What does Exodus 3:3-4 really mean?

Exodus 3:3-4 is about the encounter between Moses and the burning bush, symbolizing God’s presence and communication with humanity through extraordinary events.

3 And Moses said, “I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.”
4 When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.”


Setting the Scene for Exodus 3:3-4

In Exodus chapter 3, we find Moses, a former prince of Egypt who had fled to Midian after killing an Egyptian taskmaster. He is now a shepherd, tending to the flock of his father-in-law Jethro. One day, as he leads the flock to the far side of the wilderness, he comes to Horeb, the mountain of God. The scene is set in the vast and rugged wilderness, with the majestic mountain looming in the distance.

As Moses walks along, he notices a bush that is on fire but is not consumed by the flames. Intrigued by this miraculous sight, he decides to approach it. It is at this moment that he encounters the presence of God in the form of a burning bush. The voice of God calls out to Moses from the bush, instructing him to remove his sandals because he is standing on holy ground. This encounter marks the beginning of a significant moment in Moses’ life, as God commissions him to go back to Egypt and lead the Israelites out of slavery.

Surrounded by the vast expanse of the wilderness, with the only sound being the bleating of sheep and the gentle rustling of the wind, Moses finds himself in a sacred and awe-inspiring moment. The burning bush becomes a symbol of God’s presence and power, setting the stage for the pivotal role that Moses will play in the liberation of the Israelites.

What is Exodus 3:3-4 about?

This powerful verse encapsulates the momentous encounter between Moses and God, as Moses is called upon by name to take on a monumental task of leading the Israelites out of Egypt. The burning bush symbolizes the divine presence of God and the sacredness of the moment. This encounter marks the beginning of Moses’ journey as a prophet and leader, chosen by God for a specific purpose and mission.

Imagine standing in front of a burning bush, hearing your name called by the divine. What thoughts and emotions would flood your mind? For Moses, this moment was life-changing, as he was given a sacred duty to free his people from oppression. This verse reminds us of the power of God’s calling and how it can transform our lives, guiding us towards our true purpose and destiny. Moses’ encounter with the burning bush serves as a powerful reminder of how God can use ordinary individuals to carry out extraordinary tasks, showing that with faith and obedience, anything is possible.

Understanding what Exodus 3:3-4 really means

In the narrative of Moses and the burning bush found in Exodus 3:3-4, we witness a profound encounter between Moses and God, a moment that would shape the course of history for the Israelites. As Moses tends to the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, he comes across a bush that is ablaze yet remains unconsumed by the flames. This extraordinary sight captures Moses’ attention, prompting him to declare, “I will turn aside to see this great sight.” This statement reflects Moses’ curiosity and openness to exploring the extraordinary, a trait that sets the stage for his divine calling.

When Moses demonstrates his willingness to investigate further, the text reveals a pivotal moment: “When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him.” This interaction underscores a fundamental principle of divine engagement – God responds to our actions and intentions. Just as God took notice of Moses’ curiosity and interest, He acknowledges our efforts to seek Him and engage with the spiritual realm. This dynamic highlights the reciprocal nature of our relationship with the divine – our openness and curiosity invite God’s presence and guidance into our lives.

These verses resonate with broader themes found throughout the Bible, such as Isaiah 6:8, where the prophet responds to God’s call with readiness and willingness: “Here am I. Send me!” Similarly, in 1 Samuel 3:10, Samuel’s attentive response to God’s voice exemplifies the importance of being receptive to divine communication. The parallel between these passages underscores the significance of being attuned to God’s call and actively participating in His plans for our lives.

In a contemporary context, the story of Moses and the burning bush serves as a poignant reminder of the value of openness to divine encounters. Just as Moses turned aside to investigate the extraordinary sight before him, we are encouraged to remain receptive to moments where we sense a divine presence or calling in our lives. By cultivating a spirit of curiosity and openness, we create space for God to reveal Himself to us in unexpected ways, leading to profound spiritual growth and understanding.

Consider the story of Sarah, a young woman who feels a compelling urge to volunteer at a local shelter without fully comprehending the reason behind her inclination. Despite her initial uncertainty, Sarah chooses to follow this inner prompting. Through her act of obedience and openness, she encounters individuals at the shelter whose stories deeply impact her faith and sense of purpose. Like Moses’ decision to investigate the burning bush, Sarah’s willingness to explore the unknown ultimately leads her to a deeper understanding of God’s plan for her life and the transformative power of divine encounters.

In conclusion, the verses from Exodus 3:3-4 offer valuable insights into the dynamics of divine communication and the reciprocal nature of our relationship with God. They prompt us to reflect on our receptivity to spiritual encounters and our responsiveness to God’s call in our lives. By emulating Moses’ curiosity and openness, we position ourselves to experience the profound ways in which God engages with those who seek Him earnestly. Let us heed the call to turn aside, to investigate the extraordinary, and to embrace the divine encounters that shape our spiritual journey.

What does God want to reveal to us today?

God wants to reveal to us that He is present in the midst of our everyday lives, even in the ordinary and mundane tasks that we may be engaged in. Just like how He appeared to Moses in a burning bush while he was tending to his flock, God is seeking to reveal Himself to us in the midst of our daily routines and responsibilities. We should always be open and attentive to His presence, as He may be speaking to us or calling us to something significant, even in the midst of the ordinary.

Furthermore, God may be reminding us that He sees us and knows us intimately. God knows each of us by name and has a specific plan and purpose for our lives, just as He called out Moses by name from within the burning bush. We can take comfort in the fact that God is attentive to our individual circumstances and is ready to speak to us personally. We should approach Him with reverence and attentiveness, ready to listen and obey His voice.

This passage also serves as a reminder that God reveals Himself to us in ways that are both mysterious and awe-inspiring. The burning bush was a miraculous sign of God’s presence, capturing Moses’ attention and causing him to draw near. We should remain open to the ways in which God may choose to reveal Himself to us, whether through extraordinary signs or through the still, small voice of His Spirit. Our role is to be attentive and responsive to His leading, recognizing that He may be speaking to us in ways that are beyond our understanding.


Embrace the fiery passion within you, like Moses at the burning bush. Take a moment to truly connect with the divine energy around you, with humility and an eager mind. How will you choose to step towards God’s whisper in your life today?