Skip to main content

Moses and the Burning Bush

Exodus 3 CSB | Trey VanCamp | January 8, 2023

View All TeachingsView Full Series


When Moses first encounters God, he’s at his lowest. Defeated, alone, and in the midst of an identity crisis, he finds himself wandering the wilderness embarrassed and ashamed. And it’s in this moment that God meets him.

God reminds him that he is gracious, personal, and that he’s not done with Moses yet. But to take the next step of faith, Moses must be willing to accept his limits and come face-to-face with his true self. Like Moses, the two most important questions we can ask today are “who am I?” and “who is God?”

And also like Moses, asking these questions invites God to meet us with both comfort and confrontation. He comforts us by reminding us that he is gracious and wants to restore us. But he also confronts us by inviting us to see who we really are.

To engage with our true selves and receive clarity on who God is, we practice the Examen. By praying through pivotal moments of our lives, decade by decade, good and bad, we invite the Spirit to reveal both who we truly and who God truly is.


You can take interactive notes here. At the end of the message, you can email the notes to yourself.


 Afternoon, passion Creek. What a great day to be a part of this community. Amen. Exciting times ahead and as we prepare tonight for the word, let’s take a look at Exodus chapter three. But Moses

asked God, who am I that I should go to

Pharaoh and that I should bring the Israelites out of Egypt? He answered, I will certainly be with you and this will be the sign to you that I am the one who sent you.

When you bring the people out of, You will all worship God at this mountain. Then Moses asks, God, if I go to the Israelites and I say to them, the God of your ancestors has sent me to you, and they ask me, what is his name? What should I tell them? God replied to Moses, I am who I am. This is what you are To say to the Israelites I am has sent me to.

Amen. Thank you Ron so much. If you guys can open your Bibles to that. In Exodus chapter three, we’re just doing like a six part series on the life of Moses. And so, and leading up to, uh, when we we’re finished, we’re gonna be actually in the new place and we have a whole nother series we’re really excited about as we start in the junior high.

Uh, but Pastor Caleb, I thought did a phenomenal job last week. We learned, uh, many things, but one of the things in Exodus two is Moses, he did the right thing for all the wrong in all the wrong. , right? And so he was bothered by the oppression of his people. And so we see that he took matters into his own hands.

He struck the Egyptian, hid him under the sand. And I don’t, it seems kind of in the text, he wasn’t particularly remorseful or guilty until he got caught. Uh, the next day, uh, the, uh, the Israelites were saying you were the one who murdered this Egyptian. And so what he does, kind of what all of us would do, he bottles up that shame and he runs away and he runs to the.

So now we’re back into the story where Moses’ dreams are dashed. This royalty he was in the house of the Pharaoh, is now a refugee Moses, which actually means to be drawn out by water. This significant imagery of water is now stuck in a dry and barren desert. Everything his life thought was going to be is completely opposite.

Now, what does he do? We actually learned in Acts chapter seven that Moses was in the wilderness here for 40 years, and at the 40 year mark, Moses noticed something out of the ordinary. Look at it mean. Look at it with me. In verse one of chapter three, it says, meanwhile, Moses was shepherding the flock of his father-in-law jet.

The priest of Midian, he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horrib the mountain of God. By the way, later, Horeb is also the same phrase for Sinai, which is where Moses gets the 10 Commandments. We’ll probably talk more about that later in a few, uh, messages. Why does he say hob sometimes than Sinai and other, but it’s pretty significant.

Verse two, then an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire within a. As Moses looked, he saw that the bush was on fire but was not consumed. We first need to give Moses props for noticing, right? Like most of us, especially today, we are so focused on getting attention that we never give enough space to give attention.

Especially in our economy and our world of attention grabbing with social media. How many of us are even at a spot like Pastor Caleb said to practice last week? Silence and solitude. If Moses wasn’t practicing silence and solitude, maybe he would’ve never seen this bush and maybe this story wouldn’t have happened.

