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1One day Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian. He led the flock far into the wilderness and came to Sinai, the mountain of God.
2There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush. Moses stared in amazement. Though the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn’t burn up.
3“This is amazing,” Moses said to himself. “Why isn’t that bush burning up? I must go see it.”
4When the Lord saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!” “Here I am!” Moses replied.
5“Do not come any closer,” the Lord warned. “Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground.
6I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” When Moses heard this, he covered his face because he was afraid to look at God.
7Then the Lord told him, “I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering.
8So I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and lead them out of Egypt into their own fertile and spacious land. It is a land flowing with milk and honey—the land where the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites now live.
9Look! The cry of the people of Israel has reached me, and I have seen how harshly the Egyptians abuse them.
10Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.”
11But Moses protested to God, “Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?”
12God answered, “I will be with you. And this is your sign that I am the one who has sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God at this very mountain.” (Exodus 3:1–12 NLT)
Do you know the calling of your life? Have you found out your lifetime calling?
Moses, the renown deliverer of the Hebrews, when he was young, he didn’t know the mission of his life. On a very unusual circumstance, God revealed to him his calling. Let’s review the story of Moses.
1) God Called Moses on Holy Ground (Exodus 3:5)
The Location of This Calling
Moses was the adopted son of an Egyptian princess. Although he had the privilege of growing up as an Egyptian prince, he knew his heritage as a Hebrew. One day, he saw an Egyptian bullying one of his kinsmen, out of rage, he killed that man. In order to cover up for his crime, Moses hid the body in the sand. Eventually, the Hebrew eyewitness leaked out the secret, and Pharaoh tried to kill Moses. And because of this, Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in the land of Midian. In a land of strangers, Moses became the son-in-law of a Midian priest. Sadly, from an exalted position as a prince, Moses was relegated to become a shepherd of his father-in-law’s flock. On a mundane day of keeping the sheep, Moses came to Sinai, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire coming out of a bush. By the way, the angel of the Lord might be God Himself that most theologians reckon this phenomenon as theophany. In short, it is a special appearance of God to Moses. Some scholars even see the angel of God as the pre-incarnate Son of God, Jesus Christ. Strangely, the bush was on fire, but it was not burning up. Out of curiosity, Moses went closer to the burning bush so that he could examine the strange phenomenon. Right there, the Lord appeared to Moses and called out his name.
Most Jobs Are Boring
If I told you that most jobs are boring, I am pretty certain that you would agree with me. For the sake of money and our survival, we have to work for a living. And because of that, we have to take up unexciting and repetitive jobs. Let me give you an example, data entry is pretty boring which doesn’t require special skills. Speaking from my experience, my eyes became dry and blurry after working on data entry for several hours. I guess you know what I mean!
Encountering God in Unexciting Circumstances
In situations that we don’t expect, God might come to meet us. Many years ago, after a normal Sunday service, while I was walking on the street, God spoke to my heart, calling me to serve Him as a pastor. As I am standing right here today, it’s a testament to my experience on that day.
The Calling on Holy Ground
Let’s go back to the story about Moses’ calling. As Moses tried to approach closer to the burning bush, God stopped him from coming nearer, and also commanded him to take off his sandals, because he was standing on holy ground. In this special encounter with Moses, God clearly stated His intent of saving the Israelites, and He called Moses to be the deliverer. Not only that, God chose Moses to become the worship leader so that his fellow compatriots could worship the one and only true God. As you can see, the salvation of a person links with worship as well.
In the past, God called tens of millions of Christians to do great things for Him, and He is still calling believers to do great things for Him today.
More than one hundred years ago, God called a young English lad by the name of Hudson Taylor to become a missionary. He left England for China when he was only 21 years old. Can you imagine God used a young man with limited financial resources and theological training to expand His Kingdom?
SIM, a mission organisation, was founded by two young Canadians and one American. God called them to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to Sudan, Africa. Walter Gowans, one of the Canadian missionaries, and Thomas Kent, the American missionary, died of complications in 1894. There is a moving story behind the death of the Canadian missionary. After the passing of two missionaries, the sole surviving missionary brought the few personal belongings of the late Canadian missionary to his mother. The brave Canadian mother met the missionary with extended hand. Then they stood in silence. Later, she told him that she would rather to have his son to die in Africa alone than to have him home today, disobeying his Lord.
God called His followers to serve Him and He is calling you to do great things too. He is calling you to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ to your family, relatives, friends and colleagues. God is calling you to lead a holy life so that more lives would be touched by your testimonies.
The Name of the Holy Ground
God called Horeb holy ground, and strangely, Horeb, means waste. The other name for it is Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:20), and these names were used in the Old Testament interchangeably. Mount Sinai could be originated from the moon god, Sin. Desert dwellers worshiped this deity. A point worthy to mention is that, Yahweh, the true God, even took the initiation to reveal Himself to Moses in a land of false god and desolation. God is above all things, and He would not be governed by any circumstances; moreover, in an unexpected situation, God came to meet Moses alone and changed the course of this young Hebrew man.
