From Desolation to Consecration
In Exodus chapter 3, we find the familiar passage of Moses and the burning bush. What strikes me most about this passage is that God chooses the lowest point in Moses' life to consecrate him and set him apart for God's divine purposes, thus the title From Desolation to Consecration. Allow me to explain:
Prior to this "burning bush" moment, the people of Israel had been enslaved in Egypt and still are. Moses had fled from Egypt to Midian after attacking and killing an Egyptian man that was beating a Hebrew. In chapter 3, we find Moses tending the sheep of His father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian. Moses had been doing this same work for 40 years. For an individual that had grown up in Pharoah's courts, this was poor employment, but Moses humbly did it.
At the opening of the chapter, we are told that Moses had taken the flock over to mount Horeb. Interestingly enough, Horeb means desolation. It is here on this mountain that God speaks to Moses through his burning bush encounter. It is incredible how God will use our greatest moments of despair, hurt and pain to draw us closer to Him and to speak His life, His love, His destiny and His promises over us.
When Moses notices the burning bush and turns to look, God calls Him by name, saying "Moses! Moses!" God will use our lowest moments to help us to turn to him and to put our full trust in Him. Although we may feel like we have lost sight of our purpose and or calling at times, God knows our true identity in Him. He knows who He has made us to be and He calls us by name.
In Moses' place of desolation, God brings consecration, a dedication to His divine purposes. God speaks to Moses saying, "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground...I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob..." Concerning the Israelites He says, "I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egpytians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey-the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go, I am sending you to Pharoah to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt" (3:5-6, 8-10). Moses is God's chosen agent of deliverance for the Israelite people.
There are a few things I love about this passage. It is clear that God hears the cries of His people. He sees their pain and knows their anguish. He sees how they are being oppressed and He has compassion for them. There is not one tear that you have cried that has gone unnoticed. There is not one prayer that you have prayed that God has ignored. You can be sure that He is concerned with all the matters of your life, both big and small.
Secondly, it is clear from this passage that God never forgets His promises to His people. By referring to Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, God remembers His promises of old to establish Israel as a great nation and to give them a land of their own. It may not always happen the way we planned or according to our timing, but God never forgets His promises to us.
Lastly, this passage highlights the fact that we serve a God that loves to write us into His story. Could God have delivered the Israelites on His own? Absolutely. Instead, God chose to use Moses, a humble shepherd, as His chosen agent of deliverance because God loves to partner with people to accomplish His purposes. Historically and biblically speaking, He seems to love to use those of us who seem the least qualified and the most messed up. After all, Moses was a murderer! I love that about God. He uses us in our weakness to shine through in His strength.
Consider this for a moment. You are God's chosen agent of transformation for your family, friends and community. God's desire is to use you as His vessel to bring His message of hope and redemption to all those who are broken and hurt around you. Are you in your lowest moment? Are you in the place of desolation? He is calling you. It has little to do with who you are and everything to do with who He is in you. Great are the purposes and plans He has for you (Jer. 29:11) and He is faithful to bring to completion the great work that He has begun in you (Phil. 1:6).
Turn towards His voice. Do you hear him calling your name?