Lesson for Sept. 5, 2010: God Calls Moses (Exodus 3:1-6, 13-15)

This week’s treatment of the International Sunday School Lesson (for September 5) is written by Earl Winfrey, senior minister with Calvary Christian Church in Paris, Kentucky.

God Calls Moses (Exodus 3:1-6, 13-15)

By Earl Winfrey

Moses and the burning bush is a popular event that has been acted out many times over the years. From Vacation Bible School to the movie screen, the burning bush is included in nearly every depiction of the Exodus. Why is that scene so important? It is when Moses receives the call from God to deliver the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.

This event happened thousands of years ago, so what significance does it have for us today? We see God calling Moses to service. We also see God’s calling was not a spur-of-the-moment decision, but something he had been grooming Moses for since the beginning of his life. In the same way, we receive a call from God as a result of lifelong preparation. God has a specific purpose for which he has been grooming each of us, and when the time comes for him to reveal it, each of us will have a burning bush moment in our life.

The Timing of God’s Call

It is important to note that God calls Moses at a time when Moses could be the most effective. Exodus 2:11-15 tells us Pharaoh wanted to kill Moses for murdering an Egyptian. Later in the chapter we learn that Pharaoh died, making it safer for Moses to return to Egypt.

We also receive our call at just the right time. How often do we rush into something and end up failing because we ran ahead of God? How many times have we decided to go in a different direction because we did not have the patience to wait for him? Timing is important when it comes to the call of God, and this is apparent in the fact that Moses was called to action late in his life.

The Preparation of God’s Call

I mentioned earlier that God grooms us for his call. In Exodus 3:1, we see that Moses was tending the flocks when he found the burning bush. This indicates he was a shepherd. Tending sheep was preparing Moses for the greater task of shepherding the Israelites. Growing up in Pharaoh’s household gave Moses the opportunity to learn the ways of the Egyptians. It also afforded him access to Pharaoh when the time came to deliver the Israelites. Moses was fully prepared to accomplish that which he was called to do because his life was leading up to the Exodus.

The Rules of God’s Call

As Moses approached the burning bush, God established the rules. Moses was told to remove his sandals because he was standing on holy ground. When God calls, he grabs our attention in a way that leaves no doubt who is calling. In Moses’ case, the burning bush caught his attention, but being called by name convinced him the voice was God’s. When the voice introduced himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Moses knew his life would never be the same.

The Promise of God’s Call

God never calls people to a task and then deserts them. God is always there to make sure his will is carried out; and with Moses, this is evident in Exodus 3:13-15. Moses struggled with the thought of approaching the Israelites, so he asked God to give him something to say to prove the authenticity of his charge.

God told Moses to say that “I AM” sent him, which seems a bit strange to us. But “I AM” is the description the Israelites had for God. “I AM” means God is timeless. He has always been, and he will always be, so he transcends all generations. By declaring that “I AM” sent him, Moses reassured the Israelites that God heard their cries, and that Moses was the one sent to deliver them from Egypt.

Moses accepted God’s call and the Israelites were saved. God was there during the confrontation with Pharaoh, and Moses was fully prepared to act on God’s behalf. This is how it is when God calls us to service. God prepares us for his purpose; he gets our attention and lays out the rules, and he promises to be with us every step of the way.

So what have you been called to do? Think about your path through life, and you will see a pattern forming that could lead to a call of service to God.


*All Scripture references are from the New International Version, unless otherwise indicated.

Aug. 30: Luke 20:34-40
Aug. 31: Numbers 23:18-26
Sept. 1: Psalm 62:5-12
Sept. 2: John 3:31-36
Sept. 3: Exodus 3:7-12
Sept. 4: Exodus 3:16-22
Sept. 5: Exodus 3:1-6, 13-15

ABOUT THE LESSON WRITER: Earl Winfrey serves as senior minister with Calvary Christian Church in Paris, Kentucky (www.calvaryparis.org). He is pursing a MDiv at Cincinnati (OH) Christian University.

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