Look at verse three. So Moses thought I must go over and look at this remarkable. Why isn’t the bush burning up now? Scholars have long debated the significance of the burning bush. Lemme give you a few theories of what people think the bush and the fire represent. Uh, the first one is the bush is Israel and the fire is the oppression of Egypt.

And so bush, uh, what’s interesting too about Israel, that it’s a very. Israel has always kind of mentioned as just common people. There’s nothing particularly amazing about them, just that God chose them, which by the way, amen. Nothing particularly great about you, but God loves you and that’s what makes you so great.

All right, so the bush is Israel, and what’s interesting here is the fire, which would normally do wet to a bush, completely dissipate it. Instead, the bush is still living. And it’s a picture. Some scholars point to the fact that although Israel is in the midst of slavery and oppression with seemingly no way out, they’re still strong despite being enslaved, despite them wanting to kill all of the sons, they’re still here.

Another example though of the bush. The bush equals God’s imminence and the fire equals God’s transcendence. These are big theological terms. Let me explain. Imminence simply means that God isn’t just high in the sky. He is with us. He’s present with his people in the most ordinary of circumstances in the most ordinary of ways.

If you hear Christmas Eve, we talked about how Jesus is fully. Right. He is imminent. He is with us. You would assume God is in this special place up in a high tower, but instead his presence is with us even in the midst of something as common as a bush, but also the transcendence. The transcendence points to the power and holiness of God.

So the fire is something altogether, not like we’re used to. God is not someone to be trifled with. He may be in the ordinary, but do not. He is not like us. He is not even just extraordinary. He is holy other than us, which again, kind of points to Jesus. He is fully man. God’s imminent with us, but also he is still.

Jesus is fully God worthy of our worship and praise on his holy other than us. One more theory. That. I think, by the way, this is like the main reason why it’s the bush and the fire. But one more that I think is really interesting. Uh, pastor Caleb has me in, not really, but getting me into more and more, uh, where is he?

A Greek Orthodox art . Oh, he’s fixing his guitar. I call them out the worst time. Yo. Okay, so he has me looking into Greek Orthodox art more, which is weird. Don’t do it. But what’s pretty fascinating is Mary, there’s a picture of Mary and she is painted as if. Fully consumed, not consumed, but surrounded by fire.

And so the bush equals Mary’s womb and the fire equals the presence of Jesus. And isn’t that amazing like a bush? Mary is just an ordinary woman, but extraordinarily used by God. And in the God of the Old Testament as we read, God is so holy and unlike us, typically, if you encounter God, you die at the spot, and yet God in His grace doesn’t consume.

Mary is preserved and Mary is used for the story of God. Anyways, that’ll preach, but let’s keep going. Verse four, it says, when the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, look at that he noticed. He’s responding to Moses’s attention. God called out to him from the bush, Moses, Moses. You see this throughout the Bible when they say the phrase multiple times, it’s to get someone’s attention, but it’s also affectionate.

If you see like Jesus, he always says, Peter, Peter, it. It’s actually a sign of love and a, it’s almost like saying, Hey, look in my eyes. And so Moses replies, here I am. He answered, do not come closer. He said, remove the sandals from your feet for the place where you’re standing is holy ground. So then he continued.

I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of. Now you have to recognize this is news to Moses. Moses has been an identity crisis. He was born a Hebrew, but raised in Egyptian. So when a God appears the God and says, Hey, I’m the God of your fathers, he must be thinking, which one?

I don’t know who I am the God of Pharaoh. Or the God of Abraham, the, the story of those, uh, of, of that lineage. He doesn’t know who his dad really is. And so God here is already giving him an assurance of who he is. No, your father is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And so Moses hit his face because he was afraid to look at God.

This is to insinuate how powerful in the presence of God in this moment was, was overwhelming. So then the Lord said, I ob observed the misery of my people in. And I’ve heard them crying out because of their oppressors. I know about their sufferings, and I’ve come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and to bring them from that land to a good and spacious land.

A land flowing with milk and honey, the territory of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, parasites, HIEs, and Jes. So because the Israelites cry for help has come to me, and I’ve also seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing. Therefore go, I am sending you to Pharaoh so that you may lead my people, the Israelites out of Egypt.

