We don’t know much about Moses’s faith during the years he grew up in Pharaoh’s house or during the forty years he wandered in the wilderness after his first disastrous attempt to deliver Israel. We don’t know if Moses was even interested in God on the day that God spoke to him. We do know that Moses was a discouraged and defeated fugitive, probably in his sixties, leading a flock of his father-in-law’s sheep in the desert—which sounds to me like the ultimate life-fail. Most likely, his primary concern that day, as it was every day, was finding grass and water for his flock. But when he saw a flaming bush that wasn’t being reduced to ashes, he turned aside to see what was going on: “When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him from out of the bush, ‘Moses! Moses!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’” (Exod 3:4 ESV, emphasis mine).

Notice that when Moses turned aside, the voice did not explain how the fire was burning in the bush. Nor did God explain where he had been for four hundred years, a question Moses and every living Israelite wanted the answer to. The voice simply called out to Moses, “I am here, and I have something to say to you.”

After four hundred years, with no explanation, the silence was broken. The God who spoke the heavens into existence began to converse with Moses: “I’ve been watching you, Moses. I haven’t forgotten you, and I’ve seen your anguish and heard your cries” (Exod 3:7, my paraphrase).

Moses didn’t encounter God because he finally figured God out or because he finally looked behind the rock where God had been hiding. Moses encountered God because God came to where Moses was and called his name.


Greear, J. D., and David Jeremiah. 2018. Not God Enough: Why Your Small God Leads to Big Problems. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

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