stayed? Because there is not another vessel. There is not anybody willing to surrender, no one willing to be set on fire for God.
We cry out, “Where is the Lord God of Elijah?” We cry out, “Where be all His miracles?” The Lord God of Elijah is waiting for an Elisha to come along and pick up the mantle. The miracles were the result of obedience, and God is waiting for somebody to be obedient and surrender and be dependent again.
The Fire Still Does Not Consume
Not only does the bush still burn, but the fire still doesn’t consume what it is manifested in. Oftentimes, we are afraid to surrender to God because it would destroy my life. It would consume my life. The Bible tells us in this passage of Scripture in Exodus 3:2, “...the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.” Do you know what God says about His servants, His preachers? In Hebrews 1:7, “...Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.”
Do you remember how John the Baptist was described in John 5:35? “He was a burning and a shining light:...” If there is no fire, no burning, there is no shining. The glory of God can’t be reflected if there is no fire, and God will not take and use my life without my willing surrender. The problem is that we are not willing to trust God. This guy, John the Baptist, was on fire for God. Some shrink away from consecration because they fear that the fire will consume their lives. Consecration simply means ‘to fill the hand’ of God. If I’m consecrated, I’ve lost my will in His. All of a sudden, I’m not trying to do something for God. I fill His hand so He can do something with me, so He can use me. Folks pray, “Oh, God, give me Your power so I can...” God said, “No, you don’t need My power so you can. I need your body and your life so I can.” You won’t want for power when you are sold out and surrendered to God. It won’t be a problem.
When Moses went up into the mount, it was because the children of Israel said, “Moses, you go up and see what God wants. We are scared of Him. You go up and talk to Him, and come back and tell us what He says.” Moses went up there and spent 40 days and 40 nights with God and got the law of God. When he came back down, he was aglow. You mean the fire didn’t consume him and the presence of God didn’t consume him when he sold out, when he gave himself to nothing but God. You mean it just brought him back aglow. The fire of God was emanating from his life.
We don’t need philosophers. We don’t need orators. We don’t need great pulpiteers. I’m not opposed to being a pulpiteer if you have that capacity, but without the power of God, without consecration, ‘all is vain unless the Spirit of the Holy One comes down,’ unless He ignites a man’s soul, unless He does a work, unless He sets him on fire to the glory of God.
There is the fire of the Word of God. I need to live in that Book. There is the fire of the Spirit of God. I need to know Him and be filled. There is the fire of revival and I desperately need that. Maybe you think you don’t, but some of us do. If we were what we ought to be, we’d be having a bigger impact. I don’t care what day and hour it is. If you and I were what we ought to be, we would have a bigger impact on this country.
In Luke 9:54-56 the Bible says, “And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.” We don’t need to pray down fire that consumes and destroys. We need to pray down fire that ignites and fills and empowers and emanates to a lost world so that you and I can truly let our light so shine, that they may see our good works, and glorify our Father which is in Heaven. If our good works only glorify us, then there is no fire of God. Something’s missing.
Mark 8:35 says, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.” Y“What does that mean?” That means the guy that fulfills his own ambition is wasting his life. The guy that will give up his ambition, surrender to fill the hand of God, allow God to use him for kindling to get the attention of a bunch of sinners. The person who does that will save his life, even though he gave it up.
Acts 4:13 talks about Peter and John as unlearned and ignorant men. When folks saw them, did they take knowledge of them that they had been to Bible college. No? They took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. Being with Jesus had done something to them, made a noticable difference, kind of like there was with Moses when he came down from the mount after 40 days with God. In Matthew 5:16, we are commanded. “Let your light so shine...” I’ve got to have light first to be a light in this world.
Tom Malone told this story of speaking many years ago with A.W. Tozer at Winona Lake. He came into the cafeteria area and sat down across from Tozer. Dr. Malone was a young man at the time, struggling in his church building. He said to A.W. Tozer, “I need some insight. I need you to tell me how to get my church going. I just can’t seem to get it going.”
A.W. Tozer looked at him and asked, “Son, do you want to burn, or do you just want to shine?”
Let me ask you, “Do you want to burn, or do you just want to shine?” There are way too many peacocks that want to shine, but nobody seems to be willing to burn. If I’m going to shine and the glory of God be reflected, it will cause people to turn aside and see. If it’s going to be a great light and a great sight, I have to be willing to burn.
