The angel of the LORD appeared to [Moses] in flames of fire from within a bush. — Exodus 3:2
As Ascension Day and (soon) Pentecost Sunday focus the attention of the church calendar this month, we can make connections from these events to other Bible passages.
God has always been at work in developing and redeeming a people. From the story of Joseph in Egypt (Genesis 50), we see how God protected a fractured family—Israel—and provided food for them in the midst of a famine. But after several generations, the tables turned, and the people of Israel became slaves to the Egyptians. God heard the cries of his people, however, and would lead them out to the promised land.
The unlikely leader for this mission was a murderer, Moses. He killed an Egyptian to protect someone from getting a beating and then ran away (Exodus 2:12-15). Then, some years later, out in the wilderness, Moses received God’s call by way of a bush that was on fire but did not burn up. As Moses drew closer to this holy ground, God declared that he had heard the cries of his people and wanted Moses to bring them out of slavery. Fire and calling.
As Moses was called into God’s service through holy fire, that event anticipated the day when the Holy Spirit of God would be poured out, in tongues like fire (Acts 2:3), on all who would be messengers of hope and love to a world crying out in despair and anger.