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Day 4 Dancing in the Fire: Set Apart

“The Lord said, ‘I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have given heed to their cry because of their taskmasters, for I am aware of their sufferings.’” Exodus 3:7 NASB


The holy ground surrounding the burning bush of the fire of God represents three vital aspects of our Christian walk. Once we have accepted all three, then we are ready to make our way down from the holy mountain and follow a path of righteousness and holiness in our everyday lives.


The Place of Calling: “’Therefore, come now, and I will send you to Pharaoh, so that you may bring My people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt.’” Exodus 3:10 NASB


In biblical symbolism, Egypt often represents life’s struggles and hardships, as well as personal bondage. Joseph, although originally sent to Egypt as a slave, was elevated to a position of authority, and saved his father Jacob and the rest of his family from famine. They all eventually returned to their homeland. Another Joseph fled to Egypt with his wife Mary and their newborn Baby-King, Jesus, in order to escape the butchery of King Herod, thanks to a warning from some wise men from far away eastern lands. The holy family was, however, destined to return to Galilee as a fulfillment of prophecy, and to bring true salvation to God’s chosen people.


Moses’ calling was to begin the deliverance process that would eventually culminate in Christ’s crisis on the cross and the triumph of the tomb. Thus, the Great Deliverer received his own stripes by facing down the leadership of the nation which had raised him, just as Jesus would do centuries later.


Our own personal calling will always include the need to face our personal fears, and overcome the struggles of our lives. This conquest can only be accomplished when we walk in the holiness of the One Who saves, sends, and sanctifies.


The Place of Confession: “But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt.’” Exodus 3:11 NASB


Moses recognized his own shortcomings, and wondered – out loud - how in the world a great God could use such a weak-minded, stuttering shepherd. God was determined to turn Moses’ weaknesses into strengths and to take his major strength – His faithfulness to His God – and use it to defeat what many considered to be an unconquerable foe.


Our backgrounds do not matter to God as far as our mission in life is concerned. Whether we are called to our next-door neighbor or to the far reaches of the earth, all that matters to God is our willingness to use the gifts He has given us for the purpose of spreading His message of love, repentance, salvation, and peace to those who need to hear it. In the process, He will make us “more than conquerors” (see Romans 8:37) in order to defeat the foes that seek to devour us.


While it is also true that a prophet is not without honor except in his own hometown and household (see Matthew 13:57), this obstacle did not in any way prevent Moses or Jesus (or many others) from preaching, teaching and presenting God’s message in those places. We simply need to realize that in our own strength we can do nothing, but with God all things are possible (see Matthew 19:26), and that we can do anything through Christ who strengthens us (see Philippians 4:13).


The Place of Consecration: “And He said, ‘Certainly I will be with you, and this shall be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God at this mountain.’” Exodus 3:12 NASB


When God calls us, which begins at the moment of our salvation, He begins to prepare us to be sent out to “make disciples of all nations” (see Matthew 28:19). The ongoing process of becoming a tried, tested and true disciple of Jesus Christ is known as sanctification, the act of being set apart for the purpose of fulfilling God’s divine and holy plan. Sanctification is closely related to consecration, as both describe the Holy Spirit’s commitment to making followers of Christ dedicated to becoming “perfected” or holy and righteous individuals in God’s kingdom. Such was God’s pronouncement upon Moses as he prepared to leave the consecrated bush. Such is God’s commendation upon us as we rise from our altars of gladness and joy to become lights in dark places, planting seeds of hope for the future where others are only familiar with an agonizing past, as were the Israelites being held in their Egyptian bondage.


As we rise, turn, and begin our descent, one look back will show us that God’s bush is still burning, and as we head down the mountain, one look up will show us that the Way, the Truth, and the Life, is no longer on the cross, but is fully resurrected, and His Holy Spirit is holding out a beautiful crown, anointing oil filled with joy, and shiny garments of praise (see Isaiah 61:1-3) that have been set aside (sanctified, consecrated, made holy) just for us – and they will not be consumed!


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