Most Christians would readily admit their desire to hear from God. We long for a word from the Lord. We want direction. We need guidance. We crave truth for this journey that we call life. Oftentimes the Christian life has been described as a relationship and I think this is a perfect way to describe this reality. It reminds us that growth in our relationship with God takes time and a passionate desire to hear from Him.
I remember when Janie and I first started dating. We were passionate about spending time with each other. The more time we spent together, the deeper our relationship grew. I can even remember staying up to 2am numerous nights during the week and talking about the future and what God was doing in our lives (I still can’t believe that I did that with 8am classes).
God has continually brought Exodus 24:12-18 to mind over the past number of months when I think about the time that I spend with Him in His Word and in prayer. It is a fascinating text especially when you look at the details of the story.
The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and wait there, that I may give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.” So Moses rose with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up into the mountain of God. And he said to the elders, “Wait here for us until we return to you. And behold, Aaron and Hur are with you. Whoever has a dispute, let him go to them.”
Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. The glory of the Lord dwelt on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. Moses entered the cloud and went up on the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.
Here are a few things that God has brought to mind as I have meditated on this passage over the past few months:
1. God is not elusive. For some reason it seems that many people feel that hearing from God is difficult. They assume that you must have some special code or ability that unlocks God’s Word. What we see in this passage, though, is that God comes to Moses. He tells Moses that He will give Moses His Word and this Word will be for the people. We do not have to drum up ways to hear from God in some mystical sense. He has revealed Himself in His Word and as we spend time diligently studying the Bible, the Holy Spirit will speak to us and guide us into all truth (John 16:13). Like Moses, we must commit to spend the time to hear from the Lord. Psalm 1 reminds us that “blessed” is the man or woman who delights in the law of the Lord and meditates on it day and night. We must never forget that God sent His Son, Jesus (“The Word” according to John 1), to this planet to live a sinless life and pay for our sins on the cross. He desires that we know Him!
2. God is not on our time-table. If you read the passage carefully you will see that Moses spent 6 days on the mountain before God spoke. SIX days! This continues to blow me away when I think about how long Moses was willing to wait for God to speak. All too often we expect God to show up and speak to us on our time-table. We want an instant answer to prayer. We want an instant response that will help us make a significant decision in life. Are we willing to wait or has God become nothing more than our cosmic concierge, serving us whenever we want? I am continuing to learn that waiting on Him to speak is well worth the wait. In an instant society like ours, patience is no longer seen a virtue. However, patience is a fruit of the Spirit and I am confident that learning to wait on the Lord is one of the ways that the Holy Spirit uses to make us more like Christ.
3. God’s presence is enough. Moses not only waited six days for God to speak, he spent another 40 days dwelling in God’s presence on the mountain. I am constantly reminded to ask myself this question, Is God’s presence enough? If I lose everything, will I truly be content if I can dwell in His presence? When God’s presence is enough, it does not matter what material possessions we have or do not have. It does not matter whether we are accepted by others because we know we are accepted by Him. It does not matter if we can explain our future because we know who holds the future in the palm of His hand. The words of the psalmist ring true, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!” (Psalm 34:8)