Avoiding God. I was reading again the story of Moses, the burning bush, and his repeated attempts to avoid God, if at all possible, to the point where God got a little ticked off at him. How does that play out among us in today’s world?
Some erstwhile Christians are appalled that Moses, or anyone, would try to avoid God like that. To argue with God that God has got it wrong, who in their right mind would do such a thing? I wonder how many rush to embrace God’s instructions when God has not given any? Do they end up boldly proclaiming that they are doing what God has laid on their hearts to do, when God hasn’t got a thing to do with it? That’s always been my suspicion when I hear someone say that ‘it has been laid on me to say or do thus and such’. I start looking around for some evidence of a burning bush.
One active letter writer in our local paper is so certain that whatever she thinks must be from God that any opinion to the contrary must be from Satan, an accusation she is willing to publicly nail on the name of anyone who suggests otherwise. She seems to cherish the judgement of damnation as the fate of those who do not hear God saying what she says God said. What makes me think that she does not have an authentic prophetic voice? Not one trace of Christlike love, delight in God’s grace, or pleasure in God’s creation is the answer, and I’m certain that today’s burning bush would shine with that light.
Deliberately offending God is probably not a good idea. It didn’t work out well for Pharaoh, but that’s not what the Moses story is about. It’s worthy to note that Moses spent the bulk of his adult life struggling with God, arguing with God, and taking God seriously. God seems to have enjoyed that. No other person, said God, has had, or will have, such an intimate relationship with him, a relationship of true and deep friendship. I think that’s because Moses didn’t argue to be difficult but to learn, and his learning came in small steps, one at a time, over the course of an entire life. Moreover, his mistakes and failures did not stop him from going on, even though progress was slow and difficult.
I have a friend who claims in every other sentence that he is not a Christian. At the same time, he is constantly engaged in conversation with Jesus about God that takes the form of vigorous argument with plenty of give and take. My guess is that God rejoices in the intimacy of that friendship. In the meantime, our local letter writer already has my friend roasting in hell.
Who is avoiding God?