As we enter into the powerful third chapter of Exodus, we are about to discover more concerning the nature of our Savior, and the many facets of His manifestations. It begins with vs.1 where we read: Now Moses was pasturing the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian; and he led the flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. The Hebrew tense gives the impression that Moses was pasturing the flock for a very long time, but now, he was about to change flocks and pasture the flock of God instead.

Verse one says that Moses went to the west side of the wilderness. The Hebrew is somehow strange; it really means the back side, or behind the wilderness. Translators chose the word west, since the front is east where the sun rises, so the west would be considered behind. But there must be something more to it than that.

If God is seen in the area designated behind, that is, at the extremities of the wilderness, this perhaps indicates that this is where He very often is, waiting at the end of what is wilderness, the midbar in Hebrew, speaking of where it is arid, desert and dry.

The Lord is at the end of every hard journey, waiting to comfort. Although arid and dry, this would be at this very place where Israel would come to meet Him and receive the Law. So it is for every believer; when times are tough, God is waiting at the end our journey but He is not only waiting in inactivity; on the contrary, He is making sure that the path is straight for us to reach Him.

We find as well, another similar word to dry and arid in this same verse. The place where Moses found himself was Horeb, the mountain of God. The word Horeb itself is defined as extreme dryness. It comes from the Hebrew word harev, meaning waste or desolate. Why would God manifest Himself in such arid places? Perhaps because this is when we are more prone and ready to listen to Him. He would not always come to us when we are relaxing at a beach or at a moment when we are so satisfied with life that we don’t want to be disturbed.

Here then is the first of 17 mentions of the name Horeb. This is where the Lord spoke to Israel when He gave His Law. Horeb is another name for Sinai, which means thorny. So, the verse opens up with two powerful words: wilderness & Horeb.  This is where the mountain of God is. This is where we meet Him.

Now, it is in the next two verses where God reveals Himself in such a grandiose way. This encounter must have baffled Moses, for it was here where Moses asks the Lord for His name again. Let us read vs.2-3, The Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed. So, Moses said, “I must turn aside now and see this marvelous sight, why the bush is not burned up.”

Concerning the word angel, we might misunderstand what is sense should be applied here. When we say angel, we think of those divine celestial beings, like the ones who were present at the birth of the Messiah or those found in the book of Revelation.

But is not exclusively to them that the Bible attributes the term, angel. An angel in the Bible does not always describe the nature of the individual but can also point to his mission. This word angel has been applied both to man and to Yeshua.

In Malachi 3:1-2, for example, we find a prophecy of the coming of John the Baptist and of Yeshua and both are called angels or messengers. It begins with the words “Behold, I am going to send My angel, and he will clear the way before Me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the LORD Almighty. The first reference to angel is John the Baptist. We know this from the Gospels of Mark, Luke and Matthew. And then we read of the second Angel or messenger of the Covenant who is Yeshua Himself.

Now this is how the Bible uses the term angel which really is a messenger or a representative. Getting back to Exodus 3:2, we see that this Angel is the Angel of the LORD… and LORD is God’s proper name. God will not give His glory to another, and so this Messenger is Himself. It is one manifestation of His glory. He is both the Messenger and the Message as He is both the Priest and the ultimate Sacrifice. He is our Savior.

The Hebrew term malach, or angel is from the root word lehach, meaning to delegate. It is one through whom a work is executed. If the work of God is to save and to redeem the world, only He can do that and so the Messenger can only be Himself. He, being omnipresent, makes Himself visible to man, as He does right here in Exodus 3. And the passage confirms this for the Angel of the Lord is called the LORD, Jehovah Himself and He is called God, Elohim Himself.

So then first, we read that the Angel of the LORD appeared. He came down to earth for His people. This is the first time He appears in this form, in the midst of a non-consuming bush on fire. Second, we are given the reason for His coming:  we read that the LORD saw. He saw the suffering of Israel. To see is more than just see but rather to experience, to pour and invest oneself in another person’s life. In Vs.7 we see the Lord’s deep involvement…He has seen their suffering. Third, we are told that God called. He calls Moses for his mission to go and bring the Israelites to the promised land.

And so, we have here, the Angel of the Lord, the Lord and God; the physical manifestation of God through His omnipresence. So, the Angel of the Lord is called Jehovah and called God in the same text.


Click here for Exodus, Sermon 3: “He Who Dwells in the Bush