The Perpetual Euonymus
The angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed. So Moses said, “I must turn aside now and see this marvelous sight, why the bush is not burned up.” When the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am – Hineni.” Ex. 3:2-4
Around the middle of February, I begin to long for spring foliage to appear. The first sign of springtime here in Texas is the appearance of beautiful tulips. Another one of my favorite shrubs is the Euonymus alatus, also known as the burning bush. Although this plant is green for over eleven months of the year, for approximately two weeks in the late fall, the shrub turns a brilliant bright red, thus earning its name – Burning Bush. The brilliant red leaves quickly fall off ,leaving a bare bush. It is usually the last shrub in my yard to lose its foliage.
Unlike the euonymus, the bush that Moses encountered was unique. It was not like any other Middle Eastern shrub. Not only was the shrub burning, it was not consumed. As Moses was a desert dweller, he would have been most knowledgeable about bushes. My guess is that he might have used some bushes for kindling and firewood. Immediately, we see Moses’ awe “I must turn aside now and see this marvelous sight.” Moses uses the word ‘gadol’ which can portray greatness, a word also used for God’s greatness. Yet, even more marvelous is that God spoke from the midst of the shrub. This was the first encounter of a dialog between God and Moses. I don’t know about you, but if I ever encounter a talking bush, a talking animal, a talking anything other than a human, I am going to be overwhelmed, doubting and shocked.
God calls Moses by name and Moses answers “Hineni, Here I am.” When God calls your name, you listen. Has there been a time in your life when you KNEW that God was calling your name? That He was calling you to a specific assignment or task? Moses knew. Not only did he know, he answered God by showing up for duty. Here I am, LORD! Hineni, whatever you want me to do, I am here.
God then proceeds to give Moses direction, encouragement, promises and identifies Himself as I AM THAT I AM. אֶֽהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶֽהְיֶה . Centuries later, we believers still love that beautiful name by which God identified Himself. As we proceed to the book of Acts, flames appeared over the disciples’ heads in Acts 2, during Shavuot, also known as Pentecost. “And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.” Acts 2:3. Fire appeared yet it did not consume. God showed up in a most wonderful way.
God still speaks to us today. Since each one of us is unique, God has His special way of letting us know we are on the right path, that we are loved, that we are His children. The Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit, is God’s invisible megaphone that speaks love, blessings, direction and encouragement into our lives.
One of my favorite ALL-TIME movies is Fiddler on the Roof and one of my favorite songs in the movie is Wonders of Wonders, Miracles of Miracles (Lyrics by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick)
Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles-
God took up Daniel once again,
Stood by his and side and- miracle of miracles-
Walked him through the lion’s den!
Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles-
I was afraid that God would frown,
But like he did so long ago, at Jericho,
God just made a wall fall down!
When Moses softened Pharaoh’s heart, that was a miracle.
When God made the waters of the Red Sea part, that was a miracle too!
But of all God’s miracles large and small,
The most miraculous one of all
Is that out of a worthless lump of clay,
God has made a man today.
Thousands of years later, Broadway lyricists are still writing songs about God’s miracles, about God’s interaction with man, about God’s love for man. The greatest wonder of all is that God’s son, Yeshua, would come, dwell among us, show us how to live and show us how to die. Wonder of Wonders, miracles of miracles! Not only did Yeshua show us how to die, He defied death! He overcame victoriously! Wonder of wonders, miracles of miracles, God still speaks to us. He speaks in the still small voice in a way that His beloveds, us, hear Him. We serve a wonderful God, wonders of wonders, miracles of miracles!