This event, the bush that was aflame and did not become consumed, may serve as a picture and an example of the believer, who is captured by the fire of God’s Holy Spirit but not destroyed. But the story of the burning bush is not about a miraculous event. This story is about God revealing Himself to His first prophet: Moses.
Before all else, the Lord warns Moses: “Do not come closer,” and “the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Now, there is nothing inherently holy about any plot of earth, for its entirety has been cursed by the Fall. It is the presence of God which makes this spot holy, and Moses must tread lightly; the Lord does not tolerate sinful flesh, but in His mercy He cautions us to approach Him only upon His own terms. Indeed, Solomon tells us to “guard your steps when you go to the house of God,” and “do not be hasty to speak, and do not be impulsive to make a speech before God” (Eccl. 5:1-2). Along with this, Hebrews reads, “we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire” (Heb. 12:28-29). And Moses, by grace, responds appropriately to the Lord’s gracious warning: “Moses hid his face because he was afraid to look at God.”
Another characteristic revealed herein is the justice of God. He tells Moses two connected bits of information; first, He has heard the groanings of His people, He knows “about their suffering.” Second, He has “also seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them,” and has “come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians.” The Lord sees the unjust treatment of Israel committed by Egypt, and the time of rescue and retribution has come. But the Lord works according to His own time: long before, He had told Abraham that his descendants would be “enslaved and oppressed 400 years” (Gen. 15:13). Thus, God even arranges those days in our lives that are filled with grief and trouble; but He is just, and -as we have seen before – He shall work all things to a good end for His church.
We also see that the Lord will work in us and through us in spite of our weaknesses: Moses is afraid that the Israelites will not believe him and that Pharaoh will not hear him. But God is very clear, saying, “I will certainly be with you,” and “I will help you speak and I will teach you what to say.” More than this, the Lord controls all events and deeds in our lives, evidenced by the fact that He commands Moses to appeal to Pharaoh to allow Israel to leave, knowing full well that “the king of Egypt will not allow you to go.” This is more than knowledge of Pharaoh will do: the Lord purposed Pharaoh to disobey Moses so that He would “stretch out [His] hand and strike Egypt with all [His] miracles.” This is, in fact, further revelation of the sovereignty of God.
So much more is to be said about this astounding self-revelation of God. But I wish to conclude with this glorious thought: the Lord will never turn against His people to destroy them. Moses continually argued with His edict, and finally “the Lord’s anger burned against Moses.” But Moses was not destroyed. The Lord will discipline and will correct, and will be justly angered at the sin of His people; but, He shall never condemn us, for “we have an advocate with the Father – Jesus Christ the Righteous One” and “whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God – God remains in him and he in God” because “He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 Jn. 2:1, 4:15, 4:10). Rest in God’s love toward you.