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Food for Thought - Musings

Exodus 3: A Portrait of God

Those who know me know I love Exodus 3. It is the passage that inspired me to begin going barefoot (though now I tend to wear super cool socks with my sandals) and has formed and shaped my ongoing openness to God in the expected and unexpected, creating a pace and internal posture that helps increase the likelihood that I will, like Moses, turn from what I am doing and pay attention to that which has caught my attention—that bush, sunset, song, passage, thought…and like Moses possibly encounter and hear from the Living God. 


But these past few weeks I have been looking at Exodus 3 through a slightly different lens. Shifting my attention from myself—my pace, my turning aside, my responding or not responding to the subsequent invitations/challenges of God as I begin to be open, walk more slowly and attend to what captures my attention, my heart , and instead look at the person/characteristics of God disclosed to us in this passage. These truths are not new, for many are expressed in the opening chapters of Genesis, but they are easily forgotten, overlooked, pushed aside. The neglect of these truths impedes our ability to live a life of openness and yielded-ness to God, to endeavor to live in the moment with God. 


So I am going to take some time and parse out the truths of God found in Exodus 3 while inviting you to ponder how naming, owning and embracing these truths, binding them in your heart, fixing them in your mind, might impact how you live your life, view and interact with your circumstances and others, mold, shape and deepen what love God and loving others looks like in your daily living of life.


This passage (Exodus 3) paints a clear portrait of God. Now the best picture we have of the person and character of God is seen the incarnation of Jesus. John tells us that Jesus, who was with God, has seen God, is the one who makes known who God is (John 1;1, 18). And the writer of Hebrews refers to Jesus is the radiance of God’s glory, the exact representation of God’s being (Hebrews 1:3).  God is portrayed throughout Scripture and our focus will be in the presentation of God found in Exodus 3.


NOTE: Before continuing you might want to read Exodus 3:1-21 and makes notes about what the writer is communicating about the person and character of God in this passage. 


Below you will discover a number of things that caught my attention.


1) God listens - speaking to God makes a difference.


2) God responds (in God’s timing)- to the cries of the people and also to Moses who turns away from his labors and when he does, and not before, then and only then God speaks to him.  


3) God breaks into real time (clearly this happens with Jesus but not solely). God is involved in this world, in our lives—not so much as a micromanager but as listening presence—guiding, interacting, involved.


4) God offers implicit internal invitations that can be ignored. We can ignore God, go against God, refuse God. For me this is a bit unnerving and the temptation can be to go back and try to discover these times—a dead end or worse—or we can move forward this day seeking to be more in tune to, more aware of, the ways God communicates to us while fostering a desire to follow us God leads.


5) God starts and keeps the ball rolling. God is always the first cause and then the sustainer of all that God is involved in. 


6) God’s presence, provision, is the key, not our abilities. We, like Moses, may feel inadequate, and God never seeks to dissuade Mosesclaimed inadequacies, but God responds with I will be with you.  We trust in God, not our abilities, efforts, resolve, but in the indwelling presence and power of God within. We hand over the fish and loaves of our abilities, skills, knowledge and wisdom to God trusting God will bless, break and multiply that which we have given to God.

Time to Reflect


What are the implications of the depictions of God above regarding the place and importance of prayer? 


What are the implications of the depiction of God regarding our place and importance when it comes to encountering God and partnering with God in living life, doing ministry? 


How does the knowledge God is with you—surrounding you and indwelling you—impact how you live your life, love, serve and interact with others?


Read through the six insights regarding God found in our passage that are listed above: which one is most prevalent when it comes to forming and shaping how you live your life each day? Why? Which one is least prevalent when it comes to forming and shaping how you live your life each day? Why?


Reflecting again on the list above, ask God if there might be one of the six God may be inviting you to partner with God in cultivating so it can grow and mature?  If one emerges ask God and trusted others what next steps might look like.


Next Musing: Choosing a Cause


I am offering an online class and onsite class (in Oceanside, CA) designed to train people to take others through the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius using the book Journey with Jesus. These both start in September and spots are limited. For more information click on http://www.b-ing.org/events/index.php or visit the b website and click on upcoming event. 


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