1 Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. 2 And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. 3 And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. 4 And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.
There is special symbolism in Moses’s new occupation being that of a shepherd. This is a type for Christ, and also a foreshadowing for the future role that Moses will have in guiding the Israelite masses. He is learning how to herd a multitude of sheep, in preparation for herding a multitude of people.
I also think it is notable that Moses was simply going about the duties of his day-to-day life when the burning bush appeared off to the side. This seems to be how it plays out for must of us. We’re just living our little lives as best we can, when suddenly a glimpse of something greater catches our eye, and we are invited to step into a much bigger story. We can ignore it if we want, continuing on a pre-appointed path, or we can make a diversion to see what this bigger story is.
And that is what Moses did. Noticing a miracle, he decided to “turn aside,” change his predetermined course, and get closer to understand. There is a basic faith in this, a willingness to give up original plans to seek divine holiness. If Moses had instead been too absorbed in his sheep, he would have missed this call to liberate and lead the people of Israel.
And notice what verse 4 tells us: God saw Moses turn. God was watching closely and took special notice of this shift in Moses’s intention, and apparently this was the prerequisite to God speaking to him. For no sooner does Moses turn then God calls out. Moses’s answer has special significance, too. By saying “here am I,” he is not only declaring his physical location, but also that he is present and ready in his soul. God is calling for all of Moses, and Moses is saying “here am I.”