Uncomfortable (S1) - Day 15

Exodus 3:1-12

"3 One day Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian. He led the flock far into the wilderness and came to Sinai, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush. Moses stared in amazement. Though the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn’t burn up. 3 “This is amazing,” Moses said to himself. “Why isn’t that bush burning up? I must go see it.” 4 When the Lord saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!”“Here I am!” Moses replied. 5 “Do not come any closer,” the Lord warned. “Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground. 6 I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” When Moses heard this, he covered his face because he was afraid to look at God.7 Then the Lord told him, “I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and lead them out of Egypt into their own fertile and spacious land. It is a land flowing with milk and honey—the land where the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites now live. 9 Look! The cry of the people of Israel has reached me, and I have seen how harshly the Egyptians abuse them. 10 Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.” 11 But Moses protested to God, “Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?” 12 God answered, “I will be with you. And this is your sign that I am the one who has sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God at this very mountain.”
Why include such a long text today? Because the first time we really encounter this paradox of God’s holiness is in this story. What is the paradox? It is that God is the source of life, it is that God is unique in his existence in the universe, and that God is powerful. All these things come together to be much like the sun in our solar system. It is powerful, unique, and our source of life. But if you get too close to it, it destroys you.

In this story, we see that in the presence of God, things are made holy. The ground where Moses stood became holy not because the ground had any sort of efficacy or special ingredient. It became holy because God showed up and imbued it with his presence, which is holy.

We have a tendency to think that holiness means morality, or that it means we will make better decisions than we have previously. And certainly an ability to see what is right and wrong and make decisions accordingly is important, but holiness in scripture is bigger than that. It encompasses the totality of who God is and what God can do. It is his character, both moral and intrinsic. It is his ability to create, to set apart, and to bequeath meaning on something (like the Sabbath), and it is his overwhelming power that he wields for love.

So how are we going to be asked to be holy like God is holy?

I think that is a fair question, and one we will reach into over the next few days.


  1. When you think of the Holiness of God, what do you think about? 
  2. How can you understand the width and depth of God’s holiness? 
  3. Do you ever feel his holy presence?

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