So first we have to see this passage says more about God than it does about Moses. First of all, God didn’t pick Moses because he’s perfect. It’s not like Moses all of a sudden because he was in the desert for 40 years as this perfect human being. Instead, we see here that God’s just a God of grace, and in his gracious choosing, he chooses Moses.

Also, we see God doesn’t have to. God is right for just not intervening because God is God. He doesn’t need us. He doesn’t owe us anything. And so the fact we even read in the Old Testament that he’s calling them my people, that he feels their, their, their cries and, and wants to come down. This is a personal God.

This is a God that nobody had ever heard of, especially in the ancient Near East. No one imagined a God like this who’s so extremely personal. But also we have to see here in this text, God doesn’t need any of us. He is wholly self. We’re about to see in verse 14. He has that phrase, I am. I am who I am, Yahweh, which means this.

In his kindness, God is inviting Moses. Look, verse 10, therefore go. He’s inviting Moses to have a part to play, not because he needs Moses, but because in his grace he decides to use him. And that can be the same for you and me. God does not need us, but in his grace, he invites. To be a part of his mission, but I do want to, so there’s, I, we can literally talk for eternity about God and his character and what we even see just in this passage.

But I also want us to use this moment to, to what does this mean for the life of Moses now? Now, quickly, it’s likely Moses was never expecting a word from God, and there’s three reasons why, uh, should be on the screen. Number one, he’s a murderer. Right, so God is holy. We are not, and and God in his holiness cannot be approached, especially by someone who as sinned so much that he murdered someone.

So Moses is carrying around this shame, and so he is not imagining God coming and intervening. The second reason is the last time God spoke was 400 years prior. Anybody else noticed the significance of the 400 year gap of silence? Where else did that? between the old and the New Testament, right? When Jesus was introduced, when, when the angel came down and said, I’ve become to bring good news, there was a 400 year gap of silence.

We also have it here. And so the last time God spoke to his people was to Jacob to go to Egypt, and that one day they will be rescued and sent to the promised land. But now that’s been 400 years. So Moses doesn’t know anyone who knows anyone who heard a word from God. So he’s not expecting it. And number three, he’s in the middle of nowhere.

Midian is a desert in the ancient Near East Place meant something. I actually think we can do a great service to us if we begin to recognize the significance of a place. I think one reason why our souls are so distraught and disconnected is we never stay somewhere long enough. , right? There’s something beautiful about planting roots and just being who you are with the people who are around you, whatever those, whoever those neighbors are.

But anyways, he says he names his son in Exodus two. He’s, he names his son, gosh. And gosh, literally means I am a foreigner in a foreign land. What’s Moses saying here? Saying, I’m lost? My son represents this season of life, and in this season, nobody knows who I am and I don’t know where. So he is thinking, God won’t speak to me.

He has no home. Moses has no security. Moses has no identity, and by this point he is in a deep identity crisis. In fact, one could argue he just has given up to even figure out who he is. Is Moses like pastor Caleb mentioned last week. Is he an Egyptian or a Hebrew? Is he special? Or is he just a shepherd?

Is he a deliverer or is he just a murderer? Is Moses chosen by God or just forgotten by God? And I imagine you are well acquainted with this type of crisis. And I know , I know I am right, but this crisis is way too important for us to brush off and distract ourselves. And I think that’s the grace that Moses had getting to the desert.

He had nothing to distract himself and now he had to encounter God. Now, the world today, we’ll call this identity crisis, but here’s what the crisis really is. Write this down. The crisis of knowing self and knowing God, these are two equally important crises, that for some of us, it’s why we are so disintegrated, so depressed, and so.

There’s been a lot of theologians throughout history who have claimed that these two things are the most important tasks to partake in the journey, to partake in, uh, for us to really live out what God has called us to German theologian, a meister I Eckhart, he said the following, he says, no one can know God, who does not first know himself.

