Turning Aside

Then Moses said, ‘I must turn aside and look at this great sight and see why the bush is not burned up.’   (Ex. 3:3)

Today’s scripture is such a small moment that had such incredible outcomes.  If Moses hadn’t turned aside and obeyed God’s calling out of the bush, the Hebrew people would have remained slaves in Egypt.  If they had remained in bondage, would we have the Ten Commandments? Would we know about the Promised Land? Would the Jews have even existed?  It all started with Moses turning aside.

I’ve sometimes wondered if God had already come to Moses before this moment in time.  Had God been coming to Moses for the last forty years and it had taken Moses that long to turn aside?  Maybe Moses’ long wait in Midian wasn’t due to God not coming, but to Moses not paying attention.

Where am I going with these speculations?  I believe that the “burning bushes” of God’s presence are all around us, but often we don’t see them because we are so preoccupied with what we may be looking at.  We look so far ahead to where we think we need to go, that we don’t look aside.  Or, we look so far behind at some regrets we can do nothing about, that we don’t look aside.  Or, we’re moving so fast, that we don’t pause and look aside.

Today I encourage us to “turn aside” in order to see how God might be trying to get our attention.  Look aside at our spouse and see that he or she is one of God’s greatest gifts to us.  Look aside at our children and see that we’re parenting with God.  Look aside at our work and see it as the place where God has called us to be His presence, heart, and hands.  Look aside at our community and see how God is asking us to make a difference.

The burning bushes are all around us.  Will we, like Moses, turn aside to see them?

Reflection Questions:

  1. If you have a hard time really looking at your life and how God might be trying to reach you, is it because you are looking too far ahead, or too far behind, or because you are simply moving too fast?
  1. What would help you to “turn aside” so that you could more often see the “burning bushes” of God’s presence all around you?
  1. Do you have a “burning bush” that you have been avoiding, or a calling from God you have been ignoring? If so, what would it take to get over your resistance so that you could hear God’s message to you?


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