This fall, Jesus asked me to have my quiet-time outside on a bench in downtown Anderson. So I stepped out, but the cold pushed me back inside. Why do I need to sit on a cold bench when I have a couch and a warm blanket? But as I grabbed my Bible, I also felt like I should snatch a sweatshirt and head to that bench.
I had no sooner forgotten the chilly air and become engrossed in my quiet time when a voice beside me spoke. Startled, I jerked around to see my new homeless companion. He was sitting right beside me mumbling, “I’ve been to five churches this morning and I can’t get anyone to help me.”
To be honest, I was alone and scared because no one else around. But, I was afraid he might follow me to my doorstep if I left, so I cautiously sat and listened. He tried to sell me a CD he’d apparently recorded with a prominent studio musician. My ears soon overflowed with story after story, creative concoctions of truth and lie. But as I listened, I got a funny feeling God was interrupting my day for a reason.
In Exodus 3, Moses is busy making a living herding sheep, when God unexpectedly interrupts. God entices Moses’ curiosity by appearing to him “in flames of fire from within a bush.” Sure, the bush was a strange sight, but would it catch Moses’ attention enough to take him away from his job?
Moses couldn’t resist the peculiar shrub and he went over to see it. (Exodus 3:2) “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.’”
I love how God interacts with Moses. Their interaction reminds me of when I used to play hide and seek when my boys were toddlers. Sometimes I made the mistake of hiding too well, so I made little sounds to get their attention. Each noise I made was a dangling treat I hoped would lead them to my location.
It feels like God is “playing” a game with Moses to lead Moses in his direction. Why? Maybe He knew His presence would terrify the simple shepherd. Perhaps he wants to disarm any fear in Moses’ heart so they can have a conversation.
But, what was going on in Moses’ mind? “That bush seems to be burning but it’s not disintegrating. Maybe I’ve spent too many hours in the hot sun. Where’s my water?” And as he reaches for his canteen, the bush starts to call out his name. “Now I really do need some medical attention!”, Moses thinks.
I wonder how many times we miss the moments God is trying to get our attention. When God shows us a burning bush, do we notice it or hear Him speaking to us?
It’s easy to get busy, to overlook God’s hand and tune-out the voice of God. Moses was busy working for his family when he noticed the bush, took time to get closer, to see and to hear God’s voice, and respond with “Here I am.” In other words, “God, I am listening. What are you trying to say to me?”
The bench with the homeless man was my burning bush. God only knows whether the time and money I invested in him had any spiritual affect on his life. For me, that bench was Jesus’ way of teaching me to interrupt my schedule and make room for unexplained obedience.
Each time Jesus speaks, he’s dangling a treat to see if we will listen. Is Jesus trying to get your attention in a burning bush? Will you look and listen when he’s calling you to unexplained obedience?
- Meditate on Exodus 3
- Make a list of three “burning bushes” (circumstances) that God may be using to get your attention.
- Based on your list, what act of unexplained obedience may Jesus be calling you to?
Offer It Up:
“Jesus, it’s easy to miss your voice in our lives. Help us to create spaces of quiet and stillness to hear and help us to notice you even in our busyness.”
© 2014 by Sharie King. All rights reserved.
- Luke 8:18a, “Therefore consider carefully how you listen...”
- Is Jesus trying to get your attention in a burning bush?
- Each time Jesus speaks, he’s dangling a treat to see if we will listen.