Hey Friends! In honor of Father’s Day, I thought you’d enjoy a devotional written by our son, Josiah Harling. JJ is an author and speaker, and this week he’s written a blog post to encourage parents in the journey of raising kids for world influence. You can check out more from JJ’s blog at www.josiahharling.com.
Once when I was 8, Dad took his obsession with fire to a new level. While my friend and I watched from a screened-in porch, my friend’s dad ran up a ladder and threw a cup of gasoline on a watermelon-sized wasp nest. Then my dad emerged from around the corner, carrying a homemade t-shirt-and-stick torch. He was larger than life. He ran up the first few rungs of the ladder, touched the torch to the nest, and instantly it ignited into a crazy fireball of smoking fury. Dad sprinted to safety as the burning wasps fell into a trash can placed below. I still can’t fathom how he emerged unscathed.
Like most dads, I think God’s obsessed with fire too.
Imagine the stagnant air as Moses wandered alone through the desert. In the silence I bet he reflected on his life. Raised as the adopted grandchild of Pharaoh, as a young man he killed an abusive Egyptian in an effort to defend his people, the enslaved Hebrews. Sadly, his heroics made everyone want to kill him. Escaping to the desert broke and broken, he was left to care for a bunch of sheep that belonged to his father-in-law. In this humbling state, he met the burning bush.
God called from within the bush “Moses! Moses!”, and Moses said “Here I am.”
“Do not come any closer” God said, “Take off your sandals, for the place
where you are standing is Holy ground.”
That’s the first detail we don’t want to miss. God offered Moses a new story.
Moses had to remove his sandals because the steps that brought him to this point were in his own power. God brought Moses’ story to a close. The story moving forward was to be written by the Holy Spirit. Moses had to let go of the past in order to embrace the future.
God began to explain that he wanted Moses to break his people out from captivity. In verse 14 God said to Moses “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you.”
This is the second detail we don’t want to miss. God offered Moses His presence.
When Moses was paralyzed by fear, God offered His presence. The great I AM; perfectly present. Have you ever noticed that when God gives commands to be strong, it’s always tied to His presence? Look at Joshua 1:9 – “Be strong and courageous, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Jump ahead to chapter 4, as the conversation between Moses and God continues. The two have been going back and forth about whether Moses will accept this task or not. In verse 10, Moses says to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”
Moses assured God that he was the wrong guy. You can almost hear him – “I’m just a common guy Lord. I don’t rescue people! I tend sheep that don’t even belong to me!”
“I’m not a hero who lights wasp nests on fire! I sit on the porch in a comfy chair with my snacks, safely hidden away from any and all danger!”
This is where the story all comes together, and it’s the third detail we don’t want to miss: Through the bush itself, God offered Moses transformation.
God could have used a spectacular vessel. A comet, a spaceship, etc… But a bush? It’s just so… common.
In this powerful imagery, I believe that He’s revealed to Moses that He wants to turn him into a burning bush – a common vessel that becomes supernatural as the Holy Spirit speaks through it and sets it ablaze.
Friends, no one in the body of Christ is sidelined from the mighty calling to proclaim His presence into the darkness of the world. He wants to use us all – ordinary, common people.
God’s writing a sacred new story, in which the common is ignited by the supernatural, to proclaim the glory of His presence into the darkness.
Perhaps you’re wrestling with the story that’s brought you to this point.
God says take off your sandals. You’re not defined by that anymore.
Perhaps you’re wrestling with your calling because you feel fear.
God is pronouncing himself as perfectly present here with you.
Perhaps you’re feeling extremely common and unspectacular.
The Holy Spirit is thrilled with that – because now God can set you ablaze
and, through you, speak His light into the darkness.
Great reminder, JJ! I’m just ordinary and this is fabulous news because God is able to his extraordinary through me. To God be the glory!