The Burning Bush
1One day Moses was taking care of Jethro’s sheep. Jethro was the priest of Midian and also Moses’ father-in-law. Moses led the sheep to the west side of the desert. He came to Sinai, the mountain of God. 2There the angel of the Lord appeared to Moses in flames of fire coming out of a bush. Moses saw that the bush was on fire, but it was not burning up. 3So Moses said, “I will go closer to this strange thing. How can a bush continue burning without burning up?”
4The Lord saw Moses was coming to look at the bush. So God called to him from the bush, “Moses, Moses!”
And Moses said, “Here I am.”
5Then God said, “Do not come any closer. Take off your sandals. You are standing on holy ground. 6I am the God of your ancestors. I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” Moses covered his face because he was afraid to look at God.
7The Lord said, “I have seen the troubles my people have suffered in Egypt. And I have heard their cries when the Egyptian slave masters hurt them. I am concerned about their pain. 8I have come down to save them from the Egyptians. I will bring them out of that land. I will lead them to a good land with lots of room. This is a land where much food grows. This is the land of these people: the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 9I have heard the cries of the people of Israel. I have seen the way the Egyptians have made life hard for them. 10So now I am sending you to the king of Egypt. Go! Bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt!”
11But Moses said to God, “I am not a great man! Why should I be the one to go to the king and lead the Israelites out of Egypt?”
12God said, “I will be with you. This will be the proof that I am sending you: You will lead the people out of Egypt. Then all of you will worship me on this mountain.”
13Moses said to God, “When I go to the Israelites, I will say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors sent me to you.’ What if the people say, ‘What is his name?’ What should I tell them?”
14Then God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.# The Hebrew words are like the name “YAHWEH.” This Hebrew name for God, usually called “Lord,” shows that God always lives and is always with his people. When you go to the people of Israel, tell them, ‘I AM sent me to you.’”
15God also said to Moses, “This is what you should tell the people: ‘The Lord is the God of your ancestors. He is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. And he sent me to you.’ This will always be my name. That is how people from now on will know me.
16“Go and gather the elders and tell them this: ‘The Lord, the God of your ancestors, has appeared to me. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob spoke to me. He says: I care about you, and I have seen what has happened to you in Egypt. 17I have decided that I will take you away from the troubles you are suffering in Egypt. I will lead you to the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. This land grows much food.’
18“The elders will listen to you. And then you and the elders of Israel will go to the king of Egypt. You will tell him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, appeared to us. Let us travel three days into the desert. There we must offer sacrifices to the Lord our God.’
19“But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go. Only a great power will force him to let you go. 20So I will use my great power against Egypt. I will make miracles happen in that land. After I do this, he will let you go. 21And I will cause the Egyptian people to think well of the people of Israel. So when you leave, they will give gifts to your people. 22Each Hebrew woman will ask her Egyptian neighbor and any Egyptian woman living in her house for gifts. Ask for silver, gold and clothing. You will put those gifts on your children when you leave Egypt. In this way you will take with you the riches of the Egyptians.”