To see this great sight, I must still turn aside. Moses saw it at a distance, but to get up close and personal, he had to turn aside. I’m for soulwinning and sermon preparation and counseling, whatever you think you need to do, but too often the work comes ahead of the walk. Too often, we are too busy running about in circles chasing our tail and we have no time to spend with the Lord. We never turn aside.
I could name you four preachers who wrecked their lives and ministries, that I talked to after the fact. I asked, “How did this happen?” God, at one time, really used these guys, had His hand on them. Do you know what each of them said? “I got so busy with the ministry, and didn’t spend the time in prayer and Bible reading anymore for my own walk with God.”
God is not going to clamor for your attention, but everything else will. You must turn aside willingly. You have to choose to spend that time alone with God. You have to take time or it will never happen. Psalm 46:10 God says, “Be still, and know that I am God:...” Human fellowship is good, but the fellowship of God is better, and needful.
In Exodus 24:2, when God called Moses up into the mount He said, “And Moses alone shall come near the Lord:...” God wants everybody to come alone for communion and fellowship with Him. I understand Matthew 18:19, where He talks about spiritual warfare. “Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.” I’m not discounting the value of that. I’m just telling you, I have to have my personal walk with God. I have to get with God, take time to turn aside. We are too busy because we try to build the work ourselves. We try to do God’s work in the flesh, and there is no good thing in the flesh. We are going to make a mess of it unless we first secure His presence and His power and follow His plan.
In I Kings 19:9-12, you find Elijah alone in the cave. It wasn’t the strong wind, or the earthquake, or the fire, the miraculous and the fantastic. It was the still small voice of God. There is too much clamoring and some of us never shut up long enough to hear the voice of God. We have to turn aside.
Acts 1 tells us they spent 10 days praying and one day soulwinning and had 3000 saved and 3000 baptized. We spend 10 minutes praying and 10 days soulwinning, and have three saved and one baptized. When will we get it? We have to take time to turn aside. We are just way too busy for God.
In Mark 9, you find Peter, James, and John in a privileged situation in the Mount of Transfiguration with the Lord Jesus, where He was transfigured and revealed a part of His Person that nobody else had seen but them. God can show Himself to you in the mount, if you ever got there and stayed long enough, if you didn’t brush by Him in a hurry, if you didn’t come and put your order in and then run to fill it yourself.
Galatians 1:17 tells us that Paul had spent three years hiding in Arabia unseen, unknown, three years in obscurity with God. Moses was 40 years on the backside of the desert. In Luke 2:15, it was the shepherds abiding in the field that God revealed the birth of His Son to. If I’m going to see this great sight, I still have to turn aside.
To tread holy ground, I still have to loose the shoe. In Exodus 3:5, God said to Moses, “...Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.” The only thing that made the ground holy is the fact that God was there. The holy place is where you meet with God. The presence of God is what made it holy.
To loose the shoe has two or three implications.
Number one, it was an act of reverence. When God created Adam and Eve, how were they in the garden? They were naked all except for shoes, right? Their primary function was to live in the presence of God and walk with God in the cool of the day, and they were certainly treading holy ground in their walk with Him. God created them without shoes. That’s not the only instance.
In Matthew 4:10, the Bible makes it very clear that you and I are supposed to worship the Lord our God, and Him only we are to serve. God created man for His pleasure. “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” (Revelation 4:11)
Adam and Eve were naked in the garden, and they were made to worship. They didn’t need shoes to worship. They would have had to take them off anyway. Since they were supposed to spend all their time with God, there was no secular and sacred. They were to be worshippers all the time, be in communion with God all the time, so they didn’t have any shoes on.
The Old Testament priest, check it out in Exodus 28:3-4. Show me his shoes. According to Revelation 1:6, you and I are supposed to be kings and priests. We have a priesthood through Christ.
Remember Moses at the burning bush. God told him to put off his shoes. It had to do with a reverential acknowledgement of the presence of God. If you acknowledge a policeman, you’ll drive a little different. If you don’t acknowledge him, pretty soon he’ll acknowledge you!
As a kid, when I knew my dad was around, I behaved myself pretty good. (I didn’t get saved till I was 20 years old.) When my dad was around, I behaved real well. But there were times when he was around and I didn’t know it, and I wasn’t behaving very well. I didn’t acknowledge his presence. I wasn’t on my best behavior, and he was still watching.
