Hear His heartbeat

From Surrender to Love by David G. Benner:

According to Exodus 3:1-12, one day while tending his sheep, Moses noticed a bush that was on fire. Approaching it, he saw something strange. In spite of the fact that it was burning, it was not consumed. Now his curiousity was really piqued. He began to go closer. Suddenly an angel called out a warning-"Moses, Moses!...Come no nearer." Curiousity instantly turned into fear.

Confusing fear and reverence, some Christians think God wants us to feel afraid of him. They might assume that the angel's call to Moses was designed to teach him to fear the Lord. But I would suggest that it was designed to protect Moses from danger-the danger of a presumptuous approach to the divine that failed to recognize God's holiness. God didn't want Moses to stay away. Indeed he wanted Moses to approach him, because he wanted to share his heart with him. But he wanted Moses to approach him as the Holy Other.

What God next told Moses was that he was aware of the suffering of his people and longed to deliver them. He showed Moses his face, and it was a face of compassion. Quite unlike a god who wants people to fear him, Yahweh wanted Moses to know that he is a God of tenderness who suffers with those who suffer and longs for their release from all that binds them.

Discovering that God was a God of compassion, Moses began to feel less afraid. Fear instantly returned, however, when God told him his plans for the rescue. He was to go to Egypt and bring the captives back with him. Moses was overwhelmed with his inadequacy and the magnitude of the job. "Who, me? How could I ever do that?"

God's answer was the point of the whole encounter, the reason he had called Moses aside and shared his heart with him: "I shall be with you" (Exodus 3:12).

God does not want us to stand back in fear. What he desires is reverential intimacy. He wants us close enough to him that we know his heart-close enough to hear his heartbeat. He wants to look into our eyes, and he wants us to look into his.

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