SCRIPTURE: Exodus 3:1-12
Moses at the Burning Bush
3 Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. 3 Then Moses said, “I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.” 4 When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” 5 Then he said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” 6 He said further, “I am the God of your 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 at God.
7 Then the Lord said, “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, 8 and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 9 The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them. 10 So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.” 11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” 12 He said, “I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.”
Matthew Henry reminds us that “The years of the life of Moses are remarkably divided into three forties: the first forty he spent as a prince in Pharaoh’s court, the second a shepherd in Midian, the third a king in Jeshurun; so changeable is the life of men, especially the life of good men. He had now finished his second forty, when he received his commission to bring Israel out of Egypt. Note, sometimes it is long before God calls his servants out of that work which of old he designed them for, and has been graciously preparing them for. Moses was born to be Israel’s deliverer, and yet not a word is said of it to him till he is eighty years of age.”
I had a colleague in seminary who was in his mid-sixties, while many of us were somewhere in our 20s or 30s. I asked him once about his call and if he had pushed back against it for many years, or if it had not come to him until this later time in his life. He assured me that it was not until this point in his life that he heard his call to work in God’s ministry. This was a man who lost his wife when his children were very young to a vicious disease and raised them on his own. Was God willing to wait for him to have his life more settled before calling him to ministry? Maybe. But what he told me he knew for sure was that God had called him according to God’s time.
Have you ever dismissed a feeling or pull towards something because of your age? Have you ever wondered if you were in fact, denying a call from God for some other purpose? What would it take for you to willingly accept a call from God into ministry without question or focus on your age or time in life?
God of all time, you call us to ministry in YOUR time, not necessarily according to some life plan we have put together. You have used people for your plans who have been young, like a boy who shared his lunch so that Jesus could feed the crowds, as well as though who have been older, like a certain ark builder from long, long ago. Help us to trust in you more fully when you call us to work in your ministry, knowing that you will journey alongside us no matter what. Amen.