Word of Encouragement (06/07/2022)

Pastor James
June 7, 2022

This is the beginning of Moses’ encounter with God at Mount Sinai, at which God commissioned him to go back to Egypt and deliver the people of Israel from their bondage. Insofar as we understand prayer as a dialogue with God, we can view this interchange between God and Moses (of course, with the focus on what Moses says) as prayer. So, we will reflect on Moses’ prayers in this interchange.

First, notice that God was calling Moses by name. Even though this was their first encounter, the LORD knew Moses by name. This is not just because He is an omniscient God, who knows all the facts about the world as things happen. He is the sovereign Lord of all, the Author of history, who decreed everything that comes to be. The LORD said to Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations” (Jer. 1:5). This is true of Moses as well as every human being (granted that not everyone is called to be a prophet): God formed you in the womb and called you to your unique calling; He knew you even before the foundation of the world.

To God’s call, Moses replied, “Here I am.” He was not telling God where he was. When God called Moses by name, it was not because He didn’t know where he was. He knew exactly where Moses was and who he was; that was why He called him when he came near the burning bush. God was trying to get Moses’ attention, not to find out where he was. So, to respond by saying, “Here I am,” meant that one was ready to direct his attention to God and listen to Him.

How did Moses know how to respond to God’s call? Remember the almost comic scene of Samuel’s call? God had to call him four times before he answered, “Here I am,” and that, only after he was instructed by Eli. This was because he was only a child. Did Moses know how to respond because he learned it from the stories of God calling Abraham and Jacob, etc.? Maybe he learned these stories from his mom, who nursed him and raised him for Pharaoh’s daughter? But we can ask how Abraham knew how to respond when God called him.

When God directs His words toward you and calls you by name, maybe there is an undeniable sense that you are totally exposed before Him and completely known by Him. You somehow know that God is not looking for you; He is talking specifically to you. So, by answering, “Here I am,” you are saying that you have heard Him and, having heard Him, you know that you cannot run away, you must pay full attention to Him, and you are ready to do so. At that very moment, everything else becomes secondary to engaging Him with all your faculties and in all sincerity.

This is the posture we should have when we begin our prayer, isn’t it? When we pray, we are not initiating our dialogue with God: God initiated it by commanding us to pray in His Word; God initiated it when He created us in His own image and gave us the ability to commune with Him; God initiated it before the foundation of the world in His eternal, predestinating mind. Not only did God command us to pray but He also made it possible for us to pray through the redeeming work of Jesus Christ. As God said, “...your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear” (Isa. 59:20). Without Jesus’ atoning sacrifice, our pleas cannot reach His ear, no matter how desperate.

So then, when we pray, our attitude should say, “Here I am. You have called me by name. I can do no other but to respond, applying all my faculties and attention to the dialogue You initiated so graciously. What greater privilege is there than to have an audience with the almighty, sovereign Lord of all? I will consider everything else unworthy of my attention as I dialogue with You!” May the Lord grant you a deeper sense of His presence as you are fully present with Him!