The author of this section of Exodus is focusing on divine interventions that took place in Moses' life. The central verse to this is found in Exodus 3:7-8. In the days this passage was spoken (~3,500-3,800 years ago), the gods were not seen as ones who cared much about the sufferings of mankind (as a matter of fact, they were often the ones who inflected them). However, our God cares enough to intervene.
Meeting God in the Wasteland (3:1-6)
Moses is a shepherd, a mundane occupation. The role of shepherd was often given to those who are lower in the ranks of a tribe. God reveals Himself to a shepherd.
God chooses a mountain in the desert name Horeb ("wasteland") as the place to reveal Himself to Moses. This is against all expectations.
This is not the last time God appears to shepherds in a wilderness setting with an announcement of peace and goodwill. This is not the last time He chose a non-traditional, non-relgious setting for a hearing of the word.
Moses' curiosity about the flame drew him to God. His curiosity led to his calling. God uses the natural world as a vehicle for revealing himself. Nature is an instrument for God's purposes.
God's talk with Moses moves from worshipful deference to animated dialogue. God does not inhibit human response, even on the part of the one who is "slow in speech."
One of the core themes here is that God is the initiator. It is God who hears, God who sees the oppression, God who confronts, and God who calls Moses. Moses does not seek the encounter. Moses is surprised by what he experiences.
Moses' gifts (talents) are not negated. As a matter of fact, Moses is the most qualified person for the job. Of course, this is due to God's creative work in Moses' life.
God invites Moses back into the story of the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, etc.).
The Sacred Name (3:7-15)
With all the power God has at His disposal, He never overpowers Moses' will.
Moses' struggle is real, which reveals both a lack for leadership and personal ambition. God's responses show that He is extremely serious about Moses' concerns. God is patient. He never assumes that Moses is a slave to His will. God does not demand a self-effacing Moses.
God doesn't give up on recruiting Moses.
Those who are called by God retain their integrity even in moments of closest contact. The human partner has a say in shaping the direction and outcome of events.
God needs Moses as an instrument through whom to work; gifted human leadership in this matter is necessary (which Moses has experience in - as a prince of Egypt and as a shepherd).
God's calling for you usually leads to new creation. In Exodus, this is described as "milk and honey". Here and in other areas of the Bible, the word for honey does not describe the kind of honey which comes from bees. It is a nectar of a date. The land must be so fertile and rich that this "honey" flows from trees.
Deliverance for God is not only FROM something, but TO something, enabling the people to move from redemption to creation.
God's seeing leads directly to Moses' sending. Moses is sent because God has seen.
God's name is written in the Hebrew as YHVH (or, yod-heh-vav-heh). In their language at that time, there were no vowels. Since the Old Testament days, people avoided using His name. For this reason, we no longer know the proper pronunciation. Some people pronounce it Yahweh. Others pronounce it Jehovah (Y's and J's are interchangeable, as is V and W).
Every name has a meaning (i.e. Moses' son, Gershom sounds like the Hebrew word for "stranger there"), YHVH has a meaning also. It means, "I will be what I will be." This means, God will be defined by His actions. The Israelites will come to understand that God's holy name means in essence, "I will be God for you. He will be faithfully God for them."
Since this name is a holy name, it is not used by those who revere His name. The Jewish community replaced this name with Adonai, which means, my Lord. Out of respect for them, the Bible (such as the NIV, the version we use at Westlight) replaces YHVH with the word LORD (in all capital letters).
Moses does not name God. God gives His own name. Idols are named by man.
This is the first time God mentions His name to a person.
To reveal your name to another is also an indication of vulnerability. Once you have God's name, you are now able to curse Him. God trusts Moses with His name.