The Vision of the Burning Bush

 

In the Old Testament there are many visions relating to the chosen people of Israel. Through these visions, God reveals to us His plan for His chosen people, and also shows that His faithfulness and love do not change on account of factors such as personalities, time or circumstances.

 

In the old days God chose Abram, the forefather of Israel, and instructed him to leave his country, his people and his fatherˇ¦s household to go where the Lord directed him, and Abram obeyed and went out. Later, through his faith, Abram received the blessing of Melchizedek but refused the reward of the king of Sodom. He acknowledged the God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, as his God. (Genesis 14:22-23) So God bestowed further blessings upon him, telling him in a vision, ˇ§Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.ˇ¨ (Genesis 15:1) The Lord promised Abram that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky, and made a covenant with him. He revealed to Abram in a vision of a smoking firepot that his descendants would be strangers in a country not their own, and they would be enslaved and mistreated for four hundred years. But later they would be given the good and spacious land of Canaan as their inheritance. The promises of God to Abram have now come into being one by one, showing that the faithfulness and love of God has not left His chosen people.

 

Some years later Moses, who was similarly chosen by God, was mired in feelings of dejection and a lack of physical strength and ability. God chose him in a vision to go and see Pharaoh and bring the chosen people out of Egypt. ˇ§There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, ˇĄI will go over and see this strange sightˇXwhy the bush does not burn up.ˇ¦" (Exodus 3:2-3) This vision concerning the chosen people has several precious messages: (1) Suffering and persecution seared the chosen people of God like a blazing fire. The Egyptians used severe methods to oppress the Israelites and made them perform hard labour. Pharaoh ordered that their newborn male infants be killed as a policy of gradual genocide. (2) The thornbush was not burned up, indicating that the chosen people of God was not extinguished despite their many sufferings and persecutions because of the protection of the Lord. Just as Jeremiah said, ˇ§Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.ˇ¨ (Lamentations 3:22) (3) The attitude of the chosen people was like that of the thornbush, boastful and arrogant (Judges 9:14-15). The Bible always uses the grapevine and the fig tree to signify Israel, and the thornbush to signify the curse brought about by the sins of man (Genesis 3:18). From their deliverance out of Egypt to the destruction of the kingdom of Judah, the history of Israel has been page upon testimonial page of transgression, betrayal of grace, and the forsaking of God. Yet God still blessed them with preservation and protection.

 

This vision of the burning bush not just reveals to us the wonderful attributes of God. From the words of the Lord to Moses, we also learn of His unique name (Exodus 3:14) and the plan of salvation He had for His chosen people. God said, ˇ§So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey.ˇ¨ (Exodus 3:8) We can clearly see from history the protection and salvation that was bestowed by God upon the people of Israel from the time Moses saw the vision to the present day.

 

What is more, the faithfulness and love manifested by God upon the chosen people of the New Testament (The Church) will last forever. He personally took on bodily form to come to this world, becoming a Moses of the latter day, to die for us, deliver us from the curse and punishment of sin, and rescue us into the Kingdom of God.

 

ˇ§ˇ¦Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,ˇ¦ says the Lord, who has compassion on you.ˇ¨ (Isaiah 54:10)

 

By: Daniel To