Sounds a little new agey, doesn’t it? What’s going on here? No, we need to know ourself. How about the 15th century Spanish nun, St. Teresa of Avila, where we get a lot of our stage theory of the Christian life from? She says, almost all problems in the spiritual life stem from a lack of self knowledge. Now, let me give you one more person, which may most people, if you, if you’re a theology nerd in the room, you would never guess he would say such a thing.

Reform theologian, John Calvin. He said the following, our wisdom consists almost entirely of two parts. The knowledge of God and of ourselves. He actually goes on to say, but as these are connected together by many ties, it is not easy to determine which of the two precedes and gives birth to the other.

So in other words, do you try to know yourself first or you try to know God first? And John Calvin says, yes, it is a journey that goes together hand. And so this journey, this process is what I would call is the egoic journey, the journey of the ego, figuring out who you are and what God’s called you to.

So there are stages if you, if you’re around passion Greek, you know, we love this stuff. But there seems to be throughout the biblical text, throughout just life in general, there seems to be stages of your journey in figuring out who you are. And in so doing, also figuring out who God is. Now, most of us begin here at stage one, which is the conceited.

This is the blessing of being young, by the way, cuz you don’t know any better. You’re just ignorant and you think you’re awesome. , God will fix that. But anyways, concede itself. What happens when you’re conceited is a simple reality and it’s okay. Life hasn’t beat you up enough. And so there’s still something in you that says, I can figure it out.

I have the power. Just give me the control. And in God’s patie, You’ll see throughout the Bible, God uses conceited people for some pretty extraordinary things. Now, he beats out that conceit, but he uses them. Think of the story of Joseph in his arrogance, tells his brothers about how great he is and how they’re going to worship and serve him.

One day he’s conceited. That was not the point of the vision, but God still used them. Moses in his conceit, saw the Israelites hurting and he thought, I’ll take care of this. Let me just kill. Conceited, and this is what happens. And here’s what, what. Here’s different ways you can figure out if you’re conceited.

And it’s okay. There’s grace in this room. Let me just say quickly. This has been a lot of my life. All right, so the conceit itself finds identity in one of three ways, or possibly all three. First off is performance. So some of us, we think I’m great because of what I do. Right, so you’ll see this a lot in the sports world, in the career world, right?

I’m just really good at this specific task, and let me just say, it’s great to have pride in what you’re doing. I think that’s totally fine, but you cannot base your worth off of what you’re doing. See the difference there. What’s hard though is some of us we’re so good at what we do. It’s a pretty good idol.

You’re pretty satisfied for a while because you work hard and you get paid. The second way that the conceit itself finds its identity is in possessions. I’m great. Maybe not for what I do, but I’m great because of what I have. Some of you have won the lottery, like literally, if you have talked to me, we’re trying to get a church building.

You know what? But possessions wise, right? You find your hope and satisfaction on the things that you own, right? You actually compare your worth and value by comparing what items you have versus what items they. This is all good and dandy until that no longer works, right? Or the third one is popularity.

I think some of us have actually never graduated from high school, right? All of life is who’s at the popular table. So I’m great because of what others think of me. Social media has taken that and cranked it up to a hundred. You can now people say your value is based off how many people follow. Like I have people, I have a YouTube channel, been slaving over it for six years.

I have this, it’s a steady amount of subscribers, but oh, the judgment. When I tell people how many subs they have, they go, oh, hmm, okay, and move on. And you’re like, no, I’m worth more than what you think. You know, like this is a thing. Popularity, the conceited self runs to this. And the reality is is Moses could actually run to at least several of these popularity.

He was in the Pharaoh’s home possessions. He was in the Pharaoh’s house. And so this probably helped, you know, boost his ego, but by the grace of God, and here’s what happens. If God is so gracious to you, God will meet you at a moment where you have been completely stripped of all your arrogance and conceit.

God does this many different ways. I think one way, God, we as a church went through the Book of Ecclesiastes last year and I, and I think that’s a huge way God can grace you with a sense of exhaust. You’re just exhausted. Like possessions. Just they, they never satisfy performance. There’s always somebody better popularity.

