April 18, 2009

Pay Attention

When God speaks, do I hear Him? Or am I off somewhere doing my own thing? And if I am not paying attention, will He speak again? As we used to say on the farm, will my dull ears force Him to chew His cabbage twice? Or will He look for someone else who is a better listener and is ready to respond?

Today I am in Calgary, Alberta at a writer’s conference. So far I’ve heard much that helps me with a presentation that I’m making at the end of May. However, this devotional today (from a different resource than usual) is a challenge to pay attention. One line says, “We are so busy telling God where we would like to go. . . ” implying that by applying what I’m hearing to a future thing, I could miss what He is asking of me right now. When He speaks, it might not be for plans already made, even though He gave me those plans. At this conference, He might ask me to do a new thing. I need to listen carefully and be willing to say yes.

The verse is familiar. Moses is out in the desert. He fled Egypt because he had killed a man and it had been discovered. Since then, he had wandered many years. Where were his thoughts? Did he think God might have forgotten him? He got his answer one day when he spotted a bush that was burning but not consumed.
So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” (Exodus 3:4)
This is rather amazing, not just that God called from the middle of a bush but that Moses, after all these years, could respond, “Here I am.”

He was hearing God, paying attention, and this suggests that he was listening for Him all along. He was not busy with his own plans or in despair thinking God had dumped him in that place and would never speak again.

The Bible doesn’t say, but Moses may have had daily quiet times with God. He may have asked forgiveness for his rash sin in Egypt. He must have known God heard him and forgave him because this verse shows he was not running from God. Whatever had transpired between them, Moses was in a spiritual place where he was ready when God called, not like Adam who hid himself after sinning against his Maker.

The devotional reading says that God can call to me at any time, and His call can involve any duty, large or small. So easily I assume that God will keep me doing the same things all the time, but He might ask me to do a new thing, or change direction in some way. He could also encourage me to stay the course and be faithful with present challenges.

In any case, whatever He wants, the important thing is that I am ready, my sins confessed, my heart open to His voice and my lips able to say, “Here I am, right here, right now, listening to You.”

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