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. Exodus 3:1-3
A defining moment is a point in life when we are compelled to make a pivotal decision or experience something that fundamentally changes who we are. For example, when a man and a woman get married. Or, when a person gives their life to Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
When Rosa Parks refused to give her seat on that bus to a white man, it was a defining moment for her and her people. When a young 26-year-old-pastor of Montgomery’s Dexter Avenue Baptist Church named Martin Luther King Jr. was elected to lead the Montgomery bus boycott, it was a defining moment for King and the Civil Right Movement.
In today’s text, Moses has an encounter with the Angel of the Lord on the back side of mount Horeb. After a traumatic ordeal in Egypt where he had to flee for his life after killing an Egyptian, Moses was content to be a husband, father, and shepherd in Midian. Moses had no plan or interest to become a liberator or freedom fighter. He certainly did not want to go back to Egypt under any circumstance to face Pharaoh. But his burning bush experience was a defining moment that fundamentally changed his life and purpose.
We all experience defining moments at different stages in life. As frightening as these experiences could be, we should trust the Holy Spirit to help us make the right decisions so we can continue to live to the glory of God. Defining moments has a transformative effect on our perceptions and behaviors. Yet we do not have to be afraid or weary of them because they are a necessary part of our personal and spiritual growth.
For the believer, a defining moment is an opportunity to take their faith journey to a higher level. It is an invitation to trust in the Lord with all our hearts and not lean on our understanding. In all our ways we are to acknowledge Him so He can direct our path in the present and future. Believers should not make a life-changing decision without divine instructions and revelation. After all, only God knows the plans He has for us.
When the angel of the Lord told Moses He was sending him back to Egypt to tell Pharoah to let the Israelites go, Moses tried his best not to accept the assignment. Many believers are forfeiting their defining moments because they are afraid of the challenges they will face. Defining moments requires us to take a leap of faith even when we are afraid.
Many people are frustrated because they are afraid to experience something that will fundamentally change who they are. Thus, they are forfeiting their opportunity to become a trailblazer with an enduring legacy. But those who are willing to confront their metaphorical “burning bush,” and let God order their steps, will experience great achievements through the power of Almighty God.
Even when defining moments come through negative experiences, we should not allow negativity to define who we are and who we become. That’s what made Rosa Parks and Dr. King revered leaders. They did not allow the racism that led to their activism to define whom they became. Calvary was a defining moment for Jesus and His disciples. Yet, Jesus conquered Calvary, death, and the grave to leave a legacy of redemption and salvation for those who believe in Him.
Whatever mental, emotional, or physical trauma you’ve experienced, you do not have to live a traumatizing life. Those of us who have experienced racism or sexism do not have to live in bitterness and resentment. Those experiences may have a transformative effect on our perceptions, but they should not hinder us from loving others, serving with kindness, and living with grace as commanded by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Questions for Personal Reflection
What should you do when facing a defining moment?
What are the benefits of having a relationship with God when facing a defining moment?
Prayer- Blessed Lord, may your Holy Spirit lead and guide me to be transformed by the renewing of my mind so I can make godly decisions when facing a defining moment. Please help me to trust you and not let fear keep me from doing my God-giving assignment no matter how challenging that assignment may be.