Acts 7:30 “After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai.”
Moses was 40 years old when he fled Egypt to Midian after killing the Egyptian. He was sitting by the well when Jethro’s 7 daughters came with their sheep. They had problems with some other shepherds but Moses came to their rescue. Moses later married one of Jethro’s daughters and spent another 40 years tending Jethro’s flock. And now as he was leading his flock out in the far side of the desert near Horeb, the mountain of God, he encountered the bush that was on fire but did not burn up.
Moses was 80 years old when this happened. Over the years I wonder if Moses ever thought about what might have been. What if he hadn’t impulsively killed the Egyptian who had been beating an Israelite? What might he have accomplished with his life? He probably thought that now he would just have a family, tend Jethro’s sheep and die in the desert. But God had other plans for this ‘young’ man.
Moses sees the bush on fire and is intrigued that it isn’t burning up. So he decides to go over and see this strange sight. One of the most fascinating and stimulating verses to me in the Bible is involved in this event. It is Exodus 3:4, “When the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush…”
Think about it – what might have happened – or not happened – if Moses hadn’t turned aside to look. God did something powerful to capture Moses’ attention. He inserted this powerful event into the normal daily course of Moses’ life – but then Moses had to respond to it – he had to turn aside.
One way of thinking of this event in terms of how it impacts us today, is the expression, “Opportunity knocks.” Do we have ears to hear its sound? Do we have eyes to see the ‘faith’ opportunities that God provides that typically aren’t directly in front of us, but they’re ‘off to the side’. When we see them with the eyes of faith, we are intrigued and we turn aside to see.
Such opportunities might be easily missed and we might have to interrupt our plans to respond. But when we ‘turn aside’ we encounter God given opportunities to be used by Him to accomplish things He has planned for us. Afterward, it is not unusual to be thrilled with what happened and to have this thought running through our minds, ‘We could have missed this if we hadn’t turned aside!’