What do an old man, an escaped criminal, and a Champion Forest trip to Kenya all have in common?
They saw the power of God in the bush.
In the Old Testament, the catalyst for the story of God’s people is in the covenant Yahweh makes to Abraham; an old, barren man with no one to leave his legacy to. God promises the impossible: that the people of Abraham would be as many as the stars in the sky. That his bloodline would not only continue but that there would be an eternal throne through his people group. The seed of this promise was born in Isaac. The true son of Abraham was the fulfillment of God’s covenant.
Yet, in all this hope, God asks for the impossible again. Abraham is to sacrifice Isaac. Abraham is to give up his one and only son, the hope of a future people, who are to be God’s children. How can the life of many come, if there is the death of the promised one?
Abraham sets off on the three-day journey with his son by his side. When they arrived at the mountain in Moriah, Abraham took the wood for the sacrifice and put it on Isaac’s back. The agony Abraham must have felt as he watched his one and only son, with the wood he is to be sacrificed with on his back, march towards his death.
Abraham prepares the place for the sacrifice. He binds his son in obedience to the Father. He raises his fist, knife in hand, in full faith that God would still be true to His promise. Just before he deals the deadly blow, God stops Him. Abraham sees a movement in the distance. There in the thick bushes, God’s provision is wriggling. A ram, caught by the horns, is a symbol that God’s faithfulness can be found in unlikely places at unlikely timing.
Abraham, an old man, found God faithful in the bush.
A thousand years after God’s covenant with Abraham, the promised nation of Israel is living in slavery in Egypt. A people shackled in hard labor and destitute in poverty. Moses, a murderer who once lived in the palace of Pharoah, is off in a desolate desert tending to sheep. In the middle of the ordinary, the extraordinary explodes on the scene: a bush on fire that is not burning up. In that bush, Moses finds the manifest presence of God who reveals to him a name to be called by, Yahweh.
Yahweh, or I AM, is the first name that God reveals to His children. There in that fiery bush was the intimate and close God of Israel. He did not stay far away. There it was again, God’s personal provision in a bush. God’s sign that He is in the business of saving His people.
After that encounter with Yahweh, Moses would go on to lead the Israelites to freedom, escaping the bankrupt life of slavery under Pharoah. More miracles than a burning bush would occur, but it all started with an escaped criminal and God’s plan for rescue in the bush.
This past summer, a team of Champion Forest members, led by Missions Associate Lezlie Armour, headed into the country of Kenya. There they met with longtime partner International Treasure House Ministries. During their time there, they got to personally experience what it is like to see God’s faithfulness in the bush. They were part of a team that went out into the countryside, the barren bush, and helped rescue two little girls who were in danger of being sold. The sisters were five and seven years old. Little lives, both precious to God, are rescued in the bush by people of God.
When we hear stories like this, we are reminded that the stories of the Old Testament echo into today. The God of rescue and provision of times past is still the same God on the throne now. When we commit our time to serve and spread the hope of Jesus to people of all nations, we get to join in the spiritual army of what God is already doing. We get the honor of participating in the character of God by being people of provision and rescue.
While not everyone can go to Kenya, everyone can serve in the story of God. That may look like being a person of provision and giving financially to partners like International Treasure House Ministries. Money towards them makes a holistic rescue possible. It funds giving those little girls a home to live in with warm beds. It ensures that they will have meals to eat and teachers to educate them with a knowledge of God and life skills. To be a cheerful giver to the Kingdom of God is to imitate Christ.
Others can serve by being people of rescue. They can sign up for the next Kenya trip or they can serve right here in Houston. Champion Forest is a proud partner with Freedom Church Alliance, a group empowering the churches and nonprofits of Houston to come together and fight against the human trafficking happening in our own city. When we serve and help rescue others out of hopeless situations, we are following in the call to be like Jesus.
If you are interested in the next Kenya mission trip or serving locally, please email firstname.lastname@example.org