“After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai. When he saw this, he was amazed at the sight. As he went over to get a closer look, he heard the Lord say. ‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.’ Moses trembled with fear and did not dare to look.
- Acts 7:30-32
“If you wish to
strengthen your confidence in God still more,
often recall the loving way in which He has acted toward you,
and how mercifully He has tried to bring you out of your sinful life,
to break your attachment to the things of earth and draw you to His love.”
- St. Alphonsus Liguori
In the post Out of Context a couple of days ago, I made the statement that a human response to new fad religions, or off-shoots of Christianity based on an obscure verse in the Scriptures, is like a moth attracted to an artificial light.
In Moses’ case, he was attracted to the burning bush because the bush was never consumed. I am sure Moses had seen burning bushes on the mountain before. A storm appears. There is lightning. A bush catches on fire. Moses looks to see if there is a lot of underbrush in the area. He is looking to see if the fire might spread and endanger his flocks. If not, he turns back to his flocks. He knows that the bush will be consumed. There will not be any fuel to sustain the flame and the fire will go out. This assumes that the storm has moved on. A heavy rain might put the fire out long before the bush is consumed.
What Moses saw was not artificial light, but the flame may not have been physically real. It was a physical vision of the spiritual presence of God. Thus, the flame was self-generating – not consuming the bush at all.
The Scripture is from Stephen’s speech (sermon) to the Sanhedrin. Stephen was the type of personality that drew other people to him. Like Moses was drawn to the burning bush and a moth is drawn to an artificial light, Stephen was a bright flame whose light was snuffed too early.
When Stephen was killed, he confessed that he saw heaven’s gates opened wide and Jesus on the right hand of God (Acts 7:56).
We are each attracted to the light, but is it the true Light or an artificial imitation?
When I read this quote for Julie’s post a couple of days ago on Cookie Crumbs to Live By, I thought of the classic lines from Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Jessica Rabbit : You don’t know how hard
it is being a woman looking the way I do.
Eddie Valiant : You don’t know how hard it is being a man looking at a woman looking the way you do.
Jessica Rabbit : I’m not bad. I’m just drawn that way.
(If you have been living under a rock for a long time and know nothing of this movie. It is a blend of a real world and a cartoon world. Jessica Rabbit is the voluptuous cartoon wife of Roger Rabbit, a cartoon rabbit. Eddie Valiant is a detective from the real world. So, she was literally drawn that way.)
It uses a different meaning of the word ‘drawn,’ but the quote shows one of the problems we have in the Christian life. The world has all its attractions and distractions. God has a different plan, and that plan is at odds with a fallen world.
I have mentioned lately that I played Marryin’ Sam in Li’l Abner my senior year of high school. In one scene, he is giving his sales pitch for the different types of weddings that he could perform for the young couples of Dog Patch. The most expensive wedding, maybe $10 – I can’t remember, was described something like this. “I get four mules and tie them to my arms and legs and have them driven each in a different direction, north, south, east, and west while I recite quotations from Alf Landon.”
As a brief sidebar, Alf Landon ran for president against FDR in 1936 and lost in a landslide victory for FDR. Landon got 8 electoral votes to FDR’s 523. Possibly Landon’s most famous quote was “Wherever I have gone in this country, I have found Americans.” Can we even say that anymore? Whether the statement is true or not, is it Politically Correct?
The point I was making in the quote from the musical is that we often feel like Marryin’ Sam, pulled in multiple directions while trying to keep our head up and do our job.
And sometimes, we are like Jessica Rabbit. She tried to be good, but she was drawn as if she were bad and bad seemed to find her wherever she went. At some point, it seems inevitable, and we slide down that slope of no return.
But Moses was attracted to an eternal flame and he discovered the eternal God. The quote above by St. Alphonsus Liguori says that if we become drawn to God by His love and His mercy, the bonds of attraction to this world can be broken. Thank you, Julie, for the quote and inspiration.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.