I Have Certainly Seen, I Am Aware, I Have Come Down!

I Have Certainly Seen, I Am Aware,

I Have Come Down…

Exodus 3:1-15

Jesus, Son, Savior

 

It is my prayer for you, that you realize the grace of God, that His merciful love and peace wash over you, cleansing you, as we realize that He has come to us!

 

The Burning Bush?  Big Deal…

It draws our attention like a moth is drawn to a flame, like the day after thanksgiving gathers shoppers to stores.  Like chocolate draws the attention of some people… or like Best Buy adds draw William’s attention… well and mine. 

Yet in our Old Testament reading this morning, it is about as important on its own as the color and smell of the sheep Moses shepherded.

Burning Bushes are interesting, they get our attention, they call us to look at this passage, they gain our attention.

But this passage is about the burning bush.  It is about what God reveals to Moses, something that after this week of challenges I don’t just want to preach about. I need to know it as you do.  I need to know it is as true for us, as it was for Israel.

Verse 7, slightly adapted:

Then the Lord told us, “I have certainly seen the oppression of you my people. I have heard your cries of distress because of the trauma life is tossing at you. Yes, I am aware of your suffering. So I have come down to rescue you.

God says,

I have certainly seen….. I am aware…. And

I have come down
Our struggle – we aren’t sure if He sees, if He is aware…

I think we get that God has come down in the past, in the time where He walked with Abraham, or Moses, or when He inspired King David to write incredible songs of transparency and praise.   We know He was there for the prophets. Yet when God talks so passionately about His people, about seeing them and being aware their troubles, and coming down to rescue them, I think we lose something in translation.

Because we use the pronoun “them”, rather the “us”

There are days I wonder, does God see us the way He saw Israel, does He know the pain we endure, whether it is our grief, or our anxieties.  When our complaints and our brokenness seem unheard, seem that they do not gain His attention.  Just like Israel, crying out for His help, as they struggled under oppression in Egypt.  Faith is realizing the them is us.

So that we can cry out like the man who encountered Jesus, “Lord, we trust in you, help us trust in you!”

We look around to see if there is a burning bush nearby… or maybe we check with our friends, or maybe even our pastor, to see if they’ve seen one. After all – Moses was not outside the Starbucks in Cairo, Egypt when the people were crying out.  He was out in the desert, out in the wilderness, trying to avoid his own problems. Hmmm.. maybe I should check with my friends in Anza and Yucca Valley, see if they’ve seen our bush?

I have to be honest in this, there are the days, where like the Israelites wandering in Sinai, I wonder if it would be better to go back to New Eng..err Egypt.  That the problems and sufferings might have been less there.

We are not the super-heroes of the faith.  Matter of fact, if we read their stories, Abraham, and Moses, David and Jeremiah were not superheroes either.  They struggled as we do, to see God’s presence, to see God’s faithfulness.  

Otherwise, why do burning bushes and arks of the covenant exist?

Because we need to know this: that He sees us, we need to know He is aware… and to remember He has come to rescue us.  We need something to distract us from our normal grind of life, to call us to realize that we stand on Holy Ground… not because of a burning bush or a beautiful sanctuary, but because we live in God’s presence.

But He has… and He therefore comes down!

We are not in the situation Israel thought they were in, when Moses turned back to see phenomena, and instead realized He was in the glorious presence of God.  We are in the journey from that place, on our way to the Promised Land, the place God has set aside for us to dwell with Him eternally.

He has come down! He is guiding us, even as He guided them through the Sinai.  We are not in paradise, in heaven just yet.  He calls us together like a shepherd gathering a flock, like Moses was sent back to Egypt to go get God’s people.  Because our oppressors have been defeated.

It is not in today’s reading but not long after that the miracle at the Red Sea happened. Like this it was prophetic, a picture of our baptism.  When the Israelites walked through that sea – it was to get to the other side.  Passing through the sea was to get them to the place where God arranged for them to live in His presence.  However, those that oppressed them died in the water, they did not pass through it.

Just like that is our baptism, where the goal is not just the removal of our sin, not just to unite with Christ’s death, but with His resurrection as well.  Though we pass under/through the water of baptism that which would and could separate us from Jesus does not.  It died – then and there.  Our oppressor and the sins which enslaved us died and lost all authority over us there.

Because God saw, and was aware of our situation, and came down to rescue us.  The rescue is only the beginning, even as sending Moses to Egypt was only the beginning for Israel!

And He is still here… because He has seen, and is aware… and is with you

 

Flash forward 1500 years, to two more mountains, the first and encounter between another tree, and another man, another appointment arranged by God.  The second mountain, where that man would turn to his apprentices, to send them back to their lives, to free others still captive in sin, still oppressed by it.

Christ would die on that cross, and I pray that everyone we come in contact would turn to look at that tree, on which God was killed, yet would live.

It is that other mountain, that I would look at, to close this sermon and lead us toward prayer.  The words that we know, but again, that we miss part of at times.  The words that send us back out into our worlds, back to the places where people need to know God’s love. 

18  Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19  Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20  Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”    Matthew 28:18-20 (NLT)

All authority is invested by the Father in the Son, and even as the Father sends the Son, so He sends us. Just like Moses was sent.  The key is in the other part of the passage that is underlined.

I am with you… the same message that Moses would hear… as he was sent to deliver people from bondage. The same message those people would hear, as God guided them to the Holy Land. The same promise made to us when we were called into this relationship, the same promise made to every believer, as they are sent to free others from the bondage of sin.  

He is with you.

He certainly sees, He is so aware, and He’s come down to rescue us.

That’s what the tree on the mountain that wasn’t consumed by fire was really about.

That’s what the parting of the water of Red Sea was about.

That’s what the cross on another mountain is about…

That’s what the water of baptism is about..

And it is what this altar, and this meal is about…when we, as Moses was told remember His name. 

Then the Lord told us, “I have certainly seen the oppression of you my people. I have heard your cries of distress because of the trauma life is tossing at you. Yes, I am aware of your suffering. So I have come down to rescue you.

And He brings us into His peace, His indescribable peace that passes all understanding, where Jesus will keep us, mind and heart, safe and secure; for the Lord dwells with you!  AMEN!

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on November 10, 2013, in Sermons, Theology in Practice and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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