An angel of the Lord appeared to [Moses] in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses though, “I will go over and see this strange sight – why the bush does not burn up.”
[The Lord said], “So now, go, I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”
But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”
Isn’t it great to see God show up to invite a fugitive murderer living in exile back into His Kingdom? Doesn’t it give you hope to know that if God can use a man hiding from justice, He can surely use you?
That’s a great thought, but don’t get so hung up on it that you miss this rather major point…
God called Moses to confront the most powerful man in the world and He actually expected him to go. Moses hesitated just a little, comparing his own importance to that of Pharaoh. But God was right there, ready with a promise. I will be with you. AND… I have a sign for you.
Signs are always great, aren’t they? Signs give us confidence that God’s really speaking to us. Signs are physically visible markers of God’s Will. People have asked God for signs since the very beginning of time. In fact, in the Old Testament, Gideon wanted not just one, but two signs that God was calling him to fight the Midianites. In the New Testament, crowds of people were always wanting signs from Jesus.
It’s always easier to answer God’s Call when you can prove He’s actually behind what you think is a Call. But what do you do when the sign won’t come until after you’ve obeyed?
God told Moses this would be His sign… “When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”
He didn’t say, “When you have worshiped God on this mountain, you will bring the people out of Egypt.” Although that would have been a lot simpler, wouldn’t it?
God called Moses and promised to send a sign so that he could be certain it was God sending him. But, the sign wouldn’t come until after the people had left Egypt. Moses was supposed to confront Pharaoh and send plagues and rally the people and outrun armies and win battles and THEN he would stand on a mountain and get a sign that he wasn’t just completely crazy after all.
If Moses had waited for the mountaintop experience, the Israelites would have continued to die in slavery. Sometimes you have to step up to the plate and answer God’s Call without any “proof” you can show anyone else.
Your mountaintop experience is coming…
But obedience comes before the sign.