The Burning Bush
1Moses’ father-in-law was named Jethro.#3:1 Jethro He is also called Reuel. Jethro was a priest of Midian. Moses took care of Jethro’s sheep. One day Moses led the sheep to the west side of the desert. He went to a mountain called Horeb,#3:1 a mountain called Horeb That is, “Mount Sinai.” the mountain of God. 2On that mountain, Moses saw the angel of the Lord in a burning bush.
Moses saw a bush that was burning without being destroyed. 3So he decided to go closer to the bush and see how a bush could continue burning without being burned up.
4The Lord saw Moses was coming to look at the bush. So he called to him from the bush. He said, “Moses, Moses!”
Moses said, “Yes, Lord.”
5Then God said, “Don’t 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.
7Then the Lord said, “I have seen the troubles my people have suffered in Egypt, and I have heard their cries when the Egyptians hurt them. I know about their pain. 8Now I will go down and save my people from the Egyptians. I will take them from that land and lead them to a good land where they can be free from these troubles.#3:8 land … troubles Or “a spacious land.” It is a land filled with many good things.#3:8 land … things Literally, “land flowing with milk and honey.” Also in verse 17. Many different people live in that land: the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. 9I have heard the cries of the Israelites, and I have seen the way the Egyptians have made life hard for them. 10So now I am sending you to Pharaoh. Go! Lead my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.”
11But Moses said to God, “I am not a great man! How can I be the one to go to Pharaoh and lead the Israelites out of Egypt?”
12God said, “You can do it because I will be with you. This will be the proof that I am sending you: After you lead the people out of Egypt, you will come and worship me on this mountain.”
13Then Moses said to God, “But if I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors sent me,’ then the people will ask, ‘What is his name?’ What should I tell them?”
14Then God said to Moses, “Tell them, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’#3:14 I AM WHO I AM The Hebrew words are like the name YAHWEH (“Lord”). When you go to the Israelites, tell them, ‘I AM’ sent me to you.” 15And God said, “Tell the Israelites that you were sent by YAHWEH, the God of your ancestors—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob. This will always be my name. It is how I want the people to remember me from now on.
16“Now go and call together the elders of the people. Tell them that YAHWEH, the God of your ancestors—the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—appeared to you. Give them this message from me: ‘I have been watching over you and have seen what people in Egypt have done to you. 17And I have decided that I will take you away from the troubles you are suffering in Egypt. I will lead you to the land that now belongs to others—the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. I will lead you to a land filled with many good things.’
18“The elders will listen to you. And then you and the elders will go to the Pharaoh. You will tell him, ‘YAHWEH#3:18 YAHWEH Or “the Lord.” See “YAHWEH” in the Word List. is the God of the Hebrews.#3:18 Hebrew Or “Israelite.” Also in verse 22. He came to us and told us to travel three days into the desert. There we must offer sacrifices to YAHWEH our God.’
19“But I know that the Pharaoh 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 cause amazing things to happen in that land. After I do this, he will let you go. 21And I will cause the Egyptians to be kind to the Israelites. They will give many gifts to your people when they leave Egypt.
22“All the Hebrew women will ask their Egyptian neighbors and the Egyptian women living in their houses for gifts. And those Egyptian women will give them gifts of silver, gold, and fine clothing. Then you will put those gifts on your children. In this way you will take away the wealth of the Egyptians.”
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