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The Message of the Burning Bush

When Moses has his first encounter with God at the Burning Bush, Moses questions his own worthiness to bring the Israelites out of Egypt. God tells Moses that he is worthy, even if only because God is sending him and will be with him. God then gives Moses a sign by which he can know that he is the right one for the job: when Moses’ mission is complete and the Israelites are free, the Israelites will worship God on the very mountain on which Moses first encountered God.

The timing of the sign is puzzling. God presumably gives it to Moses to boost his confidence as he set out to go to Egypt, yet this proof will only actually be revealed once the Exodus had already taken place. That’s a little too far into the mission to allow Moses to back out. 

But isn’t life like that all too often? We come to an intellectual conclusion that something is the right thing to do, knowing well that the results will only be seen far in the future, perhaps even after we have left this world ourselves. Despite that, we follow our convictions and do what needs to be done.

Moses knew the Israelites were suffering and that something had to be done about it. God was encouraging him to find the courage and confidence to do what was right, despite the dangers and uncertainties involved.

At the end of the day, it was better for Moses to try to do the right thing and fail, than to not even try. We, too, need to be willing to stand up for justice and equality even at the likely chance of failure, with confidence and hope that if this action alone doesn’t accomplish our goal, it may inspire others to try and eventually succeed. Inaction to injustice is the most dangerous response of all.