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…
I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES IN WHICH MOSES WAS, WHEN THE LORD APPEARED TO HIM IN THE DESERT. Keeping sheep. What a contrast to his employments in youth! Yet probably this was the happiest part of his life. Time for reflection and for poetical musings.
II. THE NATURE OF THE APPEARANCE.
1. The emblem in which the Church was held forth — "Bush." If numbers and splendour are the mark of a true Church as its properties, where should we find for many ages the Church of God? Seldom in the Old Testament, never in the New. The Church of God was once enclosed in the ark; at this time it consisted of a number of slaves and brickmakers.
2. The condition in which it was found. "Burning with fire." Grievously oppressed and persecuted.
3. Its preservation. "Not consumed." The blood of the martyrs has ever been the seed of the Church.
4. The cause of this security. The angel of the Lord was in the midst of it.
III. THE ATTENTION IT AWAKENED. Let us, like Moses, turn aside, and contemplate His revelations.
IV. GOD'S PROHIBITION, OR RATHER, REGULATION. A check on curiosity. Be satisfied with the facts of Christianity, without the philosophy of them. Be content with the use of things, rather than attempt to dive into their nature and their qualities. Take the religious controversies, which have occupied so much time, and which have injured so many fine tempers; and what have they commonly turned to, but things too deep for human reasoning to fathom, too lofty to be soared to without presumption, or too insignificant to merit regard?
V. GOD'S ADDRESS. All along, from the beginning, God has shown favour to some for the sake of others. Under the law He was called — "The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." because the covenant made with them was for Israel: in him they were blessed, and for his sake they received all things. But now the covenant made for the spiritual Israel, was made with a far more glorious character; it was set up from everlasting — from the beginning, ere the earth was. His name is Jesus: it is in Him that we are accepted; it is in Him that we are blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places; it is for His sake that we receive all things. And therefore, while of old His style was, "The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob," it is now, under the gospel, "The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." There are two things derivable from this address of God, when He says, "I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." The first is, that unquestionably, therefore, Moses had some knowledge of a future state. He does not say, He was "the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob"; but, "I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob"; their spirits are with Me now; their renewed bodies shall be, by and by, as certainly as they are now in the dust. You observe, also, that God sustains His relationship to those of your connections, who are gone before.
VI. Let us observe THE IMPRESSION MADE UPON MOSES. "And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God."
1. Here you see, first, that Divine manifestation always produces self-diffidence and abasement.
2. You see, also, how little we can physically bear. "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God"; the splendour would be too much for the eye, the sounds too much for the ear; the poor frame would break down under that "far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.