July 3, 2022
This past Sunday's 1st Scripture reading was Exodus 3:1-12. This passage in Exodus is where Moses meets God for the first time. It’s an interesting encounter for a number of reasons. Firstly, an Angel of the Lord appears to Moses in the form of a burning bush -- a bush that burns, but is not consumed. This most unusual phenomenon draws Moses’ attention and he determines to check it out. As far as I can recall, this is the one and only time the burning bush-thing is observed in Scripture. However, it is reminiscent of something that appeared way back in the beginning, in the Book of Genesis -- Genesis 3:24, in fact. It is written there about God banishing Adam and his wife, Eve, from the garden. It reads:
“He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.”
Further on in one of the psalms, Psalm 104:4 to be exact; it is written:
“(H)e makes his messengers (angels?) winds, his ministers (also angels?) a flaming fire.”
The above comment is again repeated in Hebrews 1:7. “He makes his angels winds, and his ministers a flame of fire.”
The burning bush, although not a tree as we might think a tree to be, does, sort of, bring to mind the Tree of Life (the same being personified by Jesus, himself) that was guarded by an angel with a “flaming sword” that turned in every direction. An angel? A flame in all directions? A tree/bush of some sort? Could the burning bush and the guarded Tree of Life be related somehow. God seems to dwell within both. And, of course, Moses was warned to keep his distance from the burning bush (similar to Adam being expelled away from it.) Moreover, Moses was commanded to remove his sandals as he (Moses) was walking on Holy ground. (Incidentally, centuries later the priests that were to serve in the Temple in Jerusalem were also required to serve barefooted as they, too, were walking on Holy ground.)
True, it may be a bit of a thin connection; but a connection nonetheless? Remember, it was “an angel of the Lord '' that spoke from the burning bush; and with such authority, that the angel will be thereafter referred to as God Himself speaking.
It is also interesting to note that when God told Moses that He heard the cries and appeals of His children, Israel, in Egypt and that He was sending Moses to liberate them from the Egyptian bondage, Moses resisted, and said to God:
“Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”
And God answers in a very left-handed way. God said to Moses that he will give him a sign that he, Moses, was sent by God to fulfill this task. But God will give Moses the sign AFTER he does the task! The following is what God said to Moses:
"He (God) said, “But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”
So, it would appear, God was telling Moses that he would, in fact, fulfill the task God was giving him. In reality, Moses didn’t have a choice in the matter. It would be done as God said it would be done. Let us not ignore Proverbs 19:21
“Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails.”
Or, Isaiah 46:10
“declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’”
Yes, Moses’ first encounter with God is, indeed, an interesting narrative. Especially as it reveals God’s purpose is never thwarted. All that He proposes comes to fruition -- whether any of us agree with any particular one or not. God calls the shots -- all of them -- and all the time.
Come Soon Lord, Jesus!
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Something New at Sunday School!
Be sure to check out our Sunday School page to see what's been happening. There are new photos to see of our kids and what they have been doing.
Check out the link below to the Merrimack Valley Life website and to a story about the Stickney brothers of Salem, NH. Anyone who has a history with the North Salem United Methodist Church should find the story presented at the link very interesting. Please check it out and be sure to take note of our own late and great Wally Stickney!
Take a gander of the "Happenings" page to see who have just received their first new Sunday School Bibles!
Of special interest, click the link below to see an article published on the website
"The Conversation" that may be of great interest to those familiar with the story of the destruction of Sodom and the rescue from the city of Abraham's nephew, Lot. Both events are depicted in the Book of Genesis. The article is thought provoking indeed. And so with that, everyone is encouraged to give it a read.
Two Continuous Hours of Traditional Christian Hymns
Sunday Morning Worshp Services - Live & Recorded
This Thursday, July 7, at 7:00 p.m. the NSUMC will again conduct another of its Biblical Exploration series. This week's Scriptures focus will be:
We will once again conduct this Thursday's session fully virtual. So please note, there will be no face-to-face meeting in the church Fellowship Hall! To join in on Thursday's study, please just click on the Zoom Meetings link below to gain access -- just one click and you're in! Of course, we welcome any new participants to join us as well.
Remember, we will be examining the Scripture passages that will be read at the following Sunday morning worship service. And that, so all may have a clearer understanding as to what will be read and perhaps preached about.
So once again, please see, and utilize, the Zoom Meeting link below to join our meeting, and I look forward to seeing you all at 7:00 p.m. this Thursday evening.
Over Three Hours of Contemporary Christian Music