In a flame of fire

There would be times when Moses would look up for a reply. Not this day, however. God is on the ground level.

“God called to him out of the bush (v.4).”

When the Scripture goes on to report how Moses hid his face, I can think of a reason for him to fear beyond fear in the biblical, reverential sense of the word. Moses had killed a man.

I wonder if he was surprised, then, to hear what God had to say. I’m not saying that God and Moses never hashed out his sins of old. I’m saying that as Moses hides his face in Exodus 3, the Lord wants to talk about a people, not a person.

Moses fled to Midian because he messed up. He messed up big time. And when God gets his attention by way of a not quite forest fire, God calls Moses to go back to the place from which he ran for his life (v.10).

I read somewhere, a while ago, how God’s justice is often more like justice- mercy. God goes about making things right in a way whereby mercy finds people who may or may not deserve it, from our perspective. The two (justice and mercy) are at work at once, in varying proportions as God sees fit.

Though I am tempted to say that this is poetic justice -- this business of God sending Moses back to the site of his great sin -- this story is not about an individual experiencing a fitting or deserved retribution for his actions.

This a story about the fullness of God squeezing into a flame of fire and wooing a man as flawed as any to go and respond to the cry of the Hebrews. The Lord takes whatever fear Moses felt for Moses and gives him something else over which to fret.

It would be karma if it weren’t for the fact that “what Moses gets in return” isn’t a thing. Forget ‘in return’. Moses gets the chance to participate in salvation history. God’s mercy to one advances God’s justice for a whole host of others.


Rachel May