God got Moses’ attention when he was living in Midian as a shepherd, far removed from the splendor and glory he had known in Egypt. For 40 years, he had lived this humble existence. His life had been reduced to a predictable and routine stability, tending the flocks, looking forward to the ease and comfort of retirement. No one had bothered him, not even God.

Then one day, Moses got a wake-up call. He saw a bush burning, but it wasn’t so much that the bush was burning, it was that the bush did not burn up.

What can we learn from Moses’ experience?

God Often Appears When We Are at Our Lowest
Moses was 80 years old, living in the desert, working for his father-in-law as a shepherd, a role usually reserved for young boys. He was about as low as anyone could go. He was about as far removed from civilization as anyone could be. He was about as broken as anyone has ever been. He was about as lonely as anyone could imagine.

In the movie The Hiding Place, one scene portrays Corrie Ten Boom telling the Lord she wants Him to use her in whatever way He pleases, even if it means in obscurity. Soon after that, she is taken prisoner by the Nazis, along with her father, from whom she is separated. Her father dies in the death camp, and she is forcibly removed from her beloved sister. The Nazis shove Corrie into a cold, damp cell in Germany. As the scene closes, she is lying in a corner, shivering. With tear-filled eyes, she whispers to the Lord, “But God, I didn’t know I would have to be alone.”

If you find yourself in a desert, don’t curse the desert. Instead, look for God. When you feel low, broken and alone, it may be God’s burning bush in your life. He is using your wilderness experience to get your attention.

When God Appears, Give Him Your Undivided Attention
If the president appeared, we would stand. If a long lost friend showed up, we would hug him or her. If a stranger showed up, we would introduce ourselves. There are proper responses to most every person we meet. What is the proper response when God shows up in our lives?

This text gives us a clue. Moses walked toward the burning bush, and God spoke to him, “Moses, Moses.” Moses said, “It’s me.” God said, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground” (Ex. 3:5, NIV). Taking off his shoes reflected a common attitude in the presence of that which is holy and remains a custom upon entering a mosque or other holy place in the East today.

For Moses, this was a holy moment and a holy place. It was an intimate moment so precious that God wanted nothing between Moses and Himself. God did not want any unconfessed sin. Moses’ sandals represented those things in Moses’ life that were unclean. God wanted Moses to slow down. God wanted Moses to think about Him more than his comfort.

A great tragedy in our Western culture is that we fail to give God our undivided attention. We place our own comfort and desires before God. We always are running and never taking the time to be still in God’s presence.

God Gets Our Attention for a Reason
God had seen the misery of His people in Egypt. He wanted someone to request their release from the Egyptian Pharaoh. He wanted someone who knew Egyptian culture, language, policy, law and mindset. Who was better to handle that task than Moses? God got Moses’ attention to call him into service to lead the children of Israel out of slavery and into the Promised Land.

God gets our attention because He has something He wants us to do. He always calls us to action. What is God calling you to do? If you are similar to Moses, think about your situation: You are in the desert, and God has got your attention. Now what would God have you to do? 

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