Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. Then Moses said, ‘I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.’ When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, ‘Moses, Moses!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ Then he said, ‘Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.’ He said further, ‘I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.
Then the Lord said, ‘I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them. So come, I will send 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?’ He said, ‘I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.’
When Moses approaches the burning bush, I doubt he had considered that his whole world was about change.
God has seen how oppressed the Hebrew people have become and has chosen Moses to go and challenge the oppressor and bring liberation for a whole group of people. God always sides with the oppressed and calls each of us to do the same. This isn’t easy work, God doesn’t lie to us and claim it will be easy, God does stand with us, teach us, equip us and empower us to call out oppressive structures.
For some, this comes in a single burning bush moment, but for others it is a drip-drip effect. Neither is better than the other, they are just different. This passage reminds us that God calls each of us to make a stand against oppression, and when we are called, we often don’t think we are the right person, or that we have the right skills, enough smartness, the right words…the list can go on, and you will know what that “not ready/right for the job” thing is for you. But here’s the clincher, God already knows you are exactly the right person to break the oppressive chains you have been called to break and if you don’t have the “right stuff” right now, you will gain the “right stuff” as you work for God to bring liberation.
So I encourage you, in our world that has changed dramatically this year, keep standing with God to break oppressive practices and systems even if you don’t know how you are going to do it yet. Embrace the burning bush, and the drip-drip that is God’s call, and remember God is with you as you stand up for those who cry out to God for liberation.
Great God, we thank you for having a heart for those who are most vulnerable and oppressed. Light the fire of righteousness in us to hear your call to come alongside those who are suffering and help break the chains of oppression knowing you are with us always. Amen.