23 Years passed, and the king of Egypt died. But the Israelites continued to groan under their burden of slavery. They cried out for help, and their cry rose up to God.24 God heard their groaning, and he remembered his covenant promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.25 He looked down on the people of Israel and knew it was time to act.[a]
Moses and the Burning Bush
3 One day Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro,[b] the priest of Midian. He led the flock far into the wilderness and came to Sinai,[c] the mountain of God.2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush. Moses stared in amazement. Though the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn’t burn up.3 “This is amazing,” Moses said to himself. “Why isn’t that bush burning up? I must go see it.”
4 When the Lord saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
“Here I am!” Moses replied.
5 “Do not come any closer,” the Lord warned. “Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground.6 I am the God of your father[d]—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” When Moses heard this, he covered his face because he was afraid to look at God.
7 Then the Lord told him, “I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering.8 So I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and lead them out of Egypt into their own fertile and spacious land. It is a land flowing with milk and honey—the land where the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites now live.9 Look! The cry of the people of Israel has reached me, and I have seen how harshly the Egyptians abuse them.10 Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.”
11 But Moses protested to God, “Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?”
12 God answered, “I will be with you. And this is your sign that I am the one who has sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God at this very mountain.”
2:25Or and acknowledged his obligation to help them.
3:1aMoses’ father-in-law went by two names, Jethro and Reuel.
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