When do you think it is God is not watching? Where have you ever been where God was not? Proverbs 3:6 says, “In all thy ways acknowledge him,...” To acknowledge Him, I must have some reverence in coming to God. “What are you getting at, preacher?” I really believe that we are too casual in our approach to God. I’m not talking about religious formality and hocus pocus. I’m talking about approaching God with reverence and awe and realization of Who it is we are privileged to come before. I’m talking about acknowledging His presence all the time. I’m talking about loosing the shoe in an acknowledgment to God’s presence and just who He is.
There is a second thing that it meant. When it came to the law of the goel, which had to do with the kinsman redeemer, if this kinsman redeemer could not redeem what was his brother’s, he would loose the shoe and hand it to somebody else. He was saying, “I can’t, but you can.” Some of us act like, “I can, but you can’t.” The fact that I can’t doesn’t mean that it can’t be done. He can, but I have to loose the shoe and acknowledge that.
In Joshua 5:13-15, when the captain of the Lord’s host showed up and Joshua said, “Whose side are you on?” He essentially said, “I didn’t come to take sides; I came to take charge. Loose your shoe from off your foot. You can’t, but I can.” Joshua commenced to getting his shoes off. Somewhere along the line, maybe you and I just need to come to the altar and put our shoe on the altar and say, “God, I can’t, but You can. I’ve been beating my head against the wall. I finally concluded I can’t, but I know You can. I put it in Your hands. I’m going to trust You with it. I’m going to surrender it to you. I quit trying to play God and do what it takes God to do.”
In the New Testament, to loose the shoe preceded cleansing. Cleansing preceded fellowship. In John 13:4-10, Jesus girded Himself to wash the disciples feet. Peter objected. “No, You won’t wash my feet.”
Jesus said, “If I wash thee not, thou shalt have no part with Me.”
Peter said, “Oh, not my feet only, but my hands and my head.”
He said, “He that is already washed, that’s taken care of once and for all. You just need some daily cleansing from the filth you pick up walking through the world. If you are going to have any part and fellowship with Me, you have to loose the shoe in confession and loose the shoe for cleansing. To be used of God and operate in His power, you have to conclude that you can’t, but I can. If you are ever going to be a true worshipper, you have to come with humility, loose the shoe, and quit being so casual in your approach.” Reverence for God.
I believe in making the Scriptures simple, but I’ve heard preaching that didn’t make it simple; it bordered on blasphemy because it was irreverence toward God. It created a lightness of thought toward Almighty God. That ought never to happen. Loose the shoe.
Loosing the shoe just means I have a desire for fellowship and I’m ready for cleansing and know I need it. It means I’ve come to the conclusion that I can’t, but He can. It means that I’m really trying to come with reverence into His presence, understanding that it’s a privilege to come into the presence of God, understanding that I am on holy ground. I’m afraid that is lacking today.
In verse 10, we learn that God is still using human deliverers. God told Moses what the dilemma was for His people, how they cried out, and how their taskmasters abused them, what their sorrows were. Then God said in Exodus 3:10, “Come now therefore, and I will send thee...” You say, “The world is really bad. Sinners are going to Hell. Things are getting more wicked.” God said, “Yes, I know. Come now and I will send thee.”
God is not done, folks. He’s still using people. According to Matthew 20, He’ll be using them till the last hour and calling people till the last hour. In that parable, He went out and got laborers before the workday started at 6:00 a.m. Then He went out the third hour of the day at 9:00 a.m. and hired more. Then He went out the sixth hour of the day at noon and hired more. Then He went out at the ninth hour of the day, three o’clock in the afternoon and hired more. Then He went out at the eleventh hour, five o’clock, with only one hour left in the work day.
God is still hiring laborers, still getting people to serve till the last hour. Tell me about what hour we live in. It’s more urgent now than ever. God’s calling people. Would somebody surrender? Would somebody loose the shoe? Would somebody turn aside and see this great sight? Would somebody consecrate, so God could set them on fire and use them to get glory to Himself?
The bush still burns. It hasn’t stopped. You don’t have to be afraid to surrender. The fire still doesn’t consume what it reveals itself in. You have to take time to turn aside. You have to loose the shoe. You are going to have to take what God says personally, because God intended to use you. “Come now and I will send thee.”