Moses is eighty years old when God speaks to Him at the burning bush. But his eighty is not like our eighty. It’s a “new” eighty. After all, he has a tan, works out in the desert, and is going to live forty more years. And even at one hundred and twenty, Deuteronomy 34:7 assures us that he wasn’t feeble.
Eighty is an interesting number in regard to Moses. That’s also the number of years he spends in the desert/wilderness. The first forty is spent tending sheep for his father-in-law while the second forty is spent tending Israel for his Heavenly Father.
Judging from his response when God tells him to go to Pharaoh, Moses doesn’t seem all that eager to leave his father-in-law. Most people would be dissatisfied to still be a junior partner at eighty, but Moses doesn’t seem bothered by it. I’m not suggesting there was anything wrong with the arrangement, but sometimes we can be content when we shouldn’t be. If we’re not where God wants us to be, we shouldn’t be satisfied.
Wouldn’t it be great to have a visualized Bible so that we could see what the burning bush looked like? I’d also be interested in seeing a picture of Moses. After forty years in the desert sun his skin was probably like leather. He had to have sand everywhere—in his hair, his beard, his eyes, his nose, his ears, his clothes, etc. But most of all I think we’d see a seasoned spiritual veteran, someone who’s been there—floated in a basket down the Nile, grew up in the palace of Pharaoh, and spent half of his life in the rugged desert. He has the wisdom that experience brings. Muhammad Ali once said, “If a man thinks the same way at fifty as he did at twenty—he’s wasted thirty years.” In Moses’ case, it’s eighty and forty but the principle is the same. He’s witnessed a lot of life. And now God has a mission for this veteran. There are certain truths about the call of God that apply to all believers.
- It’s based on His timing, not ours. Moses had thought he was ready forty years before (Acts 7:23ff), but God knew it wasn’t the right time.
- It’s based on His ability, and our availability. Moses thought he was ready because he had the best education and training (7:22), and he was in his prime in terms of influence and reputation. He was sent him into the desert to learn it was not by his strength that his people would be delivered, but by the power of God.
- It always disrupts the status quo. Now that the time is right, Moses isn’t ready. He has forty years worth of excuses. But the call always disrupts the way things are because if the status quo were okay, there would be no reason for the call.
- It’s redemptive. Moses leads them out of Egypt’s bondage into the freedom of the Promised Land. God is still interested in rescuing people and He wants to use our lives to do so.
We can learn a lot from a bush!