Bushes grow in the desert. Against all odds, scrubby, scratchy bushes push themselves up through the dry, hard ground in order to survive. The desert bush thrives among the rocks in the most uninhabitable parched places of earth.
Amazingly, “A voice cries: ‘in the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God … And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed” (Isaiah 40:3-5). Prepare the way of the Lord in a desert? The glory of the Lord shall be revealed out of parched ground? Pave a highway in a desert full of bramble bushes?
Jesus deliberately enters the land of parched shrubs. “For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground” (Isaiah 53:2).
God even chose to reveal himself to Moses in a scrubby desert bush. Although a dry bush is highly flammable, this one was not consumed by the flame. “He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. And Moses said, ‘I will turn aside to see this great site, why the bush is not burned’” (Exodus 3:3). Moses was curious! What happened to this desert bush?
Many commentators believe that the unconsumed “burning” bush symbolizes God’s people. They are a people—not consumed by the afflictions in Egypt—but a people “fired up” (so to speak) to be a light to the nations. God intends that his followers actively represent him to the world.
It’s easy to feel like a desert shrub in this socially distant world. But there’s a fire in your midst. The Holy Spirit dwells in you! His presence and passion fires you up and protects you from being consumed by the afflictions of our troubled times. Yes, bushes grow in the desert.