What an amazing study it has been to delve into God’s word on the life of Moses. There have been so many ways I have been encouraged and convicted, humbled and emboldened through this study.
Reflecting back, it was interesting to reflect on the 4 stages of Moses’ life that we studied this year: 40, 40, 40, Forever. 40 years in Pharaoh’s house in Egypt, 40 years as a shepherd, husband and father in Midian, 40 years as a prophet and leader to the Israelites and Forever in the Eternal Promised Land of heaven to continue to be in the presence of God.
Each of us goes through stages of life as well. These are always easier to see in hindsight, but God continues to work us and shape us. He is holy and His desire for the faithful is that we would be holy as well.
But through all of this, one particular event that moved Moses between life stages kept coming back to my mind. It was the day Moses had an encounter with God at the burning bush.
Two things stood out to me in this.
Let’s go back to Exodus 3 starting in verse 4b: “God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.” 5 “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” 6 Then He said…”
First, was Moses’ response. Moses’ response was obedience. When called, he answered. When told to take off his sandals, he obeyed. Then God introduced Himself to Moses and shared the calling and mission He had for Moses’ life. I believe one clear message from this is the life of a Godly Man is not founded on knowledge or good deeds, it is begun with an attitude of obedience.
How we fight being obedient! We look to the right and to the left. We stumble and fall. We allow ourselves to get week by not staying in a daily walk with God and yield easily then to temptation. But a position of obedience, on our knees, praying for ourselves and the people around us, is the position we can begin anew each day.
The second part of this is that Moses encountered God. Encounter is an interesting word. Our church (probably like many) has a mission statement that includes the words “encounter God.” Looking at the definition of encounter, it has a couple of somewhat different meanings/uses. The first is an unexpected meeting. The second is to meet in conflict. The second is very close to the root origin of the word: en = in, such as in the car or in the presence of and counter = contrare, opposition, such counter-productive or counter-intuitive or the French term, au contraire.
When we seek for ourselves and others to encounter God, we are seeking not for a warm and fuzzy experience, but for a convicting experience. Our day to day lives reflect our sin nature. We think of ourselves as master of our own life, master of our destiny, and we pay homage and bow down to any matter of false gods. Where we invest our time, talent and attention reflects what is most important in our lives. But an encounter with God convicts us of how “in confrontation” that lie is to the truth of God.
Asking for an encounter also means call for the unexpected. But, so often, we fill our days up with so many “things” that we are far more likely to rush by the burning bush than we are to stop. We, all too often, carve out a block of time in our so, so busy week, Sunday morning for example, and as God to yield to our desire to be in control and give us an “unexpected meeting” at that time and place as long as it doesn’t last more than 60 minutes because we have other things to do. Surprise!
Yes, there were many things in the life of Moses. Yes, God was faithful to him even before he was born. But this encounter was pivotal and was simply the first of many encounters over the next 40 years.
If an encounter with God is truly want you want for yourself and for your family, your church, your workplace, your neighborhood, then start by being obedient. Kick your shoes off. Slow down and accept that God is in control, you and I are not. Enter his holy place. And, when you hear His call, answer, “Here I am.”