Posted: 8/31/18 at 12:30pm. Column by Ed Jordan.
It was a hot, dusty day. The shepherd had been out minding his father-in-law’s sheep.
It was a tough job in a scorching desert, with scant vegetation or water. Maybe the shepherd was having a dialogue with himself, evaluating the progress of his life.
For 40 years he had been leading sheep through the same desert, and perhaps he was thinking that it was time for a change. After all, 40 years is a long time to babysit sheep.
This shepherd’s name was Moses. In the past, he had experienced the plush palace life of the Pharaoh of Egypt and had obtained the best education and training available anywhere in the world.
He also had seen a fellow Hebrew being beaten by an Egyptian taskmaster, and he rose up to deliver the oppressed one. It was not palace materialism that captured Moses’ heart; it was deliverance and freedom from bullies.
The next day, while trying to break up a fight between two Hebrews, Moses discovered that they knew he had killed an Egyptian the day before. So with that news, he realized that Pharaoh would also soon know then and try to kill him. Moses probably caught a midnight camel to Midian, far away from Egypt.
In Midian he sat down at a well to get some water and watched some young ladies draw water for their sheep. After the troughs were full of water, some bullies tried to drive them away so they could give the drawn water to their own animals.
Moses took on the bullies and ran them off, so the young ladies could water their animals. Moses later married one of those young ladies, and then spent the next 40 years caring for his father-in-law’s sheep.
One day while shepherding, Moses saw a bush burning; strangely, it was burning yet not being consumed (Ex. 3:2). He stopped, took notice, and then said: “… I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.” (Ex. 3:3 ESV).
The implication is that Moses was seeing something that he had never seen in 40 years of working the desert. It was a miracle—something beyond natural (thus supernatural), and the examination of it would lead Moses to a life-changing experience with God.
Moses had been working the same job for decades, but then along came God.
He had been an unknown shepherd working in isolation in the back side of an Arabian desert, but then along came God. His life was filled with routine and drudgery, but then along came God.
Today hundreds of thousands of people are wrestling with some of the same issues Moses was. So many live from day to day, feeling like insignificant cogs in a closed system full of monotonous wheels.
Many expend all their energy to gain material possessions that decay or are stolen. Some of the emptiest people are those who have achieved much human success, and yet are still longing for something more. Do you ever feel like that?
The good news is that God knows what we are going through (Ex. 3:7). He knows our pain and frustrations, knows what we are experiencing, and he comes down to make himself available to us.
To get our attention, he does something unusual on the edge of our daily lives. He wants us to stop for a moment, to notice him, and to turn aside to meet and dialogue with him.
The attention getter in your life may not be something as unusual as a burning bush that burns without being consumed. It is more likely just something that God uses to draw your attention towards it, so that you’ll take the time to turn aside and talk with him about your life.
Moses turned aside to meet God, and God changed his life in amazing ways.
Moses went from obscurity to becoming a world leader, from cowering in fear while hiding from Pharaoh to boldly walking in to confront him.
Moses went from a stuttering speaker to a powerful voice for God.
He saw God do miracles through his life and deliver hundreds of thousands of people from a life of enslavement to a new life where they would one day have their own homes, vineyards, and crops.
I encourage you to keep your eyes open this next week. Look for unusual happenings—perhaps on the edges of your life—where God is trying to get your attention and have a meeting with you. Our lives can dramatically change when God comes along.