Snapshots: Day 72
The Snapshot: “Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain” (Ex 19:3) Encounter, in fact a close encounter of the God kind. James said, “Come near to God and he will come near to you.” So often people say, “God seems so far away,” but is that because we don’t go looking for Him? How do you do that? Spend some time on your own in silence, first asking Him to draw near, and then waiting, then daring to believe what you are ‘hearing’ in your mind. The Sinai encounter is a proof that God wants to communicate with His people. Read His word, ask Him to speak to you through it. Take time, read, be still, listen and look at the words you have just read, listen again and dare to believe what you are ‘seeing’ and ‘hearing’.
Further Consideration: Why do we fail to go seeking God, spending time alone waiting on him, listening for Him to speak? I recently was studying Isa 55 which starts, “Come, all you who are thirsty.” It all starts with our heart and sometimes it is the recognition that I am thirsty. Jesus taught, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.” (Jn 7:37) In Isa 55 after that initial call there is no more talk of drinking but it becomes clear that drinking is a response to “listen to me.” (Isa 55:2) When we come to Jesus, conscious of our need, conscious that he is the one who can satisfy that need, we will wait on him, we will ‘go up the mountain’ to meet him.
Going up the mountain speaks of making the effort to go looking for God, taking time and making the effort to seek Him. The strange thing is that it takes no effort to sit still and listen, except the effort to overcome the instinctive desire to get up and do something. So many things call to us for our attention, things we need to do, things we ‘ought’ to do. Martha is the classic illustration of this (Lk 10:38-42) and she nearly missed the opportunity of sitting with Jesus, like Mary her sister was doing, because she allowed her mind to be filled with all the ‘necessary’ things around the home that were calling to her.
Sometimes we will ‘go up the mountain’ because we hear the specific call of God to do that, like Moses, but other times we will do it because we recognize, like Isaiah, that we are hungry and thirsty and that we are spending time and effort on that which “does not satisfy” (Isa 55:3) and we are fed up with that. Sometimes we have to arrive at a desert place before we recognize the symptoms – dryness and barrenness (lack of fruit or achievement in life) – and realize that nothing but being in the Lord’s presence can change that. Only then will we forsake the busy-ness of life and step aside and go and seek the Lord ‘up the mountain’. It is the place of cleansing, forgiveness, refreshing, renewing and restoring. Go climb the mountain.