Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest
of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came
to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared
to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the
bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, "I will
go over and see this strange sight - why the bush does not burn up."
And God said, "I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain."
"Moses was doing an ordinary thing, living an ordinary life, herding ordinary sheep. Then there exploded in the midst of his life the extraordinary, the miraculous. It moved in against him, addressed him, summoned him, and his life was changed irreversibly. The Bible does not quite know how to talk about the intervention (as we do not know how to speak about it), because the experience falls outside our usual way of talking. So the Bible speaks about a "bush burning," and an odd voice...
"The alternative to promise is despair, which is what you get without the intrusion of this God. There are two kinds of people who despair. There are those who have nothing and who conclude they will never get anything. There are those, who by contract, who have everything, and who want to keep it just the way it is. Both those who have nothing and those who have everything find promises impossible....
happens in one quick rhetorical flourish [when God calls us] is that
God's wondrous resolves are transposed into dangerous human work, to
be sure; but the story of the Bible is the story of enlisting and recruiting
human agents to do the things that God has promised. The book of Exodus
is the tale of Moses' courageous life lived in defiance of Pharaoh for
the sake of God's liberating resolve. Indeed, the resolve of God would
not amount to much without the risky courage of Moses....
"I Will Do It...But You Go" from The Threat of Life