Exodus Chapter 3

Moses was of hebrew descent, but had been preserved and raised by the Egyptian daughter of the Pharaoh. He had grown up and ran away from Egypt because he had killed an Egyptian in defense of a Hebrew man. At this point in the book of Exodus, Moses is living in the Midian land with the family of the Midian priest, Reuel (Jethro), who is now his father-in-law. The story of Moses continues as follows:

1 Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.
2 And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.
3 And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.
4 And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.
5 And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.
6 Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.

Moses took care of Jethro’s flock. At this point, which was something around 40 years later, or when Moses was about 40 years old (according to the footnote in verse 2), he was with the flock near the mountain Horeb. As a side note, the footnote for priest in verse one, references a passage in Doctrine and Covenants which teaches us that Moses had received the priesthood through his father-in-law, Jethro. So Moses had made covenants with God, while he was in the land of Midian, and had been prepared to be called to do service for the Lord. He saw a burning bush which was not being consumed by the fire. When he looked at it with great interest, the Lord poke to him from the bush. It is interesting to read of the burning bush, because many times throughout the scriptures the Lord communicates with his chosen servants with some type of fire there. It seems to me that this may be the best way for mankind to describe the glory of God that is witnessed in his presence. Anyway, the Lord told Moses that he stood on holy ground and that He was in fact, the God of his ancestors. He was instructed to remove his shoes. There are things that we do to show reverence and respect for those things and places that are most holy. This mountain is referred to as the mountain of the Lord and was considered to be a holy place where reverence demanded that the typical attire of shoes should not be worn. I’m not sure why specifically, but I know that in the holy places today, such as the temples of the Lord, we show great reverence in our clothing and in particular, the shoes we wear on our feet. Probably due to feelings of humility or feeling unworthy of the presence of God, Moses was afraid to look. This is a common reaction to great things that happen to people all throughout the scriptures. When I read of this reaction from great prophets and faithful saints, I wonder what kind of reaction I would have if I found myself in the presence of the Lord or His holy angels.

7 And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows;
8 And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites.
9 Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them.
10 Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.

Moses was told by the Lord that the cries of the Israelites had been heard, and that they would be delivered by God and brought to the promised land. Then Moses was given the call to go to Pharaoh and deliver His people from Egypt. The Lord promises to bring the Israelites out of bondage. He is saying that He will be with them, lead them and be the cause for their freedom from the Egyptians. I know that it doesn’t take too long for the children of Israel to forget God and the wonders he does for them. I wonder if I take the time to remember the times that God has brought me out of any kind of bondage and blessed my life with his protection and love. I know that we all would do better if we could remember our own blessings of being led by the hand of God.

11 And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?
12 And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.
13 And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?
14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.
15 And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.
16 Go, and gather the elders of Israel together, and say unto them, The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared unto me, saying, I have surely visited you, and seen that which is done to you in Egypt:
17 And I have said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt unto the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, unto a land flowing with milk and honey.
18 And they shall hearken to thy voice: and thou shalt come, thou and the elders of Israel, unto the king of Egypt, and ye shall say unto him, The Lord God of the Hebrews hath met with us: and now let us go, we beseech thee, three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God.

Moses questioned how he could be the one to do this thing and God promised him that He would be with him as he fulfilled this thing. I think it was only fair for Moses to have fear, considering he had left Egypt in fear of his life. I am sure he did not want to return to the memories and I am sure heartaches of his past. This was a very difficult calling, to be sure. But Moses had the power of God within him, which is the priesthood. It is through this power and faithfulness to his covenants, that he was able to do the things that God required of him. In verse 13, Moses asked God what he should call Him, who had sent him to do this thing. This was a fair question for Moses to ask of God, because in Egypt they had already questioned where Moses thought he got his authority from when he tried to stop the Israelite men from fighting with one another. God answered “I AM THAT I AM”, or “I AM” was He who sent him. This was the name that the Israelites would recognize for the God of their fathers; Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The footnote in this verse refers us to the Topical Guide entry for Jesus Christ. The God of the old testament, was in fact, Jesus the Christ. The name I AM was too sacred to be used with too much frequency, so we instead call Him the Lord. The Lord told Moses that the Israelites would listen to him. They would make a plea to the Pharaoh to go into the wilderness and make sacrifice to God. I never knew this would be the reason they would give to Pharaoh. They were to ask if they could go and serve and make sacrifice to their God for their own beliefs, but Pharaoh would refuse them. I think that his refusal to allow them to worship their God, the only true and living God, was that last chance that God would give to Pharaoh before making his punishments completely just.

19 And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand.
20 And I will stretch out my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in the midst thereof: and after that he will let you go.
21 And I will give this people favour in the sight of the Egyptians: and it shall come to pass, that, when ye go, ye shall not go empty:
22 But every woman shall borrow of her neighbour, and of her that sojourneth in her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and ye shall put them upon your sons, and upon your daughters; and ye shall spoil the Egyptians.

God told Moses that Pharaoh would not let the Israelites go, but instead God would show His power and smite Egypt. After God would do this thing, Pharaoh would let them go and the Egyptians would let them leave with riches and wealth. I would imagine that experiencing the miracles or wonders of God, would convince Pharaoh that the God of the Israelites wanted them to serve Him and would not allow the Egyptians to get in their way any longer. They probably would give of their wealth to the Israelites out of fear of the God of the children of Israel.

This calling was an amazing responsibility to be placed on the shoulders of Moses. Not too many people are given these kinds of callings, but instead we are given our own simple revelations for what God would have us do in our own lives. Even though the events may not be quite as spectacular, our response should be the same. When we are given inspiration from the Lord, it is our duty to listen and obey that inspiration. No matter how it comes to us, it is still direction from God and He expects us to do the right thing and be quick to obey. I hope that I am living my own life in a way that I might be able to hear the inspirations from the Spirit of the Lord. If we want to show that we are devout and faithful Christians, we need to respond to every call that we are extended, through the revelations of the spirit. I am so grateful for the Spirit and for callings and direction I am given of the Lord. There are few better ways to know that I am loved by the Lord and not forgotten among the vast multitude of souls on this earth, then for Him to tell me what I can do for Him and for His work.

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