He dwells in the bush

Deuteronomy 33:13-16 “Blessed by the Lord be his land . . . with the best gifts of the earth and its fullness and the favor of him who dwells in the bush. May these rest on the head of Joseph, on the pate of him who is prince among his brothers.”

Deuteronomy 33 records the last words of Moses before he died.  it’s a word of blessing pronounced over each of Israel’s tribes.  There’s lots of figurative language that would be good for us to meditate on, for meditation on anything in God’s word brings blessings.  The verse above is an excerpt from Moses’ blessing on those from the tribe of Joseph.  One phrase from this blessing particularly caught my attention.  Moses asks God to bless Joseph with favor, “the favor of Him Who dwells in the bush.” What in the world could this be referring to?  Well, remember it’s Moses speaking here, and it was Moses that had a very famous encounter with a bush.  It was the burning bush episode that we read about in Exodus 3.  Moses was simply tending sheep in the wilderness when he saw the amazing sight of a bush that was on fire but was not consumed.  It caught Moses’ attention, and as he turned aside to look at it, God spoke to him.  What a strange place this was to meet God – in a bush.  Not a towering tree, not a mighty forest, but a plain old bush. 

The Bible has other examples of such things, i.e., God condescending to men to meet them in some very ordinary places.  Think of the manger. Who would have thought God would show up there?  Think of Joseph’s life, the son of Jacob named in Moses’ blessing above. When his brothers threw him into an empty pit, they had a mind to kill him, but they then decided to sell him from there into slavery. And you know what?  God was right there in that pit with him, directing everything that went on.  God was with him in Egypt, whether he was languishing in prison or sitting at Pharaoh’s right hand. God showed up in every place. 

Our great and matchless God, present in such mundane places and such unexpected circumstances. He was there in the Garden when Jesus’ arrest drew near, and He was there on the cross – the last place one would have thought the God of all creation to be.  And what about you and me.  He is present with you all the time, if you are His child. He’s there in your office as you face whatever task is at hand. He’s there in your home, as you care for your child. He’s everywhere we look, including, and perhaps most especially, where we don’t expect to see Him. But that’s just it. His name is Immanuel, God with us.  So, we really should expect Him to be everywhere, but it’s so very easy to forget. 

May God help us to have eyes like those of Jacob, as he slept under the stars in the countryside “all alone” one night. It was there that God opened his eyes to the vision of a ladder with angels ascending and descending from heaven and he saw the Lord high and lifted up.  Jacob exclaimed when he woke up “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it” (Genesis 28:16).  Yes, the Lord is everywhere, no matter what situation any of us might be in.  He is there right now, and He’ll be there tomorrow.  He’s there in times of trouble, and He’s there in times of joy. He’s there in times of sickness, and He’s there in times of health.  Surely “the Lord is near (Philippians 4:5).” May God gives us the faith to believe it!

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