encountering God (Exodus 3:1-6)

Mount Horeb (a.k.a. Mount Sinai) was the very place from which Moses would later receive the Ten Commandments. If Monty Python is correct, there were originally 15 commandments on 3 tablets, but Moses dropped one, leaving 10. Humor notwithstanding, there are at least three truths about God revealed in this passage.

The first truth is that God is historical. He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, as well as of us. We can see his purpose unfolding through history, which can give us tremendous confidence in its veracity as well as our destiny.

The second truth is that God is personal. He revealed himself to Moses in the form of flames in a bush that did not burn up. While the text indicates that this was an appearance of the angel of the Lord, apparently all Moses could see were the flames. Otherwise, instead of saying, “I think I’ll go check out why this bush isn’t burning up,” he would more likely have said, “Hey, there’s an angel standing in that bush!” In any case, we ought to be open to personal encounters with God of our own, and we ought to remember that God himself is personal, albeit three persons in one.

The third truth is that God is holy. On this side of the cross, every place where we place our feet is holy ground being reclaimed for the kingdom of God. Being conscious of this will transform our character, our marriages, our families, our workplaces, and even our churches.

For the curious, an extensive discussion of the possible location of Mount Horeb (Sinai):
The argumentation here relies partially on some garbling in the biblical narrative. Evangelicals may find this troubling, but is important for us to maintain open minds. If the truth is on our side we have nothing to fear. I don’t presently have an opinion on this argumentation. See Barry Beitzel, Moody Atlas of Biblical Lands, for a reasoned survey of the large volume of scholarship available on the location of Horeb / Sinai from an evangelical perspective. His opinion is that Mt. Horeb was in the southern Sinai (the eastern portion of modern day Egypt). Another good resource is “Sinai, Mount”, The New Bible Dictionary, Marshall, Millard, Packe


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