God Works and Speaks in Mysterious Ways; Do We Perceive and Accept Them?   1 comment

Above:  The Burning Bush on the Seal of the Church of Scotland


Exodus 3:1-12 (An American Translation):

While Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, he led the flock to the western side of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, Horeb.  Then the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire, rising out of a bush.  He looked, and there was the bush burning with fire without being consumed!  So Moses said,

I will turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush is not burned up.

When the LORD saw that he had turned aside to look at it, God called to him out of the bush.

Moses, Moses!

he said.

Here I am!

said he.

Do not come near here,

he said,

take your sandals off your feet; for the place on which yo are standing is holy ground. I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Then Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look at God.

I have indeed seen the plight of my people who are in Egypt,

the LORD said,

and I have heard their cry under their oppressors; for I know their sorrows, and I have come down to rescue them from the Egyptians and bring them up out of that land to a land, fine and large, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the country of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivvites, and Jebusites.  Now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have also seen how the Egyptians are oppressing them; so come now, let me send you to Pharaoh, that you may bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.

But Moses said to God,

Who am I, to go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?

He said,

I will be with you and this shall be the sign for you that I have sent you.  When you bring the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God at this mountain.

Psalm 103:1-7 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

Bless the LORD, O my soul,

all that is within me, bless his holy Name.

Bless the LORD, O my soul,

and forget not all his benefits.

3 He forgives all your sins

and heals all your infirmities;

He redeems your life from the grave

and crowns you with mercy and loving-kindness;

He satisfies you with good things,

and your youth is renewed like an eagle’s.

The LORD executes righteousness

and judgment for all who are oppressed.

7 He made his ways known to Moses

and his works to the children of Israel.

Matthew 11:25-27 (An American Translation):

At that time Jesus said,

I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for hiding all this from the learned and the intelligent and revealing it to children.  Yes, I thank you, Father, for choosing to have it so.  Everything has been handed over to me by my Father, and no one understands the Son but the Father, nor does anyone understand the Father but the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.


The Collect:

O Lord, mercifully receive the prayers of your people who call upon you, and grant that they may know and understand what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to accomplish them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


There are many proposed explanations of the burning bush.  It is, I grant, an interesting academic question, but that is beside my purpose here.  No, I care more about formation than information.  Whatever Moses saw and heard, and however he saw and heard it, it led him to leave his exile as a shepherd in Midian and to return to Egypt, where he was wanted on a murder charge, to confront the Pharaoh and lead the Hebrews out of that empire.  Moses had a speech impediment, about which he was self-conscious.  So his question about whether he was the appropriate choice for this assignment was natural.  But God was with him.

(The rest of this story will follow in the next installment in this series of devotions, according to the Canadian Anglican lectionary. )

Now I switch channels to the Gospel of Matthew.  This prayer of Jesus occurs in the context of our Lord and Savior facing rejection.  The religious establishment has rejected him, but many of the common people, almost all of whom were poor, accepted him.  Consider these facts when reading those three verses.  Be sure to avoid an anti-intellectual interpretation, for the human brain, with its great potential, is a gift of God.  As an Episcopalian, I employ scripture, tradition, and reason in my faith life.  And as an intellectual, I relish the life of the mind.

God works and speaks in mysterious ways.  Do we recognize them?  And if we do, do we embrace them?  Be honest; how would you respond to a burning bush?  Or, if not for religious tradition over nearly 2000 years, would you accept Jesus?  When you read–really read–the words of the canonical Gospels, do you recoil at the moral teachings?

I leave these questions with you, O reader, to consider prayerfully.





Adapted from this post:




Posted April 18, 2012 by neatnik2009 in Exodus 3, Matthew 11, Psalm 103

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One response to “God Works and Speaks in Mysterious Ways; Do We Perceive and Accept Them?

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  1. Pingback: Week of Proper 10: Wednesday, Year 1 « ORDINARY TIME DEVOTIONS BY KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

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