Exodus 3: 3 Things You Didn’t Know About The Burning Bush

If Exodus is THE book of the Old Testament, then Exodus 3 is THE chapter of THE book of THE Old Testament. Sorry, I got a little carried away there.

This is the burning bush for crying out loud! (which, BTW, was one of my favorite scenes from “The Prince of Egypt.“)

The story is pretty well known: God speaks to Moses from a burning bush and tells him to go back to Egypt and together they will free the people from the slavery and oppression of the Egyptians blah blah blah.

But what about all the things you didn’t know? Oh yes my friends! Bring on the list!

3 Things You Didn’t Know About The Burning Bush

Burning Bush, St Catherine's Monastery

This is thought to be the type of bush Moses saw. And I've seen it with my own eyes!

photo © 2008 Dale Gillard | more info (via: Wylio)
1) Moses could have Missed It

he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. Then Moses said, ‘I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.’ When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush,

(I can’t fully take credit for this one. Thanks Andrea!)

Given the serious nature of the task he was calling Moses to, God could have justifiably come in a much more powerful way – like a pillar of fire or smoke or in a cloud shaped like a lion with the voice of James Earl Jones. Instead, he takes the subtle route, waiting for Moses to come to him.

Waiting for Moses to be curious.

Which begs the question: What if Moses had decided that he didn’t care? What if he decided that the sheep were more important?

2) God Is Fine With Inefficiency

So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.

God didn’t have to do this through Moses. It was very clear in the beginning of Genesis that God was quite capable of doing huge things all by himself. Remember what he did to those turgid tower builders? Surely he could handle Pharaoh!

But no. He wants to use Moses. He wants to work alongside someone.

Why do you think that is?

This isn’t going to be a quick trip. This is going to be long and painful. People are going to die. A kingdom is going to be brought to it’s knees.

All because God is fine with inefficiency.

3) God “Knows” Suffering

I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings

That’s a new phrase for the Bible. I know about God seeing and hearing things. But knowing suffering?

The Hebrew word for that is “yada.” Yada is a word that has a wide range of meaning. It can be as simple as knowing information to as deep as “knowing your wife” if you “know” what I mean.

Which one is it here? Is it possible that God is intimately aware of the suffering of his people because he has experienced it himself?


That’s my list. Which ones surprised you the most? Did I miss any? Did I just share obvious things that you knew about a long time ago? The comment section is open for business!

7 responses

  1. Rock solid insight! I think the item on your list that surprised me the most was #2 – that God is ok with inefficiency – I mean what’s more inefficient than hand-picking 12 unlearned sheep herders and bass masters to be entrusted with spreading the good news??? I doubt any of them even had Toast Master training! Regardless it’s a great reminder that God wants us just as we are to become more than we can imagine we’ll be!

  2. Recently heard that seeing a burning bush was normal day to day activity in this part of the world. But, what was NOT normal was it not being consumed. God can use the simple, every day to teach us anything.

    I really like #2: God is fine with inefficiency. WOW! That is a big one for me. I’m all about efficiency, but it is often at the expense of real people, their feelings, their journey, and their path. Being efficient is all about completing the task and has nothing to do with the process. God is concerned with the process, not just the end result.

    • Great thoughts Keri!

      I was also wondering about how unusual seeing a burning bush would be in a desert.

      That inefficiency thing raises all kinds of questions for me. What’s crazy is that this is one of those times where the goal is really important! Get those people out of Egypt! But he still chooses to go the long route.

  3. Found your blog today and am getting a kick out of it. Like the idea that God waits for us to get curious. And that he knows our suffering. These are not new ideas but I haven’t seen them connected to this story before. Thanks for sharing, I look forward to reading more.

    • Excellent! Yeah, I had never noticed that in the burning bush story either. Thanks for stopping by! You are always free to add your thoughts and questions to the discussion!

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