I’m never enough. And so the chase isn’t fulfilling, and so if you’re here for the Ecclesiastes series, you just kind of say, heaven, it’s useless. You have it all and you still need more. Or God can grace you, not with exhaustion, but with embarrassment. There’s maybe a moment where you are publicly humili.

You lose everything, someone takes over the spotlight. Or like Moses, you take it a step too far and wind up murdering someone and having to run away. So Moses was the conceit itself, and he ran away embarrassed and ashamed. And after the beat down, if you and I are given the Grace Long enough, what typically happens is we now enter into the desert of the defeat.

Your wounds have stacked up against you. Your opportunities have slipped away from your fingertips. Those relationships were not based on love, but on a contract on performance. And you are now left alone. And if I can be honest, I am much more acquainted with this one in more recent. And as I wrestle with this text and as I’ve been praying about us getting victory over the defeat itself, I have to acknowledge moving on from here does not happen quickly, nor does it happen easily.

Let me give you some examples. What does it mean to be the defeat itself? Maybe you’re in the room thinking, is this who I am? Well, here’s how you can know. The defeat itself finds its identities in one of three ways. One is victim. , right? You live your whole life. If others knew how hard I had it, your, your identity is your illness, right?

You just tell everyone how bad you have it, and that’s how you find hope. You’re defeated. Your hope isn’t in victory. It’s in being a victim. The second thing is vengeance. The defeated self thinks, okay, if I can just make them feel the pain that they made me feel, then I’ll be. So you’re living really an operation of defeat.

You’re bitter, you’re looking to the past, not to the future. And this next one honestly, is a word that I haven’t heard until recently and I’m hearing a lot of psychologists, experts, uh, mention. It’s, is voyeurism. Voyeurism at its most basic element is just finding pleasure and watching others do what you can never do or what you would never be brave enough to do.

Not, it’s worse. Voyeurism can be uh, things like watching things online, but it’s also just in being a fan of, of, of a football team. And your whole life is just about that cuz you can’t find victory. So you just watch others do victory while you sit on the couch. That’s the defeat itself. And to be honest, I know that we get so annoyed with, with young men being so conce.

But I think some of us, we just put them to the defeated realm and we just leave ’em alone. Men, we, we need to have a journey to go towards, right? It’s not a victory that many teenagers can’t even think of what life could look like, and so many have committed suicide. So many have no future because we have made sure to tell them how terrible this world is, how terrible they are, and then we wonder why we’re in the mess.

So, so many men, and I’m speaking to that just cuz I’m a man if you didn’t know. Um, voyeurism is a huge, huge thing that men are running to. They’ve raised their white flag and they just wanna watch somebody else be victorious for them. Now Moses, he, he had a lot of emotions to process in the desert, right?

Victimhood, maybe thinking, man, they don’t understand why I did that. Right? I murdered that guy because I wanted to save them, but now they were mad at me, right? Vengeance. Man, I need a man. Look what the Egyptians have done to me. Look what those Israelites have done to me. But they don’t know, right? And they’re stuck.

And we’re honest with ourselves. You and I are well acquainted with this cycle of being conceited and then being defeated and then having enough self illusion we are conceited again, and then we get defeated all the more. And the reality is, is without God, you are either conceded or. But God can step in sometimes in a burning bush moment and flip things around.

What’s what’s fascinating is today, technically it’s on Tuesday, but today is our seven year anniversary as a church. and, um, it is entirely not gone the way that I planned at all on the five year vision board or the 10, or even the two. And so the ver the first few years and some of you in the room you were there, um, I, I would say I was clearly the conceited self.

And the reality is, is, uh, church planning book I read last year has said that. I think every single church planner is conceited or else they would be too wise to not plant a church. Uh, but we’re so arrogant we think, no, we can do it. Okay. The stats are 90% failed. Yeah, but I’m like, the 1%, you know, I’m the greatest, so let’s do it.

And so God in his grace somehow does that. And so this journey of planning a church has been humiliating. It has been slow, so slow, way slower than I thought. And um, for the first few years, I would just give myself a pep. or I go to Disneyland, , and then we would move forward. But eventually that exhaustion and that embarrassment got to me.

