The Prayer-Filled Life: On Fire But Not Consumed

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June 20, 2018

Exodus 3:4-10

When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”

And Moses said, “Here I am.”

5 “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” 6 Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

7 The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians 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. 9 And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them.

10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

CONSIDER THIS

And Moses said, “Here I am.”

Maybe you’ve heard the lines of the old hymn, When the Roll is Called Up Yonder I’ll be there. I think the bigger question asked by the Bible concerns who will respond when the roll is called down here.

Moses responded in good biblical form: “Here I am.”

A reader wrote me recently to say they now begin their prayer time in the morning by saying, “Here I am,” and close with “But if not.” Love that.

Today’s text fascinates on so many levels. First, note the way God speaks.

I am the God of your father . . . I have indeed seen . . . I have heard . . . I am concerned . . . I have come down . . . to rescue them . . . to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, . . . 

So far, it sounds like we’re about to get a show of Divine proportions. God is about to take the stage and save the day. Then in a stunning turn of dialogue, God says this:

So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

All this about God’s power and what God is going to do to rescue his people and bring down the most powerful nation on the planet and then this:

So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

God chooses an aging sheep herder as his ambassador to the most powerful man on Earth. As my twelve year old son, Sam, might say, “What the what?!

Tomorrow we will get into the prayerful negotiation between Moses and God. Before ending I want to reach back a verse prior to where today’s text begins.

Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 3 So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” Exodus 3:2-3

A bush on fire in the desert was probably not that big a deal. A bush on fire that is not burning up—that merits the double-take. On fire but not consumed. This is an image of what God would do with Moses life.   Moses by himself: an uninteresting bush. Moses filled with the fullness of God: on fire but not consumed. Moses by himself: hardly worth noticing. Moses filled with the fullness of God: can’t look away.

This is the vision of the prayer-filled life, which is the Spirit-filled life: on fire but not consumed.

Old Testament extraordinary is New Testament normal. Consider Pentecost, tongues of fire resting on Galilean fishermen—on fire but not consumed. Paul said it well: But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Corinthians 4:7

THE PRAYER

Lord Jesus, you are right here, right now. Your presence is the secret. I don’t seek you for an answer. You are always the answer. Make of my life a luminous burning, a compelling vision of your presence, power and possibility. Right here, Jesus. Right now, Jesus. Amen.

THE QUESTIONS

  1. Put yourself in Moses shoes. What was this experience like for him?
  2. What do you make of the statement, “Old Testament extraordinary is New Testament normal.”
  3. Are you compelled by vision of becoming a person who is “on fire but not consumed?” What holds you back?

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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. jd.walt@seedbed.com.

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

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