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A Consuming Fire

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
May 4, 2022 12:01 am

A Consuming Fire

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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May 4, 2022 12:01 am

The burning bush wasn't the first time God revealed His glory in the appearance of brilliant flames, nor would it be the last. Today, R.C. Sproul visits several passages in Scripture to discuss what this radiant glory ultimately reveals about Jesus Christ.

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Imagine hiking through the wilderness and coming upon a bush that's on fire but not consumed far worse in the bush, but not of the bush. What's the significance of that while it indicates that the fire that Moses saw was independent of the bush.

It was not using the bush for its fuel. In other words, the food was something completely different for medical. Moses saw was an experience beyond her comprehension standing on holy ground and talking to God.

As we continued on to our six groceries today on Moses and the burning bush will learn about the fire what it represents and what it proclaims about God's redemptive plan for man, the message is titled a consuming fire to continue now with our U Moses, the burning bush and all that was involved in that particular encounter in our last session, I mentioned that from my redemptive historical perspective that particular incident was not only life-changing for Moses himself but was a watershed moment for all of human history, and we looked at the basic narrative in the first two sessions and from now on I want to be looking at some of the theological implications and ramifications from this event saw turn your attention again tonight just to the first part of chapter 3 of Exodus where we read these words now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the back of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush so he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed and Moses said, I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn now. According to Jewish tradition.

This area of the desert is populated by the most common of bushes that were bramble bushes and the assumption of the Jewish historians was that this particular book was a simple ordinary bramble bush of no great significance in itself, and when this experience occurred to Moses.

The first thing I think we have to understand is that there was nothing at all supernatural about this bush. It was a common ordinary bramble bush doing what common ordinary bramble bushes do in the desert and it's not like there was a miracle performed were God caused a bush to burn that could burn forever without losing any of its substance from the burning process and here's one of those occasions when we read the Scripture that the words that we read in there can be a little bit misleading because Moses is describing this experience.

From what we call a phenomenological perspective that is he tells about it. From what it looked like he's walking along with the sheep there in the desert and he sees the strange phenomenon of a bush burning and he turns aside to see what this bushes burning is all about and he's astonished to see that though the bushes burning. It is not consumed. I'm suggesting perhaps that what Moses saw was a bar in the bush. It wasn't beside the bush wasn't on top or over the bush. Like the flames, and tongues of fire that came down on the day of Pentecost.

On that occasion, but rather from Moses viewpoint.

The fire was coming from inside the bush. But what I'm suggesting to you is that the significance of the statement that the bush was not being consumed indicates that the bush itself was not burning the fire was in the bush, but not of the bush but this at Menan.

What's the significance of that while it indicates that the fire that Moses saw was independent of the bush.

It was not using the bush for its fuel.

That's why it wasn't consumed.

The fire that Moses saw was burning from its own power. It was generated from itself and not from a conflagration of the bush. So what we have here clearly is a biblical example of what we call theophany in the word theophany means we have the first part of the word see all the customer worth the Oscar God and the second part finally come from from that of which means to make manifest the God that we worship is the spirit he is in visible is invisible substance cannot be seen by the human I but there are occasions in redemptive history where the invisible God makes himself visible by some kind of visual manifestation and that's what were encountering here with this experience now to have a bush with a fire in it is what we call in theology.

When the fire is not consuming the bush and activity that is contra mature and activity that is contra mature and contravenes against and the Torah means nature so that this activity that Moses is looking at is something that is completely contrary to nature. This is not a natural phenomenon. It is a super natural phenomenon, usually very phrase contra mature is used to describe what we call the miraculous. I'm not convinced that this was necessarily a miracle that he was witnessing, but it was a super natural reality and what he was saying. Plain and simple in this fire was a visible manifestation of the glory of God. We hear in the Bible about the outward appearance of God's glory and we call that the Shekinah glory, the glory that is revolting the glory that it radiates from the very being of God that is so powerful, so majestic that it overwhelms anyone who ever comes in contact with it and I want us to see that throughout redemptive history at critical junctures at critical moments, God manifests himself the people through the Shekinah glory that is communicated chiefly through some kind of fire I want to take some time tonight to look at some of these episodes, particularly in the Old Testament but not exclusively. There where we see the Shekinah glory of God that flows out of God's inner perfect holy transcendent being's go back for a moment earlier in the Pentateuch to the 15th chapter of Genesis where in Genesis we find the record of God speaking to Abraham and making the promise to him.

