Scripture Reading: Exodus 2
Do you ever wish God would just show up in a burning bush and tell you clearly what He wanted you to do?
Then I have some good news for you: I believe God wants to do that for you, too! Why? Because while we’re looking for a burning bush, God is looking for a burning heart―one that burns with the same desires for which His burns.
When I take a close look at the years leading up to Moses’ burning bush experience, I can’t help but think that God didn’t choose Moses at random. In chapter 2 of Exodus, we read that Moses’ heart was bent on rescuing people years before God called him to rescue an entire nation. Three times in the passage preceding the burning bush, we see a burning heart:
1) He tries to rescue a fellow Hebrew who was being beaten by an Egyptian;
2) He tries to rescue two fighting Hebrews from each other;
3) He tries to rescue Jethro’s daughters from the attacking shepherds.
Here’s a man whose heart was set on rescuing people. So when God was looking for a man to rescue the entire nation of Israel from slavery, to whom did He look? To Moses, a man whose heart was already burning to do the very things that God wanted done.
The lesson for me in this passage is that a burning heart precedes a burning bush. Sometimes we’re looking for a burning bush when God is looking for a burning heart. He’s looking to see if we’re eager to do the things that He wants done. And when He sees a burning heart, He often puts His finger on that person and says, “I choose you for this task because you have shown yourself eager to do the very things I want done.”
I remember hearing a pastor from Germany speak to a group of us in the United States, asking if any of us wanted to join him in doing missionary work in Germany. Several hands went up. Then he asked, “Okay, what things have you been doing here in the U.S. with Germanic people?” None of those in the audience had an answer for him. He continued, “When I see that you’re working with Germanic people here and that you truly have a heart for them, then let’s talk about coming over to Germany and helping me with my work. I want to know that your heart is really in it.”
I had some friends who had a heart for Chinese people. They wanted to go to China someday to live and laugh and learn and share with the Chinese. So they started by inviting Chinese people into their home while they lived in the United States. They did this for several years. When God was looking for someone to go to China, whom do you think God called? They eventually moved to China to live among their people God had put on their heart, and were able to change even more lives for Him.
When you look at the lives of people like Moses, the Apostle Paul and Joseph, you’ll see that while each of them had rather dramatic “burning bush” experiences, their ultimate calling was not radically different from what they had been doing all along: serving God with their whole hearts and doing His will all along the way.
There’s good news in all of this for you, too: know that while you’re looking for a burning bush, God is looking for a burning heart. In fact, He’s actively looking throughout the earth for people whose hearts are fully committed to Him. 2 Chronicles 16:9a says:
“For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”
God is continually looking at our hearts. Are they fully committed to Him? Are they burning to do the things that He wants done?
If so, know that God wants to strengthen you in the work you’re doing. If not, pray that God will set your heart on fire today for the things that fire Him up. Either way, be encouraged! Once your heart is burning for God, He’ll see it, and He may even speak to you in your own “burning bush.”
Want to learn more? You can watch a podcast with more discussion about this topic below.