God arrived first. The condition of the Hebrews was worse than when He saw them last. Men walked through the streets with welts on their naked backs that hurt so badly shirts would have sent echoes of the pain throughout their bodies. The taskmasters liked it that way for the sight of red puss-filled stripes kept other men and even haughty women in line.
"I found you Lord!" exclaimed Perambula as the angel glided into the place where God stood observing His people Israel.
Perambula looked down and gasped at the sight of a young man, no more than fifteen years old, being whipped and screaming out while the others and his father watched.
A loud cacophony of prayerful cries as a tidal wave blew past Perambula and God from slave hearts begging for relief. The angel looked over at God's face for reaction and then down at boys bent over transporting stones half their weight while muddy sweat trickled down their brows.
Screaming hearts that only God and Perambula heard wounded the dense dusty air. Words broke through shrill sound. "Lord deliver us from these evil men! Come Lord, quickly before we perish in despair!" "Help me! Save me! Take me! Let me die!"
Invisible God and Perambula watched as three young boys walked by them together in short steps; the boys were no older than ten and they each had their ankles tied together to prevent them from running. Expressions of sadness and fear on their beautiful faces cast dark shadows on their path.
Perambula shot God a look of fury and shouted, "How can You allow this! Listen to these cries! You call these Your people! Look at this misery in every house; men and women fight with their brothers and sisters; the more humble men and their miserable wives don't dare speak to each other to find relief in silence. I have never seen such injustice! How cruel men can be! How demonic; worse! The demons are only shrewd, not violent. DO something! Now!"
A temperate breeze was God's initial response. "I allow the sun to circle the earth, I allow avalanches to destroy, lions to kill. I planned every moment of gestation down to the formation of minuscule neonatal hair follicles; I allow you to question Me. Oh my dear Perambula, when will you learn the value of suffering? But then how could you ever know this from your ethereal existence? Wait before you judge Me.
I am testing them in the furnace of adversity, for My own sake. For My own sake, I do it* (Isaiah 48:10). The horror that you see are seeds of a lesson that will rival the Flood. The metamorphosis of a slave into a free man is even more significant than the evolution of humanity after the devastation of the Flood. Can anyone appreciate light without suffering darkness and death? Can I know which hearts are pure unless tested by fire?
Israel is my first born son (Exodus 4:22). It is not good enough for Me to know this; Israel must know Me and want Me, and acknowledge Me as his Father. Moses is My mid-wife who will deliver My son into My hands."
"Speaking of Moses, where is he? Did he go to jail for killing the Egyptian?"
Without acknowledging the question, God departed and Perambula followed close behind. They arrived at Horeb, the mountain of God where Perambula instantly recognized a friend in a most unusual situation.
"What are you doing here Gracefeld?! Don't you see the flames surrounding you? Get out from there!" exclaimed Perambula.
"Shhhh!!" Replied the angel, "Be quiet and watch!"
Indeed Gracefeld had created a most spectacular sight. The angel managed to reside within a flame. The bush that surrounded the angel burned brightly and yet did not turn to ashes.
Perambula looked over in the distance and recognized an older and more tattered Moses approaching the spectacle in curiosity with his flock following closely. Gracefeld stood patiently waiting for Moses to arrive.
"Okay Gracefeld, stand back with Perambula. I'll take over now." said God as He entered the center of the flames. Gracefeld respectfully hovered over to Perambula and together they watched the bewildered Moses approach.
"Moses, Moses" God called from the bush.
Moses was at first drawn by the curious blazing bush and then shocked by The Voice that emanated from it. His flock of sheep neighed loudly in fear. Moses drew closer to the flames and replied, "Here I am."
God warned, "Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground." God paused to give Moses time to comply which he did very clumsily while unlacing his sandals.
When Moses finished, he looked up at the bush again and heard, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." Moses, being raised in Pharaoh's court and having no intimate contact with the Hebrew people, did not know of Abraham, Isaac or Jacob, but he was aware that there was a God of the Hebrews.
Moses turned away in fear. He would have run, but either because he was without shoes and the ground was sharp with rocks and pebbles, or because his thighs were paralyzed with fear, Moses fell to his knees and covered his face with his long muscular arms.