There that he will be the father of a great nation.

Remember that Abraham was called by God and God said, I will be your shield and your very great reward and Abrahamson, what reward can you give me. It was already one of the richest men in the world. He said I have all these things, but I don't have a air. I don't have a son. My air is my servant Eliezer of Damascus, God said none of Eliezer will not be your heir, but I'm going to give you a son from your own loins and her old age, your wife will bear you a son, and he will become the father of a great nation and we know the rest of the terms of that covenant and were told that Abraham believed God, and it was common to him for righteousness. But as Godspell always things out that he was going to do for Abraham. Abraham had the basic struggles that we all would have a situation like that so he said he got how can I know this.

How can I be sure that this will happen, but I think I told the congregation at St. Andrews.

On other occasions that one of the strangest for mama. I know of in Christendom is this practice of people have when I go to a conference in a speaker along with other speakers, people come up afterwards and they asked me to sign their Bible for them as if I wrote the Bible and but it's a practice, and so I try to do it but then they not only want the signature, but they want me to give them my life verse not aware this idea ever came from behind hockey take one verse out of the whole Bible make in your life. Verse all Bibles are like birth but people asked for that and I'm a little bit mischievous when I signed Bibles and I write down my verse I write down Genesis 1517 and the people think me and they walk away. Usually what happens is about 1/2 an hour later they come back Melissa, did you make a mistake on this verse that you wrote down there and I said no invasive but I went and looked at this verse that you said was your life verse of I can't make any sense at all. And then I take some time to explain it to them, so images read verse 17 and Genesis 15 and it came to pass, when the sun went down and it was dark, but behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a burning torch that passed between those pieces and I say to people about ever locked up in prison in London in solitary confinement and I can only have one verse and all of the Bible at my disposal. That's the verse I want and people look at me like I'm crazy what's going on here you go through this.

Gary's ritual that God commands Abraham to cut all these animals in half and this gory mess of placing the animals in a pathway like and I'll like a daunting event and then this horrible fear comes upon Abraham and this night vision and it says in this darkness in his sleep. Abraham sees the smoking oven and a burning torch moving between the parties obviously was going well, maybe not so obvious to everybody but it's obvious to me what's going on here in this text is the cutting right of the covenant were God is demonstrating to Abraham through this vision of fire about torch of a burning oven that passes between the pieces. And that is the vision of the Shekinah that's gone in this dream moving between the pieces of these animals that have been cut in half and what God is saying dramatically to Abraham, Abram, how can you know that I'm in a do what I say I'm going to do to you. Here's a I'm just run the gauntlet and what I'm saying to you is that if I fail ever to keep a promise that I make to you. May I be like these animals cut into May. The mutable God suffer a mutation may the internal become temporal the infinite finite.

I'm not swearing on my mother's grave to you. Abraham I am swearing by my own being, I'm putting my deity on the line when I make this commitment to the author of Hebrews pick set up in the New Testament. He says because God could swear by none greater.

He swore by himself and it was an oath by fire. It was an oath demonstrated by the Shekinah glory made visible to Abraham in the darkness of the night. Here we have Abraham and Moses, both having this experience of encountering the Shekinah glory of God in the spire.

The changes their lives go fast forward to the New Testament and we go to the book of acts for the apostle Paul has his experience of conversion on the road to Damascus. We read in acts chapter 9.