And as I look back at my life, like I I, I had this moment where I looked at Jordan and I said, look, the more effort I put in doesn’t equal more success. And that’s frustrating, right? I try harder, but get almost the very same or even less results. What do I. . So the last few years has really, I know some of you’re like, Trey, you, you’re too vulnerable.

Whatever. The last few years has like broken me like, um, it’s been hard. I think it’s hard for all of us. I’m only sharing this because I want to identify with the story, Moses, and hopefully it’s helpful to you. But I think what, what I’ve noticed is I’ve kind of shifted from conceit itself to defeat itself, and it is very, very hard to lead when you are defeated.

Man. I even think about last year I went from like full of energy to just fighting for any amount of energy. And so I found out about this thing called coffee and I was like, whoa, this is how humans actually exist. This makes sense to me now. And then I found out about monsters and I was like, wow, like how did I get through college without these drugs?

Uh, and so, but I went from. So much energy to like needing substances to push me forward. I went from clarity. You would, if you would ask me ever, like, what’s your five year, 10 year plan? What? Oh, I would have all the answers. I went through a season where I was confused. I don’t know. I just know my Bible’s right, so let’s just keep reading it.

One more. The, the biggest thing I found from going conceited to defeated, um, in the first few years, I, I loved my sermons. Like I would watch him again and go, why aren’t more people listening? You know, like, come on. Did you hear that rhyme? You know, And now, like I despise them. And every week I walk down and go, what am I supposed to be?

An artistic, like graphic designer? You know? Like, I’m just like, what is my purpose in life? And, and what’s been so helpful, and this all has a purpose besides like making sure you never look at me like a strong leader ever again. But part of this is recognizing this is the journey of the Christian life.

This is a part of. I read Hebrews, uh, 10 through 12 this morning, and in it he says, no. Listen. Listen. God disciplines, those he loves, like God in his mercy actually makes life hard on you because he’s teaching you this thing called faith and perseverance and humility. And even like for me, man, two years ago, I would’ve said a sermon on identity would’ve made that would’ve made me.

Quit struggling. You know, like I would always make fun of people like, you know, the friends who say, I just need to go across the world to find myself. I’m like, that’s not gonna help. You know, like, you’re right there, you know? But now I’m like, I kinda get it. Like, anybody got a ticket? Let’s go to Malaysia.

I don’t know, let’s figure something out. You know? And this struggle, like the dark fog of the unknown. And, and I hesitate to say this, but I, I really do feel like we’re entering into a new season as a church and in my own life, and it’s very exciting. And now I, I believe clarity is coming back and opportunity and favor in ways we’ve never seen before.

But, but what, what I’ve learned, and I think what Moses is interacting with here, is you cannot skip the desert. The reality is, is God will keep you in the desert as long as he needs because he loves you. Here’s the good. God’s deliverance is imminent. When you accept, you are limited.

This was the burning bush moment for Moses. God had to wait until Moses was at this beautiful crossroads of knowing. Man, I can’t do it all by myself, but man, I still wanna do something good. H, how do I, I need God or else I can’t. Well, I need to do something. See, Moses had to get to the end of himself so that he had the eyes to see God.

Look at verse 11. This is how God now introduces himself. So, so he says, Moses, ask God, who am I? Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the Israelites out of? Look how he answers. He says, I will certainly be with you. That’s all you need to know that I’m with you, and this will be the sign to you just to comfort him.

I’m the one who sent you. When you bring the people out of Egypt, you will all worship God at this mountain. You know this mountain? You keep walking around for 40 years. There’s a purpose I’ve been, this feels useless. But this mountain here was always here for the future. You just never understood it until now.

This is the sign, the very fact where you’re sitting, standing, I’m gonna give you the 10 commandments in the law, verse 13. Then Moses asked if I go to the Israelites. So he is still kind of like that defeated itself. Like, okay, uh, well what about this? What about that? So now he says, if I go to the Israelites and say to them, the God of your ancestors will send me to you, and they ask, well, what’s his name?

