By Titus Chu
So Moses said, “I must turn aside now and see this marvelous sight, why the bush is not burned up.”
– Exodus 3:3
The first time the Hebrew word for vision was used concerning Moses was at the burning bush on Mount Horeb (Exo. 3:3, translated “marvelous sight” in NASB). In this vision Moses saw God Himself. God showed Himself as the origin, the process, and the goal of Moses’ mission. God works uniquely for His testimony, and what He does always manifests Himself.
This is very different from our concept. Our concept is that God wants to do a lot, and so we try to accomplish a lot for Him. God’s desire is not a lot of activity, and that is why He will tell some seemingly prevailing workers, “I never knew you” (Matt. 7:23). God does not want accomplishment, but manifestation. His goal is not to do a lot. God may commit us with some work, but eventually in fulfilling that commitment, God Himself is manifest.
What God Desires
After seeing the vision of the burning bush, Moses asked God who He was. In response, God told Moses two crucial things. First He told him His name, “I am that I am” (Exo. 3:14). Second He told him what He was after. (v. 8, 17).
If any of us were asked our name, we could give a prompt answer. If we are descended from someone honorable or famous, we would be sure to mention it. But if we are asked what we are after, most of us would be hard pressed to give a clear answer. When we are young, the answer might be to find a spouse. When we are older, we might say we want to raise a family. Still later, we might desire to advance in our career. If we are spiritual, we might say that our goal is Christ and His church. But what do we mean when we say “church?” Each us us may define the church differently, and none of these definitions may match what God desires. We actually don’t know what we are after.
God Desires His People
God knows exactly what He wants. He will do everything to produce it and he will eventually gain it. Only then will He be satisfied. What does he want? First He says He wants a special treasure. This treasure does not consist of the riches of the world, but of the people he has called out of the world to Himself. The mission Moses received through this vision was firstly to bring the Israelites, God’s chosen people, to the mountain to be with God (Exo. 3:12).
I know a musician who had a very good, very expensive violin. It was her treasure. One day she set her violin down, and when she came back, it was gone. Someone had stolen it. She was really upset for quite some time. Then she discovered her violin for sale on eBay. She didn’t bother to report it to the police. She simply bought it back and was so happy! Her treasure was her’s again.
We are God’s treasure. Satan stole us away, but God found us and bought us back. He values us and will never let us go. This is not only true individually, but also corporately. This is why He said that the children of Israel collectively were to become His treasure in the Old Testament (19:5), and the church is His treasure in the New Testament (Matt. 13:44; 1 Pet. 2:9).
God’s Desire Does Not Change
What we treasure varies based on our age and circumstances. Many times children will express great interest in some special toy. It seems at the time that this is the only thing they want. The parents may spend a lot of time and money searching for the item only to find that the children have lost interest by the time they give it to them.
As we grow older our desires continue to change. Once we are married, our spouse is our treasure. We have eyes for no one else. Then we have children, and everything changes. All parents like to show off their kids. We think ours is the most beautiful baby ever. We make movies and take pictures to memorialize our new treasure. Our eyes are no longer uniquely on each other. Our children are the center of the universe, and nothing can replace them. But wait a few years and our children will get married and have children of their own. Then our grand children become our new special treasure.
What we treasure will vary based on our stage of life. But God will never change. He is the same from eternity to eternity. When He says He loves us, it will never change. When He says He loves the church, it is forever. God knows exactly what he wants. We as His church are His treasure eternally.
No one is more blessed than those who treasure what God treasures. We may each live in different ways according to our culture, but if we are God lovers, our treasure will be the same. “We love Him, because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). In the same way, we love the church because He loved it first (Eph. 5:25). We treasure what God treasures. This is the best way to live.
God Desires the Good Land
For His People
God said of His people:
“I have come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey.”
– Exodus 3:8
He wanted to give them the best land with the richest produce. This showed how He loved and treasured the children of Israel.
In the New Testament, God treasures us as His redeemed and regenerated people. We are the ones who make up His beloved church. He wants us to abide in the good land which is Christ. He wants this for us not objectively, nor theoretically, but subjectively, with real participation. We are all invited to enjoy the milk and honey produced in this rich land.
Too few Christian realize that God is so enjoyable. He is drinkable as the living water (John 4:10; 7:38). He is eatable as the bread of life (6:35). God can be our rich supply because we were brought to Christ our land from the day we were saved. God’s treasure is to have such a group of people in Christ enjoying Him as their rich, full salvation.
God Desires His People
to be Free
First, God treasures us as His people. Second, God treasures all our enjoyment of the good land. Third, God told Moses to tell Pharaoh that he should no longer rule over His people, that he should let His people go (Exo. 7:16). This means that we need no longer be held under the dominating authority of the world as represented by Pharaoh.
There are some among us who are studying classical violin to eventually become professional musicians. They work very hard and practice many hours every day. When they play and their unbelieving classmates play they are all very good, but there should be a difference. When they play, it should be under God. When their classmates play, it is under the Pharaoh of this world, Satan. Once we are saved, we should begin to realize that God treasures us and wants Christ to become the all inclusive supply for our enjoyment and satisfaction. We will then run from the dominion of Satan.
God Desires Us
to Serve Him
Fourth, God said that His people were to serve Him in the wilderness (Exo. 7:16). When God sends someone to lead His people, as He did with Moses, the result should always be a life of service.
If I come here as a graduate from Princeton, Oxford, or Harvard divinity school with a lot of knowledge and teach you a lot of high religious theology, you may enjoy my messages and say that I am a good speaker. But this kind of speaking is useless if it only tickles your ears and doesn’t lead you out of Egypt into a life of service. We need speaking that will cause us to abandon the world and throw ourselves into the Lord’s hands to serve Him.
How meaningful it is to be one with God’s desire! First God says He really treasures us; second He says He will take care of us by bringing us into His good land; third He brings us out of the power of darkness, Pharaoh’s dominion; fourth, He brings us into His service. God’s plan for our life is just that simple. Praise Him!