What would you do if you could have the answer to everything?
Would you pay for it? Sell everything you have for it? Go without eating to get it? Would you go off alone for days if it meant you could obtain it?
What if I told you that the answer to everything is within your grasp, totally free, and the only thing you need to give up for it is yourself?
What is the answer?
You may be surprised. But it makes sense.
God’s presence is the answer to everything. Every prayer. Every need. Every dilemma, tragedy, crisis, challenge, or question.
We see this in the story of Moses.
Most of us have heard the “legend” of the burning bush. A particular movie even satirized it by making it a singing bush. But when we look more closely at the story in the Bible, we see the way it can relate to our life.
Moses was a baby who was supposed to be killed, but by a miracle, he was saved and actually raised in the palace of the king of Egypt by the princess. Growing up, he had every privilege. Fine food, clothes, servants, education, and status even though he was born the son of a Jewish family with a price on his baby head. (Only God can do something like that.)
He grew up and realized his true identity meant he had a role to fulfill, but he tried to do it his way and ended up slinking out of town after murdering a man.
So, forty years later, this humiliated (humbled) murderer is tending sheep, not his own, but his father-in-law’s sheep—an honorable, yet humble profession—on the far side of the desert (talk about alone time), when God appears.
In a bush. Burning with fire.
Naturally, Moses is intrigued and decides to check it out. How can a bush be burning, but never burn up? Physics defied. But that’s God for you.
First thing God tells Moses is that he’s on holy ground. In other words, Moses is in the very presence of God. Then God gives Mo (you don’t mind if I call him that, do you?) some specific encouragement like “you’ve got this” and instruction “say I AM sent you and use your staff.” Mo wasn’t very confident anymore after forty years living in the desert with sheep, but God gave him a sidekick to help him. (I love the way God reunites families!)
God told him up front the basics of what would happen. The king (Pharaoh) would resist, but eventually come around after some serious plague persuasion, and then the people were supposed to ask their neighbors for gold and silver to take with them. (Why would they need gold and silver in the desert?? That’s another story.)
Here are some things I love about this story:
- Once again (see last week’s post), God came to someone (Moses) when he was alone, far from anyone, minding his own business. God calls us where we are at.
- God does whatever it takes to get our attention. He knows what will turn our head and make us take notice. Granted, today, if any of us saw a bush on fire, we’d probably be quick to take a video and post it on social media.
- God sees us. He told Moses that he saw the misery of his people.
- God is concerned for the condition and circumstances we’re in. His love for us is great, and his heart breaks when we are hurting.
- God has a good, spacious, place for us beyond the current situation. He never says it will be without obstacles, but it will be great. Milk and honey may not be your jam, but the idea is sweet, nourishing, and abundant.
- God promises to bring us out of our misery. We have to be willing to do what he says to get out. He does his part, but without our obedience it won’t happen.
- God has more for us than simply taking us out of a bad situation. When he removes us, he lets us take abundance with us and leads us somewhere better.
We all know the part of the story where the Israelites come to the Red Sea with Pharaoh’s army hot on their heels. Ever been in that place where it seems like there’s no way out?
God parts the waters, the army drowns, and the people make it to the other side safely.
What was the answer to all their questions? Prayers? Needs?
God’s presence. He saw them. Sent help. Went ahead of them. Cut off the danger behind them, and then led them with fire by night and smoke during the day.
Okay, so today, we may not have smoke and fire, but when we accept the presence of God through believing in Jesus, we have God’s spirit—Holy Spirit—living with us. In us, to be exact. Surrounding us, covering us, filling us up.
But it’s easy for us to let life’s circumstances draw us away from God’s presence. After all, when the hot water heater breaks and leaks all over the floor, it’s understandable that we might be focused on water around our ankles and forget the Spirit of God that we don’t see is right there with us.
Let’s say something like that happens. And even though we’re surrounded by crisis, when we know that God sees, has a plan, knows what we need, and wants better for us, we can take a moment to rest in his presence that is there even when we think we might drown. Let him send rescue. Remember that he wants to take us out of misery and give us more. Ask him for instructions.
So, what burning bush has he sent your way lately?