“And for the precious things of the earth and fulness thereof, and for the good will of him that dwelt in the bush.” – Deuteronomy 33:16
Moses was nearing the time of his passing into the spiritual world, and after the eastern custom, having called the tribes together, he pronounced a blessing upon each of them. The words of our text form a part of the blessing pronounced upon Joseph as represented by the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh.
The blessing of the text must have brought back wonderful memories, for the story of Israel as a nation began with the appearance of the Lord in the burning bush. The Israelites had lived as a subject race in Egypt for over two centuries, and yet had been kept quite distinct from the Egyptians. It is remarkable that the peoples had not wholly mingled, for the very name of Jehovah had been lost during the stay in Egypt. But to Moses in his eightieth year was given the experience at the burning bush. It was then that he heard the command to lead the people to the land promised to their fathers. He at first shrank from the great task, and only when he was convinced by miracles that the Lord would be with him did he undertake it. But he who dwelt in the bush took the people across the sea, fed them in the wilderness, protected them from their enemies, and finally brought them to the borders of the promised land. How difficult had been the way! How often had the people rebelled, and wished that they might go back to Egypt! Even Moses was at times discouraged. But now the journey’s end was being reached, and he had the satisfaction of knowing that his leadership had not been in vain. As he is about to resign his authority to Joshua, he thinks of how the Lord had been with them and had led them all the way, and commends the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh to the good will of Him that dwelt in the bush.
To the Jews Jehovah was invisible; of Him they were not to attempt to make any likeness. Yet, although invisible, they felt that He was God of gods and Lord of lords, and knew that it was He that dwelt in the bush, the bramble. To have appeared in the olive, the vine, or the fig would have seemed more appropriate, but He had been heard from the bush.
In this we have revealed a fundamental truth of religion, that the Lord dwells in the commonest experiences of human life, and happy is he who sees Him there. For as the days and years pass, and as a man passes the threescore years and ten, he will remember the good will of Him that dwelt in the bush.