Many Second Chances

Mar 18, 2003 11:28 AM EST

Exodus 3:1-10 (NRSV)

Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. Then Moses said, "I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up." When the LORD saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, "Moses, Moses!" And he said, "Here I am." Then he said, "Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground." He said further, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

Then the LORD said, "I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them. So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt."

God called to [Moses] from within the bush, "Moses! Moses!"

- Exodus 3:4 (NIV)

I purchased three small shrubs last year. Amazingly, two are still growing. The other would have made a good candidate for God's burning bush. Well, probably not. It's so brown and dry I doubt God could have kept it from burning up.

I thought of replacing it. Who has time to nurture an old shrub back to health? But out of laziness or frugality (I'm not sure which), I waited. It was easier to pour a little fertilizer on the shrub to give it a fighting chance.

That was a couple of weeks ago. Just back from a walk, I stopped today to look at that forlorn shrub. It had green on it. Still, seeing that the bush's struggle was far from over, I thought, "Oh, just get rid of it and plant a new one."

Then God's familiar voice whispered in my heart, "How many chances have I given you?" Memories of the many times I've disappointed God flooded my mind. Yet God has never given up on me. As with Moses, God sees us for what we can become, not just what we are.

God used Moses 40 years after most people had forgotten him. The God of all generations is still the God of many second chances.

Prayer: Eternal God, help us to remember your undying love and forgiveness. Amen.


Because God doesn't give up on me, I won't give up on others.


Someone who needs encouragement

By Phil Butler, Colorado