Monday, August 19, 2013

Everyone Loves a Story Part 3 - Don't Put Out the Burning Bush!

Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.” (Genesis 3:1-4)

In Genesis 3, we see the story of God calling out to Moses from the burning bush. There were so many wonderful insights of who God is and how he wants to relate to us from this story that I had to split it over the three weeks. We will look at verses 1-4 today, verses 5-6 next week and verses 7-12 the following week.

The first insight I want to share is Moses' response to seeing the burning bush. As our group put ourselves in the story, we talked about how courageous and curious Moses was. Here he was leading his flock presumably to better grazing land when he sees a most unusual sight—a bush on fire that isn't burning up. When asked to consider all the options Moses had to choose from in reacting to this sight, the group began listing things like running away and taking the flock in the other direction, assume it was just a normal dried up bush that would burn out and go about his business, and even beating out the fire with his clock or throwing sand on it to put the fire out. But Moses doesn't do any of these things. He goes over to see what this strange sight is and finds God waiting there for him.
As I considered this, I realized how, too often, I have approached God's calling on my life with those other options first—I run away in fear of the unknown. I forget that God's plan for me is not to harm me but to prosper me with hope for a future. No matter what that unknown future is, my God will bring me into it by his hand and power and I will rejoice at his glory with awe and amazement. Yet I let my insecurities and doubt lead me in fear the other way.

Sometimes, I'm so involved in my plan, my agenda, my responsibilities, that I don't see or hear God calling me—I ignore him. I miss the opportunity to be immersed in his Holy Presence. Too often, especially when I "know" what I'm doing, or when I am attending to business as usual, I'm not looking for those divine appointments with God and so I miss out on them. From now on, I want to do a better job of watching for where God is pulling me aside out of the ordinary to meet with him, maybe even to be taken from my daily routine and placed into a whole new reliance on God—a whole new expression of obedience and love.

The option that made me laugh was that Moses could have chosen to try to put the fire out. How often do we beat out the fire of faith by failing to pray, to be in God's Word and worship God on a regular daily basis? How often do we think we know better and pour sand on the flame of God's desire and leading in our personal lives and in our faith communities? And yet, God will not hold that against us. He waits for us to reply, "Here I am."

Oh God, let me not be so engrossed in my daily routine that I miss your calling. Let me not run away in fear but come into your Presence with courage and eager anticipation. Let me not put out the fire of my faith, but Lord, fan the flames of my spirit to seek you and your will always. Amen.