Ellen G. White Writings

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The Youth’s Instructor

December 13, 1900

The Burning Bush

Nearly two thousand years ago a voice of strange and mysterious import was heard from the throne of God: “Sacrifice and offering thou wouldst not, but a body hast thou prepared me: ... then said I, Lo, I come:” “in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.” Here is made the announcement that Christ is to visit our world, and become incarnate.

God ordained that his chosen church should be educated in regard to the coming of the Redeemer. Ways were appointed whereby the infinite sacrifice to be made for the redemption of man might be gradually revealed. Impressive symbols were employed to unfold the plan of God. Those who desired to look into these things might understand them.

This system is not to be passed over in our study of the revelation of truth. From the time when the promise was made in Eden, Christ was shadowed forth in types and symbols. The light gradually increased,—becoming more and more distinct until the fullness of the time came. Then the great Antitype, the originator of all the Jewish economy, appeared in our world. In Christ, type met antitype. The gloomy shadows were lightened by the appearance of him who was the full signification of all the symbols.

The burning bush, in which God appeared to Moses, revealed Christ. There is living truth in this spectacle. In mercy God was about to deliver his people from Egyptian bondage; and he appeared to Moses, telling him that he had been selected as the visible leader of God's people. Moses was chosen by the Lord as his representative to bear a message to Pharaoh. He must receive his commands directly from God: a most important responsibility had been placed upon him.

Moses had received a thorough education in the court of the king of Egypt. He was qualified to be the honored general of armies, and to engage in warfare with other nations. But although he was the king's recognized grandson, with a prospective kingdom before him, and although he had enjoyed the highest educational advantages that Egypt could offer, he was not qualified to engage directly in the work to which the Lord saw fit to call him; he was not fitted to take his place as the visible leader of a vast multitude, receiving from God instruction in regard to framing their laws, and laying the foundation of their economy in a system of types and symbols; he could not then lead the people of God through the rocky, barren desert into the land of promise. He must first receive an education from heaven.

He who sees the end from the beginning, watched over and guarded his servant. God transferred Moses from the courts of luxury, where his every wish was gratified, to a more private school. Here the Lord could commune with Moses, and so educate him that he would obtain a knowledge of the hardships, trials, and perils of the wilderness. He gave him sheep to care for, that he might become qualified to be the shepherd of God's people. God saw that the experience Moses would gain while minding sheep would qualify him to be the leader of his people; it would enable him to sympathize with those who had everything to learn. It was necessary to select for this position a man who was tender, patient, and sympathizing,—a man whose heart would ever be touched by human woe, as a shepherd is touched by the sufferings of the sheep and lambs of his flock.

God designed to make of Moses a channel through which he could communicate instruction to an undisciplined people, whose worship of God was mingled with idolatrous sentiments. From these sentiments this worship must be purified before they could be made the depositaries of truth, which was to be held in trust for future generations. During the forty years in which Moses was engaged in pastoral work, he was obtaining a knowledge of God. It was while he was following this lowly calling, that the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire in the midst of a bush. Moses looked, “and behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.” This arrested his attention, and he said: “I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.”

Let this lesson be carefully studied. Before God could talk with Moses, he educated him in the mountains, among the sheepfolds. Exiled from the courts of Egypt and from the temptations of city life, Moses held communion with God. For forty years God tested and disciplined him, preparing him for his important work. For forty years Moses dwelt in the wilderness, receiving from God an education that made him a wise, tender, humble man. When this time was ended, his self-confidence was gone; he was meek and lowly, so divested of self that God could communicate to him his will in regard to the people he had chosen, and whom he designed to educate and discipline in their wilderness life, while he was preparing for them a home in the land of Canaan.

Mrs. E. G. White

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