@robertkwendt || lead pastor
Have you ever been driving down the freeway and missed the exit you were supposed to take? I wish I could say this has happened to me just once, but it sadly has happened multiple times. Even with a GPS to guide us on our every turn, we can miss our exit. Simply put, it's often not because we don't have the directions, but it's because we are distracted.
Our relationship with God can be like this. He speaks to us, guides us, and shows us the way; however, we can become so distracted that we miss what He is telling us.
There is a story in the book of Exodus involving a man named Moses (the man who God gave the Ten Commandments to). Long before his encounter with God on the mountain Moses was caring for his father-in-law's flock. While out with the animals he noticed a peculiar site. There was a bush that was on fire, but wasn't being consumed by the fire. The story of the burning bush is found in Exodus 3.
This story helps us understand a few important factors involving who God is and what can happen when we take some time to notice what's around us.
1. moses had to take notice.
The New Living Translation describes Moses' reaction to the burning bush this way, “This is amazing,” Moses said to himself. “Why isn’t that bush burning up? I must go see it (Exodus 3:3).” Moses noticed something that he had to go and see.
When I was early in my faith journey, I had always pictured this bush being put right in front of Moses' feet. I thought God put it in such a place that Moses would of had to see it. But as I have read this passage again and again, something began to stand out. Moses had to notice the burning bush. It wasn't right in front of him, but actually positioned in such a way that he had to turn.
Exodus 3:4 says, "When the Lord saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
The English Standard Version words it this way, "When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see..." Moses turned aside. He took notice.
God desires to guide us and direct us. He answers our prayers. He speaks to us. We just have to pay attention.
I love how Dallas Willard describes God speaking with us:
"Generally speaking, God will not compete for our attention. Occasionally a Saul gets knocked to the ground and so on, but we should expect that in most cases God will not run over us." - Dallas Willard, Hearing God, p. 120
2. god spoke to moses.
God didn't just have burning bush for the sake of awe and wonder. There was a purpose to it. He wanted Moses to notice it and when Moses did take notice and walk to it, God wanted to speak with him.
God gives us burning bush moments all the time. There are times when a verse of the day is just what we needed to hear. Times when we open the Bible and feel as if God is speaking directly to us. There are moments when people share something with us. There are times when peculiar and extraordinary situations take place around us. It is in these moments that we must stop. Take notice. See what God is saying.
When we seek after God and notice what He is doing, we begin to hear His voice more clearly. How can we hear and understand the heart of God without reading our Bible? How can we expect our prayers to have clear answers without looking for the answers to them? How can we expect to have a relationship with God if we do not make time for Him?
HIGH FREQUENCY + EASY PROXIMITY = CLOSE RELATIONSHIP
Above is a formula I realized when I began to reflect on why my "best friends" have changed through the various stages of my life. This simple formula helped me understand that the people I refer to as my best friends. The people I brag about. The people I am passionate about bragging about are the ones who I see often and are in close proximity to me.
Here is the thing about God. He knows how many hair are on our head. I do not have a single friend who knows that. God's proximity is never the issue. He is as close as He can possibly be.
The issue comes down to frequency. When we don't make time for God, the formula breaks down. However, when we are spending time with Him. When we notice Him. He becomes a "close friend."
3. burning bush moments become holy moments.
Exodus 3:5 (ESV) says, "Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”"
When we notice God. When we hear Him speak. When we see His love for us, we encounter a holy moment. A time when we can say to others that we experienced God. These are the moments we talk about, the ones that help build our faith. They are the times that we reflect back on when Satan wants to cause us to doubt and question.
Moses had a big task ahead of him. He would later have to confront Pharoah (the ruler of Egypt). He would then have to rely on God to guide the people through a seemingly impossible situation. Later he would then have to deal with whining, complaining, and 40 years in the desert. Before the Ten Commandments, the Exodus, or the plagues, Moses had this holy moment with God at a burning bush.
Each time we stop and notice God, it prepares us for the next time we will encounter Him. Then, the next time it is often in an even more marvelous way.
The challenge is, we must BE STILL.