Aside from Jesus, the greatest leader in world history was a man who led a congregation of three million people for forty years across the
desert from Egypt to the borders of the Promised Land. Moses was given this task and he carried it out remarkably well. And when Moses died
at age of one hundred and twenty, scripture tells us his sight wasn't dimmed and his strength wasn't diminished.
The life of Moses can literally be divided up into three, forty-year segments. In his first forty years, Moses became somebody. Adopted by
Rameses II, he was educated by the best scholars of Egypt, became a military hero, and was in line to become the next Pharaoh of the
Egyptian empire. For the next forty years, Moses was a nobody. Why, because at the age of forty, after killing an Egyptian taskmaster, he fled
for his life to the desert. In his last forty years, we read of God reaching out to Moses, causing his final forty years to be spent as a model for
everybody.
How did God get Moses attention? He used a bush. A thorny, dried out bush. Now in my thinking, if the Lord was going to talk to Moses, He
would have used mighty oak tree, one that is strong and sturdy. Or maybe He would have used a majestic pine tree, one that is tall and
stately. Or why not use a fragrant cedar smelling sweetly. But the Lord didn't use any of those. He used a thorny bush.
According to botanists, thorns are basically aborted branches. That is, they should have been branches, but just didn't get that far. So, here's
this bush in the desert. It's common, it's prickly, and even its attempts at growing branches were too weak to amount to anything. In other
words, it's kind of like me. And maybe you sort of feel like that. Maybe you feel like an old bush. But you know what, the Lord loves to use
bushes just like you and me. Too often we get caught up believing that God only uses mighty men, or noble men. But God hath chosen the
foolish things of the world to confound the wise. God uses the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty. God uses the
weak things of the world, those things that are despised. Why? God uses them so that no flesh should glory in His presence. God chooses
those who are bushes, those who are bush-league, those who feel bushed because when He uses a bush, all of the glory goes to Him.
Why does God reserve all glory for Himself? Because He knows that if He shares His glory with you and people start to look up to you,
become impressed with us, every one of us will ultimately disappoint them. Therefore, He says, "I alone will receive glory because I alone will
never disappoint anyone who looks to Me, who trusts in Me, who leans on Me." Only God is solid and stable enough to see us through day
after year after decade on through eternity. That is why God uses bushes, common people like you and me in order that He alone receives
praise.
Exodus 3:1-2 reads:
"Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the
mountain of God, even to Horeb. And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked,
and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed."
The story of Moses continues that he is on the backside of the desert day after week after month after year. Decades go by. And then
something happens. Among the many bushes in the wilderness, one burns brightly without being consumed, causing Moses to eventually
realize that the Lord was with him.
Question for you to think about. Where is God tonight in your life? He very well could be that bush sitting next to you. "That prickly person"
you might ask? Yes, God is there in the person sitting next to you, or the person you're married to, or the person you work with. Oh yeah, you
might protest and say: "Wait a minute, the Lord certainly can't speak through my husband, my parents, my boss. They're not on fire." Oh, but
there's what you need to see. The bush that caught Moses attention was not on fire. The fire was in the bush. You might think people around
you aren't on fire and that may be true. But if they're believers, there is fire in them.
Think about Jesus. Although Jesus did mighty works in Capernaum, there were those who scoffed and said, "We know him. He's the son of
the carpenter. Aren't his brothers and sisters among us?" (Matthew 13). They thought He was the son of a carpenter, failing to realize He was
the Son of the Creator.
In Mark 6, the disciples are toiling; the waves are mounting; the wind is howling. And in the middle of the night, they see Someone walking
towards them. And the legend of the day said that right before fishermen drowned, they saw a spirit coming towards them. No wonder their
fear was rising. "It's a ghost!" the disciples cried-until Jesus said, "Be of good cheer. It is I."
As two disciples walked towards Emmaus, they were joined by One who asked them why they were so sad. "Are you a stranger here?" they
askedů., not recognizing it was Jesus Himself who walked beside them (Luke 24).
Finding the tomb empty that Easter morning, Mary Magdalene wept. Seeing a Man she supposed to be the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you
have moved the body, tell me where you have taken Him." But when the "gardener" answered and spoke her name, she recognized Him for
who He was (John 20).
Jesus dwells with us in the carpenter's son, in those we think we know. He speaks to us through people that may frighten us as they dare to
rattle the bars of our beliefs. He reaches out to us through strangers walking alongside us. He speaks to us through gardeners, through
plumbers, through those who work beside us, and even for us, is some cases. Now, they might not be on fire, but the fire is in them, and the
Lord can use them as easily, as powerfully, as surprisingly as He can use a common, everyday bush like you.
Think about this for a moment. Bushes burning in the desert are common. Lightning bolts strike them and they ignite. Nomads burn them to
keep warm at night. Moses, assuming lightning had struck the bush, or that it was simply the remnant of a campfire, could have easily walked
right by. But he didn't. He stopped long enough to notice this bush was different, that it was not being consumed.
The problem with too many of us too much of the time is that we don't stop long enough to ponder the bushes around us. We're usually in
such a hurry that we don't take the time to say, "Maybe my dad, or my mom, has the Word of the Lord for me today. Maybe this stranger in my
life is being used to speak to me in some way. Maybe my son or daughter has a word from the Lord for me this morning. I'd better
investigate."
I'm convinced we miss many things the Lord would say, many directions He would give, many blessings He would bestow on us because we
hurriedly walk right by.
The Lord wants to guide, direct, and bless us if we'll simply take the time to stop and check out the bush sitting right beside us. May we be
those who have eyes that see, ears that hear, and feet that stop in order that we might receive illumination and warmth from the bushes
surrounding us.


INSPIRATIONAL MESSAGE
WESTERN HILLS BAPTIST CHURCH
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