Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. (Exodus 3:1-2, NKJV)
We now address the story of Moses at the Burning Bush. To stay on track we will look at this passage from the perspective of viewing Moses as being, or becoming, poor in spirit. In this first verse of Chapter Three we learn much about Moses’ character development.
Now Moses was tending the flock. Moses was in training, and as part of his regimen he was to tend the flock of sheep for his family. In that culture sheepherding was not your ideal career path, especially if one wanted to be a person of influence, somebody great. But God does things different than man because He sees the big picture. We need to learn to trust the Lord with our training because we desire the same outcome: to be people of character.
Better is the end of a thing than the beginning of it, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. (Ecclesiastes 7:8, Amplified)
To the Lord being humbled and becoming a person of character, a person poor in spirit, is His ultimate goal for us. It is no strange coincidence that David, another man of God, was also a sheepherder. Moses’ training served a purpose and becoming a sheepherder allowed him to be useable for God and set up his encounter with the Burning Bush.
…of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. Moses’ training was supervised by a close member of his family and a priest. Moses was able to observe Jethro’s life as Moses lived with him. Jethro gave Moses the task that would allow him success as a leader, a humbling task, to lead sheep. I don’t think it strange that our Lord used the sheep metaphor for Believers. Leading is leading and we must start somewhere in our training.
And he led the flock to the back of the desert. Much can be said of the solitary life. When we are alone we can draw near to the Lord in a way much different than as a corporate body in church. Some of the best instruction we can receive from God is in the quiet times we spend with Him. We recognize that He is to be exalted and we are to be humbled before His awesome presence.
Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth! (Psalm 46:10, Amplified)
The back of the desert may seem like a place of banishment, but when you are there with the Living God you are in the best place possible, a place where leaders are born (Isaiah 35). Many people also like to point out that Moses needed to become familiar with this area because the rebellious people he will soon lead will wander there for forty years. Moses led the wandering in the back of the desert. There is much truth in this. To lead you need to experience what your people will need to learn. Moses was not at this point a great leader in the sight of man; but he was in the sight of the Lord who knows our future.
Watch the blameless and observe the upright, for the man of peace will have a future. (Psalm 37:37, HCSB)
…and he came to Horeb, the mountain of God. Every journey has a destination and Moses’ destination was an encounter with the Lord and to receive his commission. In order for this event to take place his journey had to occur just as it did. We all have a path set before us by God. If we chose that path we become what the Lord desires us to be, people of character, the character of being poor in spirit.
Read Isaiah 35 and prayerfully meditate upon the passage. How is the Holy Spirit shaping you? What blessing are you going to get from your desert experience?