The story of Moses and the burning bush (Exodus 3) is one of those famous Bible stories that almost everyone has heard. It’s such a great visual image – a burning bush that doesn’t burn up with a loud voice coming out of it – probably a voice like James Earl Jones.
So clearly, Moses had to do whatever God told him. But why can’t God just speak to us like this? And clearly tell us what he wants us to do?
Here are four reasons why God’s not going to speak out of burning bushes any time soon:
1. God speaking verbally like this was very rare even in biblical times. Moses wasn’t expecting this. God hadn’t spoken verbally for nearly 500 years since he spoke to Abraham. And before that it might have been 1,000 years or more since God had spoken to Noah. It was only during very special occasions that God spoke verbally as He unfolded His plan of redemption.
2. God has now given us His written word. He has spoken to us and His word has been written down in this book we call the Bible. We now have the full written word of God at our disposal. 1 Tim 3: 16 states that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”
3. In Jesus, we have God before us. You want to know what God looks like? Look at Jesus. John 14 verse 9 states: “Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” Now, I don’t know exactly how the trinity works, but I do know that Jesus stated that he was fully God. Therefore when Jesus speaks, God Almighty has spoken.
4. God has sent the Holy Spirit to his people. Christians are not wondering this earth alone. In a mysterious way, Jesus sent his Spirit to comfort and guide his people.
God doesn’t speak to you with a booming James Earl Jones voice, but He does whisper in that still small voice. God speaks to us through His word as we read it or hear it preached. He speaks to us by His Spirit as we take communion together. He speaks to us as we pray together. (For those interested this is from the Westminster Larger Catechism Question 154)
Don’t expect another burning bush any time soon. And that’s OK cause God has spoken.