Turn Aside Now and Look At Him
Exodus 3:1-5 NASB
1 Now Moses was pasturing the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian; and he led the flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.
2 The angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed.
3 So Moses said, “I must turn aside now and see this marvelous sight, why the bush is not burned up.”
4 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.”
Moses is going about his usual business of tending his father-in-law’s flock of sheep. On this day, he leads the flock to a far end of the desert and there, he encounters a visitation from the angel of the Lord.
No matter where we are at in life, even at the most obscure of places, God wants to visit with us. God wants to show up right there for us to encounter His presence.
Today, God is teaching me something about worship from this Bible passage, particularly about when we gather to worship God at a church service.
Every Sunday, when we walk into church, we may be laden with burdens, exhausted by the week’s challenges or afraid of the week to come. As the worship team leads us to praise and worship God, some of us may be thinking about the business meeting we have the next day, the exam that is upcoming or the mounting bills we have to pay. Other times, we cannot get our mind over the person who has offended us the past week even as we lift our hands and sing. Sometimes, we may be simply distracted by what others in the church are doing or we start to think where we are going for lunch after the service ends.
In Exodus 3:2-4, Moses looks and beholds the Lord appearing to him from a bush that is burning with blazing fire but not consumed by the fire. And he says, “I MUST turn aside NOW to see…” It is not an option and it cannot be delayed. We read in Exodus 3:4 that when the Lord sees that Moses has turned aside to look, God begins to call out to him and speak to him.
From here, God draws me to recognize that this is how worship should be – we are to turn aside to look at God, focus on God and hear Him speak.
When we worship, we must turn aside from our worries and concerns, and look at God. We must turn aside from distraction and look to God intently and with a single focus. We must stop being absorbed with ourselves and start immersing ourselves in Who we are worshipping.
Worship is not merely about singing. It is a time that God wants to have with you, just you and Him. When you worship, you enter into His presence and let Him speak something to you. Remember, it is only after God has Moses’ attention that He speaks to him. Have you ever felt like worship has not done anything for you? It is because you have not given any of your attention to God! He is waiting to speak to you and touch you in a far deeper and more intimate way than you can imagine, if only you would but give Him your wholehearted worship.
The rest of Exodus chapter 3 tells us God speaks to Moses about his mission to deliver the nation from slavery, God reveals to Moses that His Name is “I AM WHO I AM” and God promises to bring the Israelites to a land flowing with milk and honey. All these, Moses heard, because he turned aside immediately to look at God. He turned aside from his work, his livelihood, the flock that his father-in-law had entrusted him to tend. He had to turn aside from what he was doing earlier to give his full attention and complete focus to God. As he did that, He heard from God what changed his life and the lives of the whole nation and the generations to come.
Every time the Body of Christ gathers to worship, we too can have such a burning bush encounter with God where we hear from Him Who He is, our mission and His promises. When we worship, be like Moses, lay down our worries and concerns, turn aside from all distractions, and look intently and solely at Jesus. When we worship Jesus wholeheartedly, we come into His presence and when we go out of the sanctuary, we do not go out of His presence, we go out with His presence.
Let us pray.
“Dear God, I worship You for You are the King of kings and the Lord of lords and You are worthy of all praise and glory. Lord, forgive me for those times when I sang songs of worship but was not truly worshipping You. I repent of such half-hearted worship and I commit to lay aside all cares and burdens, turn from all distractions and just to look to You and worship You with all my heart. Lord, You are great and greatly to be praised. I will bless Your Name at all times and constantly speak of Your praises. May my life bring delight and glory to You, O Lord. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.”