The Betraying Bush; Or, the Church in the World
Exodus 3:1-6
Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert…

Remember also, that you may attain the end of your being in any place; that you may adorn with moral beauty the very humblest sphere; that you may confer upon your position greater dignity than any position could possibly confer upon you. When we read the histories of the world's brightest characters, we seem to forget altogether the social ranks to which they belonged; the dazzling brightness of their heroism, their valour, their truth, makes their outward surroundings of no account; the one prominent fact which forces itself upon our attention is, that they acquitted themselves like. men, and won the admiration of all succeeding ages. Who ever stops to reflect that John Bunyan was a tinker; that Paul the apostle was a tent-maker; that Jesus of Nazareth was a carpenter's son? Be it ours, therefore, not to murmur at our circumstances, but to make the most of whatever circumstances in which we may be placed. Let us learn from this scene how to conduct ourselves in God's presence. Of course, God is present everywhere, our conduct should therefore be an habitual recognition of this solemn fact. Still there are times and places in which we come into God's special presence. When we open God's book, and meditate upon its contents, and endeavour to profit in the study of it, His presence breathes in every page, and speaks words of mercy, warning, and encouragement to our souls. Ah! my friends, it makes one sad to think, how men can treat their Bible as if it were mere trash; how men can repeat their prayers, as if they were useless forms; how men can hear the gospel, as if it were a worthless tale!

I. THE CHURCH IN THE MIDST OF THE WORLD. The primary reference in the text is to the Jewish Church in Egypt. There is an uncompromising antagonism, an eternal conflict, between the Church and the world. And the Church being comparitively small in number, engages in this conflict at great odds. Hence it frequently seems as if she must be eventually overcome. The spirit of this world is in direct opposition to the principles which the Church is commissioned to hold forth. The morality which it propagates is a standing protest against the world's most cherished notions. Is it likely that such teaching as this should provoke no opposition? It has provoked opposition of the strongest, keenest, deadliest kind. I shall not detain you with any account of the horrible persecutions which the Church has passed through during the last eighteen centuries of its history. But in spite of all, the Church has proved itself invincible; though persecuted, it has not been cast down; though burned with fire, it has not been consumed. Nay, we can say even more. The very trials to which the Church has been exposed, have only helped to develop its powers, to widen its influence, to make it what it is at the present day. The bush has been set on fire. True. But what then? The fire itself has been for its benefit; fanned into a mighty conflagration, it has shone all the more brilliantly in the midst of the world's darkness.

II. GOD IN THE MIDST OF THE CHURCH. The glory which appeared in the bush is a fit emblem of God's presence in the Church — His life-giving presence — His protecting presence — His conquering presence. God is in the heart of every true member of the Church, God is the source of his spiritual life, God is the secret of his spiritual power. God's presence is the Church's chief defence. It is not strange that she has been so firm, so immovable, so enduring, when we consider the mighty Being, whose power has protected her. "The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge." But this great fact — this ever-abiding presence of God in the Church — suggests a still more precious thought; for it is a guarantee for the Church's future; its future safety, its future triumphs, its future glory.

(D. Rowlands, B. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.

WEB: Now Moses was keeping the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the back of the wilderness, and came to God's mountain, to Horeb.

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