1. The Burning Bush

Hearing God’s Call

Exodus 3:1–4:17

Whether we’re waiting for a phone call offering us a new job, a letter granting us admission to a college or an invitation to a special event, we are eager to be chosen. Being chosen opens up new opportunities and responsibilities, while being passed over means continuing in the same routine and problems we’ve had.

The good news of the Christian faith is that the God of the Bible is a God who chooses and calls. God chose Abraham and called him out of Ur to follow him into an unknown land. Jesus chose Peter by the sea and called him to fish for people. Even better news is the fact that God doesn’t just call the great heroes of the faith; according to the apostle Paul, each and every one of us are called (see 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17).

Group Discussion. How has a “call” made a difference in your life?

Personal Reflection. What call of God do you sense on your life right now?

One of the most famous “call” stories of the Bible is the calling of Moses. Read Exodus 3:1–4:17.

  1. How does God’s call to Moses make him both a servant and a leader?
  2. Moses is a shepherd tending the sheep of his father-in-law on the far side of the desert. What struggles might this new vocation have raised for him, after having been an Egyptian prince (see Acts 7:20-29)?
  3. What first impression of God do you think Moses has as he encounters God in the flames of that burning bush (3:2-10)?
    1. How did God first get your attention, and how has that shaped your relationship with him?
  4. God identifies himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (3:6). How might Moses’ view of God have been influenced by his growing up as a Hebrew in an Egyptian household, among people who worshiped many different gods?
    1. What are some common belief systems today, and how do those shape your understanding of God?
  5. After hearing of God’s care for the Israelites and being commissioned by God to be their leader, Moses asks, “Who am I?” What, essentially, is he asking God?
    1. How does God answer that (3:11-14)?
  6. In this passage, what all does God say he will do?
  7. What useful or unique skills and experiences does Moses bring to his calling (see Exodus 2:7-10 and Hebrews 11:23-26)?
  8. As the subtitle of this guide implies, spiritual leadership incorporates both the character of a leader and God’s calling. How would you describe your character?
    1. What dreams do you have for how God might use your character and experience in the future?
  9. Although God gives Moses an overview of all that will follow (3:18-22), Moses still has objections. What reservations do you bring to the call of God in your life?

Ask God to show you ways to use your gifts and abilities for the sake of his purposes for your life. Then pray that you’ll trust him to equip you in all ways to carry out his calling.

Now or Later

Character formation is central to God’s calling for all of us. Spend some time reflecting on the following areas of your life:

List five ways that your family background has shaped your character.

List five abilities or talents that allow you to contribute to the needs of others.

List five ways that you would like to contribute to the growth of your family, your church or your workplace.

In prayer, surrender your lists to God and invite him to shape your character according to his purposes.