What should I tell them? These are the most two simple questions we always ask. Who am I? And God, who are you? So God, in his grace answers, God replied to him saying, I am who I am. This is what you are to say. The Israelites I am has sent you this. This name means Yahweh. This is He always was. He always is.

He will forever will be. Don’t worry, he has this in his hands. look at the two gifts, even just in 11th through 14 that Moses has given. Number one, Moses is given the gift of a limited self, not conceited, not defeated, just limited. See, God doesn’t call him up to be strong and mighty. Again, that’s exactly what the conceited self wants to hear.

But also notice God doesn’t like cast him out for failing to live up to God’s standards. That’s what the defeat itself expects to. Instead, he’s saying, Moses like, who am I? God is saying, Moses, you’re limited, but you’re anointed. You’re limited, but you have my presence, so it’s gonna be good. Other passages say, I am who I am.

Other people translate as I, I will be who I will be. You just watch. You just wait and see. And that’s the second thing He, he’s given the grace of a covenant God. So who am I? I’m. God, who are you? God’s a covenant loving, faithful God. Time and time again, God is saying, I will be with you. Moses says, but what about this?

He says, I am with you. I will go before you. I am your power. I am who you need me to be, but God, who are you? I’m the God of mercy. I’m the God of faithful, never-ending. Love. Love. And this is where the egoic journey eventually leads us to. It eventually leads. These are the two questions I want us as our response time to think about, to pray to meditate, maybe kind of just spend some time with God is this first question, will you accept who you have actually become?

Now to the conceit itself, you’re not as great as you think . Just accept who you really are to the defeat itself. Hey, actually, God’s doing a lot more in your life than you.

You’re just limited. You’re one human and that’s actually such a grace. I want you to wrestle with that question this week. Will you ex, will you accept who you have actually become? This is especially true for those of us on the back half of life. The saying goes, young people are only nice cuz they keep thinking one day they’ll be nice.

Right? They have expectation. They’ll actually. Will you accept who you’ve actually become? Will you get really honest the things that have been done to you? Will you just accept that? Realize this is always, this trauma is a part of my story. James K. Smith, he wrote a book, wait, it’s, it wasn’t that great, but he had a line in there that I thought was so good, talking about the grace of just recognizing who you are and being okay.

It’s not on the screen, but I put it on my notes this afternoon cause I think it’s so good. It says, grace is not a time machine. Grace is not a reset button. I think that’s what we want. We come to church cuz we don’t like who we become. So we want the reset. It says no Grace is something even more unbelievable.

It’s restoration. It is reconciliation of, and despite our histories of animos. Grace isn’t an undoing, it is overcoming. Isn’t that interesting? When Jesus rose again on the third day, he still had the scars. See, when we talk about come to Christ, come to the cross, come to His grace, we’re not saying we reset everything that’s ever happened in your life.

But the reality is, is there is a resurrection that. The pain is now being resurrected into something beautiful. The brokenness is being resurrected into something powerful. This wandering by Mount Ho for 40 years is now being resurrected to where this is the very place where people will encounter God and the ethics of all of Israel will be set throughout all eternity.

What he does is God isn’t looking to reset, to ignore. No. He is taking all your pain and all your hopes and dreams, and what he wants to do is for you to come to the end of your. Clinging to the cross of Christ, receive him, surrender to him, trust him, and in his power. What he does is he takes your history, he takes your pain, he takes your sin, and and the very things he used to struggle with, the things that you hate about yourself now through the resurrection, gives you a grace to be a source of love to those people who you once were.

You now have greater empathy. You now have greater patience and love and purpose and courage. This is all according to his plan. The second question you have to wrestle with, that you have to get honest with is will you surrender to who God actually is?

Man, God is way more personal than you’ve ever imagined. Look at the text. God is way more holy than you’d ever expect, but God is so much more loving than you could ever hope for. Will you surrender? Will you surrender to him, Phil led, just to kind of just sit there. Will you actually accept who you’ve actually become and will you surrender to who God actually is?

