I pondered on Moses’ story in the bible ~again. It wasn’t my first time though. Since high school, Moses’ story speaks loud to me personally..as loud as Joseph’s and Ruth’s story in the Old Testament.
Each time I ponder at Moses’s story, I wish I could speak face to face with God, just as Moses did.
I know I’m not alone. Some Christians also wonder if they can do that too, speaking with God face to face. Wow! Nothing more precious than that!
And the questions are “Is God still speaking like how he did to Moses? Is it possible for us to experience that? If so, how?”
I noticed some of us get stuck at this point. We stop growing because we get fixated on the questions above. We desperately wait for God to reveal himself and speak to us.. we secretly feed our doubt. Where’s the burning bush, God?!
This is the good news for us: GOD IS STILL SPEAKING TO US! Even now when I write this. Now when you read this. Can you hear his voice?
I’d like to write about 2 things I’ve been reminded about: Intimacy and Hearing God’s voice. Let’s start with Intimacy.
This is what I’ve been learning on my journey to pursue God’s heart:Connection is important. We should first build a connection with him before we get used to his voice.
From Moses’ story, I found at least 3 things about Intimacy with the Lord.
1. Terms and Conditions
God made rules for the Israelites. Exodus 15:26 “If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord and do what is right in his eyes,…” ; Exodus 19:5-6 “If you do obey me fully and keep my covenant…” Let’s say that these are conditions. It seems to contradict with God’s unconditional love, doesn’t it? Why did God make a condition to the Israelites? If he wanted to bless them, why didn’t he just do so. Why are there conditions? I simply see it as his way to keep us safe. God makes rules not to restrict us. Instead, he wants to save us from the ‘wrong’ way.
A connection based on simply following rules isn’t enough for us to see the burning bush. Let’s move forward.
2. Encounter God without any change
The Israelites encountered God by experiencing his wondrous work on their way out from Egypt. The plagues, pillar of cloud and fire, the Red Sea miracle, manna, water from the rock, did I miss any? The point is the Israelites encountered God, yet they still turned their heart to Baal.
Encountering God isn’t just a one off. It’s not just any time when we see and get amazed by his wondrous work. It should be in our daily life by constantly reminding ourselves of what we’ve been experiencing. And we have to keep letting God continue his work in our lives. Just like Moses reminded the Israelites to remember what the Lord had done in their lives (Deuteronomy 8).
Moses himself started encountering God when he was on Horeb through the burning bush experience. And his process to encounter God continued and led him to the next level.
3. Face to face: Intimacy transforms life
After so many times the Lord spoke to Moses through signs, finally the Bible mentioned this: God spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friends (Exodus 33:11). It gives us a picture of Moses’ journey to build a deeper relationship with God. From the burning bush to the tent of meeting, God spoke to him face to face.
How could Moses reach that level? I believe it was because he had been so faithful during his walk with God. It began with God’s calling for him to lead the Israelites. At that time we could see how insecure he was, how he argued with God regarding to his ability. But in the end he said YES to God. Then his spiritual journey began, when Moses obeyed what God asked him to do.
Moses obeyed the Lord not because he was confident with his own ability. It was because he trusted God and his promises. There were also times when he was challenged by the attitudes of the Israelite, yet Moses remained obedient.
Obedience is the key to experience more and more of God. Obedience led Moses from the burning bush to the tent of meeting. It transformed Moses’ life, but more than that, it transformed the Israelite's lives.
Our process to draw near to God is a life long one. We can’t just stop at the first stage where we gained knowledge of his laws. And we can’t stop at the ‘burning bush moment’ when we experienced him. Our obedience is needed to bring us to go to the deeper level of intimacy with him.