Gracefeld looked over at Perambula to see how the angel was reacting to this conversation between God and a human being. Perambula's face was expressionless and deep blue angel eyes were fixed on Moses. Gracefeld wondered whether Perambula was shocked or deeply curious.
God bellowed loud enough for Moses to hear through the spectacle of the flames, "I have observed the misery of My people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed I know their suffering."
Perambula leaned over to Gracefeld and whispered, "Of course He has, for centuries!"
Moses was amazed and confused. The Voice had called Himself God. Never had Moses known God to speak to a man. In fact Moses, like all the Egyptians and most of the Hebrews, had no knowledge of God at all. His heart started to beat rapidly, his hands became numb with fear, but his eyes having escape the refuge of his arms became fixed on the burning bush.
As Moses listened to the Voice of God, it occurred to him how he and God had this in common, that they were of the Hebrew people without living among them. They both cared deeply about the injustice of their slavery from their positions removed from the actual plight of the people. "How odd, how surreal," thought Moses, "that a flesh and blood human being could have something in common with an invisible, yet supremely powerful intelligence, such a mysterious and awesome Being is 'God'." Moses wondered if he was dreaming as he listened to the Voice of God as the sound of thunder from the heavens.
Ignoring the tumult within Moses, God continued speaking nonchalantly as if there was nothing unusual in their conversation. God, for the first time since creation, overrode His own laws of nature to initiate a most unique relationship with Moses. Surely God spoke to Noah and to Abraham before, but never to the extent that He intended to speak to, and to use Moses. "I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians," continued God, "and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land flowing with milk and honey, to the country of the Canaanites."
Perambula leaned over to Gracefeld and whispered,"There He goes again with the same promise of land that He strung Abraham along with for so long. I wonder if He will actually deliver it this time."
While God listened to Himself mention the Canaanites, a flash of the man Ham entered His Holy Mind. Ham, the father of Canaan who shamefully looked upon his naked father Noah and was cursed for it, then God went on, "the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites. The cry of the Israelites has now come to Me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them. So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt."
Perambula whispered, "We'll see!" The two angels looked over at Moses whose eyes were as big as swollen summer figs. Perambula was still amazed that Moses could hear God speak. Gracefeld was much more calm as if God spoke to humans every day. Gracefeld knew that God chose Moses from the womb, for this purpose. Only could a Hebrew raised in Pharaoh's court have the presence and personality to defy Pharaoh to the extent that only God knew would be necessary. But first Moses had to be humbled and removed and that phase, accomplished in Midian, had run its full course.
Moses composed himself enough to reply to God as if he was speaking to his father-in-law, "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?"
God answered, "I will be with you; and this shall be a sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain."
Perambula said to Gracefeld, "What kind of a sign is that? What proof to the humans?"
"Shh, be quiet!" replied Gracefeld.
Instead Moses inquired, "If I come to the Israelites and say to them, "The God of your ancestors has sent me to you, and they ask me, 'What is His name?' what shall I say to them?"
God said, "I am who I am. You shall say to the Israelites, I Am has sent me to you. Tell them that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My title for all generations.
Go and assemble the elders of Israel, and say to them, "The Lord, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has appeared to me saying: 'I have given heed to you and to what has been done to you in Egypt. I declare that I will bring you up out of the misery of Egypt, to the land of the Cananites, the Hittites the Amorites, the Perezzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, a land flowing with milk and honey.
They will listen to your voice; and you and the elders of Israel shall go to the king of Egypt and say to him, the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us; let us now go a three days journey into the wilderness, so that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God."
Suddenly God vanished from within the burning bush as a light-switch clicked off, darkness ensued as the moment after a bolt of lightening rips through the night sky. Moses suddenly found himself standing before and staring at an ordinary bush in silence.
Moses' knees buckled and he fell to the ground still wondering if he was in a dream or whether it was possible for a person to hear the voice of God speaking directly to him. The flock began neighing in the background drawing Moses's attention back to his job. There was no time to think anymore as he realized he needed to round them up. So Moses quickly tied his sandals back on his feet and ran away from the Holy Ground.