These words then Saul still breathing threats and murder against the disciples the Lord went to the high priest and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus that if he found any who were of the way it is rural Christians, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem, and as he journeyed, he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven when he later recalls this before Agrippa. He adds a great light brighter than the noon day sun. A blinding light which was seen not only by Saul, but those who were in his entourage and he fell to the ground and he heard a voice saying to him, Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me and he said who are you, Lord, the Lord said, I'm Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads so trembling and astonished. He said Lord what he want me to do. I hope you didn't miss the parallel there when God appears to Moses he calls him by the repetition of his name was comment further on them. Some later date when he says them out of that burning what Moses Moses now in the Shekinah glory appears to Saul of Tarsus. The voice comes again, out of the midst of that brilliant the Fulton glory, same him, saw Saul, why do you persecute me and this is the moment. This is the encounter that turns Paul's life upside down and makes him the greatest apostle of the biblical era. What is it that happened, what did Paul meet.

He ran right up against the glory of God right up against the brilliant resplendent beauty of the Shekinah. Other other places where this takes place, but let me remind you of one that you're all familiar with that accompanied not only the call of Moses and the call to Saul for the promise to Abraham that accompanied the very moment of the birth of Jesus. Strangely enough, the Shekinah glory wasn't in the cave wasn't in the manger.

It wasn't with Mary and Joseph.

It was like. It appeared to a bramble bush out on the fields outside of Bethlehem where the shepherds were there tending their sheep and we read in the Christmas narrative by Luke the glory of God shown round about them and I like the old translation and they were sore afraid, terrified, so the Angels had to calm them down and say don't be afraid in the Lord's coming here, accompanied by this visible display of the Shekinah glory that should make us all tremble. Nevertheless, they said we are coming with good news with the best of all possible news front, you is born this day in Bethlehem a savior who is Christ the Lord and were going to explore in the weeks to come. How this Shekinah glory. The changes Moses life and changes Saul's life and changes Abraham's life and changes all the world history of Bethlehem is not just linked to God the father but is understood and inseparably related to the second person of the Trinity, that whenever God appears in theophany with the Shekinah glory is not just God the father were dealing with here is I hope we will see in our next time together that ultimately what is being displayed is the glory inherent of God the son from all eternity. So it's not so much what was in that Bush, who was in who was speaking to Moses centuries before Moses would speak to him on the Mount of Transfiguration, which was clearly the most magnificent display of the Shekinah glory anywhere in the New Testament where just as that Bush was burning from inside and not the Bush itself so in the transfigured cheeses the glory that was displayed there on the mountain is not a reflection of the glory that burst through from his concealed deity because with the Shekinah is God's. The glory of God was being revealed to Moses that day in the wilderness this week on Renewing Your Mind were focusing on Dr. RC Sproul series Moses and his encounter with God in the burning bush. Today we learned about the Shekinah glory of God and as we continue the series through the rest of this week.

Learn more about the attributes of God. God revealed himself in new ways to Moses and studying the story opens our eyes to the wonders of our gracious and redeeming God rearing just a portion of the series this week but we like to send you the entire series contained on two DVDs. There are 10 messages at all. Just contact us today with a donation of any amount to look at your ministries. You can reach us by phone at 800-435-4343 or if you prefer you can give your gift online at Renewing Your in Deuteronomy chapter 34, beginning with verse 10 we read and there is not arisen, the profits, since in Israel like Moses, the Lord new face-to-face none like him for all the signs and wonders that the Lord sent him to do.

You know, understanding the life and calling of Moses helps is really sort of connect the dots in God's plan of salvation's plan for his people through all eternity. Again, if you'd like to continue your study. Let me invite you to request Moses and the burning bush discovering the character of God series by Dr. RC Sproul, the two DVD set is available with your gift of any amount to look at her ministries and get her phone number is 800-435-4343 in our web address is Renewing Your Mind.or did you know that you can receive table talk magazine for only one dollar per issue when you request five or more issues each month. This is a special bulk discount that provide you the opportunity to equip your family and friends and church members to live biblically informed lives. Table talk provides daily Bible studies monthly feature articles and an annual Bible reading plan plus exclusive offers on additional leader resources visit Dick table and select the number of issues you like to receive each month will tomorrow.

Dr. Strohl explain more about the Shekinah glory that Moses saw in that burning bush. We hope you'll join us Thursday for Renewing Your Mind

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