Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tonguesas the Spirit enabled them.
The burning bush must have been a pretty awesome sight, as must have been the tongues of fire resting on the Apostles. We know that the “angel of the Lord” who ignited the bush and spoke from within the bush was God (Genesis 16:7-13; 21:17; 22:11-18; Exodus 3:4-6). We also know that the fire that came and rested on the Apostles was the Holy Spirit manifested, as that was what they were filed with.
An angel of the Lord filled bush looked different, a Holy Spirit filled person spoke different, both were fundamentally different. Both had a fire that burned and engulfed, but did not consume. Moses might not have been the bush, but he was definitely affected by it. After the encounter, Moses was different. Something changed that caused Moses and the Apostles to be different.
The non-consuming fire marked the beginning of a revolution that was God empowered but man enacted. For the people involved, it marked the beginning of a lifelong passion and mission for redemption. With Moses, it was a redemption from Egypt (self-reliance, man’s ability and oppression), with the Apostles, it was a redemption from sin. Both meant salvation for God’s chosen people from oppression that is initiated and driven by God.
Anyone who has a relationship with God has had their burning bush and firey tongue. We are called to redemption; we are called to be redeemers. That is our passion and mission. Do we look different and sound different from before our encounter? We should.