What we’re gonna do this week in your together groups? We’re gonna put forth, we’re trying to think through what’s a practice here that can help you kind of have a burning bush moment And just thinking through the daily examine. It’s a, most of this just go on the, on the group guide on the website, but quickly it’s an exercise where you just review your day and you say, okay, where’s all the bad stuff?

What was all the gracious stuff? And, and just thank God for it. And we wanna do is actually, as you start groups again, this week, pastor Caleb’s done a great job of doing a a decade by decade. What, what we wanna invite you to do is to, to look at your life a and and to ask for the spirit’s guidance and get honest and accept your past failure, decade by decade.

Writing him down, but then recognizing and accepting God’s grace throughout all of that decade by decade and giving thanks to him. I’m really encouraged for us to do that, but again, I want us to, Which question are you wrestling with most? Will you accept who you’ve actually become? Cuz God doesn’t want to work with your idealized self.

He wants to impact and work with your real self. And will you surrender to who God actually is? Way more loving than you’d ever imagined. Way more gracious, personal, holy. And it’s that intersection. We can have a burning bush moment that sets. Towards a purpose and mission for the rest of our life.

Group Guide

Looking for community? Join a Together Group!

Meal & Conversation

Open the night with a quick prayer over your time together. As your Group shares a meal, use one or two of these questions to check in with everyone:

  1. What were the best and worst parts of your Christmas break?
  2. What’s one thing you’re praying for as you look ahead to the new year?

Overview of Teaching

When Moses first encounters God, he’s at his lowest. Defeated, alone, and in the midst of an identity crisis, he finds himself wandering the wilderness embarrassed and ashamed. And it’s in this moment that God meets him.

He reminds him that he is gracious, personal, and that he’s not done with Moses yet. But to take the next step of faith, Moses must be willing to accept his limits and come face-to-face with his true self.

Like Moses, the two most important questions we can ask today are “who am I?” and “who is God?” And also like Moses, asking these questions invites God to meet us with both comfort and confrontation. He comforts us by reminding us that he is gracious and wants to restore us. But he also confronts us by inviting us to see who we really are.

To engage with our true selves and receive clarity on who God is, we practice the Examen. By praying through pivotal moments of our lives, decade by decade, good and bad, we invite the Spirit to reveal both who we truly and who God truly is.


Read Exodus 3:1-10 and discuss the following questions:

  1. What stands out to you from this story so far?
  2. What does this passage reveal about God, and what does it reveal about Moses?
  3. Have you ever experienced a “burning bush” moment where you felt God trying to get your attention? How did you respond?

Now read verses 11-15 and discuss the following questions:

  1. What strikes you about Moses’ response to God’s call?
  2. What strikes you about God’s response to Moses’ hesitation?
  3. In what ways can you relate to Moses’ hesitancy to be obedient to God?
  4. Where in your life do you feel God might be calling you to confront your true self?
  5. Would you currently see yourself in the Conceited, Defeated, or Limited stage of your life?
  6. Where in your life do you feel God inviting you to accept his grace and compassion?


The practice this week is a form of the Prayer of Examen. This type of prayer is a regular reflection of your day to see the moments where God was moving. Normally, this is done on a daily basis, but this week we’re going to practice reflecting on our whole lives:

  1. To start, invite the Spirit to guide you as you reflect. Spend a moment or two in silence, calming your mind and body, and becoming aware of God’s presence. Then ask God to guide your thoughts as you begin reflecting.
  2. Move through major failures, wounds, and mistakes in each decade of your life. As moments come to mind, pause to reflect on them by allowing yourself to confront and accept them. You’re not accepting that sins and mistakes are okay, but you are embracing the fact that they happened.
  3. With each moment that comes to mind, allow yourself to reflect on God’s grace. Consider the ways that God may have even used and redeemed those failures to prepare you for your future and shape who you are today.
  4. End with gratitude. Before moving on with your day, thank God for each moment and for his grace as you look ahead to a new year.

Before you pray to close, have everyone answer the following question:

What would success look like for you as you engage in the practice this week?


As you end your night, spend some time praying for and encouraging one another.