Most people around the world are saddened by the miserable situation in Ukraine. Scenes and scenes of horrific and graphic destructions remain vivid in my mind. I could still remember the elderly Ukrainian woman who questioned Godthrough her tears. During the brief interview, she more or less questioned God’s presence and love. With the pain that she was in, I truly understand her doubts and pain. Perhaps, you might have asked, “Where is God in Ukraine?” Although I cannot understand the dealings of God, my answer is that God is still in Ukraine because He is omnipresent.
Let me talk briefly about the omnipresence of God. Literally, omnipresence means that God is everywhere present at once. Negatively speaking, there is nowhere that God is absent. As God is a spiritual being, He is at every point in space.
God Called Horeb Holy Ground
With His presence in Horeb, God called it holy ground. Since God is holy, wherever He is there, that place would become holy. God set apart that desolate piece of land for His own use that it became holy ground.
The Action of Removing Sandals
God asked Moses to take off his sandals on holy ground, reminding him to honour and respect Him. There is a reason for it. According to the Israelites, the action of removing sandals is a sign of respect.
The Hand of God
In 1876, a very unusual thing happened in a very small coastal community in North Carolina. Today, most of the residents of the Village of Sawn Quarter can still recall the story of the “Church Moved by the Hand of God”. Churchgoers regard its present site as holy ground.
Back in 1876, the Methodist church of Swan Quarter was keenly aware of flooding issues from heavy rain and high tides due to storm events. For that reason, they wanted to relocate to a new location that was less prone to typical flooding. Their efforts to purchase a specific vacant lot were unsuccessful, so the church building was built elsewhere.
Standing on Holy Ground
Only three days after the dedication service for the completed sanctuary, a brutal storm ravaged North Carolina’s coast. Amid all the destructions that the violent storm had caused to that place, a remarkable thing was happening. The Methodist church building had floated off its foundation and was slowly sailing down the road. Residents tried to stop it but to no avail. Miraculously, the church building finally landed in a vacant lot – the same lot that the church had unsuccessfully sought to purchase once before. I guess every time the believers gather to worship God at this church, the amazing history of their church should remind them that they are standing on holy ground.
Be Humble on Holy Ground
God asked Moses to take away his sandals before Him. It’s a gesture of respect and humility. The Church of the Nativityin Bethlehem has one special feature. The doorway is a small rectangular door at the entrance. It is called the Door of Humility. Its purpose was to prevent medieval raiders from riding their horses into the church and disrupting the worship. God asked Moses to remove his sandals, and it is a way of saying, ‘be humble.’ When we engage in worship, we are approaching the Most Holy One, thus we should humble before God.
Our Holy Ground
The appearance of God to Moses on Mount Sinai changed it to a holy ground. As God will appear to us in the places that we worship and pray, these places are all seen as holy ground. When we worship, please remind yourself that you are standing on holy ground.
Locate Your Holy Ground
Residences are getting smaller nowadays. The living spaces in Toronto are getting smaller every day, but you can still have your own personal sanctuary at home. Locate your holy ground at home so that you can engage to meet God face to face every day.
2) God Called Moses to Be A Leader (Exodus 3:7–12)
Moses Was Chosen as A Worship Leader
Moses was chosen by God to be the deliverer of his own compatriots. Not only that, he had to lead his people to worship God on Mount Sinai subsequently.
Throughout the Book of Exodus, Moses mentioned of his own deficiencies in taking up the leadership, namely: lack of capability (3:11), lack of message (3:13), lack of authority (4:1), lack of eloquence (4:10), lack of special adaptation (4:13), lack of previous success (5:23), and lack of previous acceptance (6:12).
Old Testament Examples
Throughout Old Testament history, it is not hard to find out numerous examples that God called people to become worship leaders. Noah is one of the many. After the horrible flood, Noah built an altar to God (Genesis 8:20). Worship began with one man, and extended to his whole family. The second person is Abraham. He didn’t know Yahweh at first, but God took the initiative to appear to him. The Bible says, “So he built there an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him.” (Genesis 12:7). God continues to call people to become worship participants, so that they can lead others to worship God.
3) God Called Moses to Worship (Exodus 3:11–15)
Moses Was Called to Be the Worship Leader
First of all, God chose Moses to be the deliverer of the Israelites; secondly, God picked Moses to be the worship leader of his people as well. God delivered Israel so that they might worship Him.
What is Worship
Why do we have to worship God? What is worship to you? First of all, since God is infinitely good and He desires to share His goodness with His creation. Therefore, as created beings, human beings should not only recognise the goodness God has showered upon them, but also they should thank and praise Him for it. In short, giving thanks and praises to God are acts of worship. Secondly, in old English, the word worship means worthiness and acknowledgement of worth. In essence, when we worship God, we should give Him the honour that He fully deserves. As Christians are God’s redeemed people, we should approach the Creator and Redeemer with the honour due to Him in worship.
Church shopping is so prevalent in North America nowadays. Like it or not, church has more or less become a commodity. Churchgoers want to purchase the best worship music, sermons, worship experience and childcare, etc. As a result, worship services are no longer a place for us to serve God and neighbour.
Called to Worship
Like Moses, we are called by God to worship Him. To me, worship is a personal calling. As believers in Christ, not only we should give ourselves to the Lord in worship, but we should also lead others to Christ so that they can give thanks and praises due to Him.