Be There or…?

[reprinted from February 4, 2010]

And YHWH said to Moses, “Go up into the mountain and wait [literally ‘be there’] . . . Exodus 24:12 (HN)

— Henry Neufeld

When I was in the Air Force we frequently heard the saying “Hurry up and wait.” You see, the powers that be, however little more power they had than I had, wanted people to be ready to receive commands. They weren’t too worried if you had to sit around and wait for them. The key thing was that they wouldn’t have to wait for you.

Today I took a scripture fragment that is smaller than I usually use for a devotional. As I read this passage today in the New Revised Standard Version, the word “wait” struck me. It’s literally “be there.” Moses was ordered into the mountain to “be there” for God. Down in the camp the people were ordered to wait.

After Moses waited, God came and spoke to him.

In our modern world we’re always in a hurry. We schedule everything. I’m as guilty of this as anyone else, or even more. I like things to start on time. I like them to end on time. When we’ve taken up the scheduled time, you’ll catch me glancing at the clock, thinking about what I’m going to do next.

But sometimes you have to spend time with God. Sometimes you have to wait. That’s not easy for us to do.

We’re not waiting because God doesn’t have time. He has all the time in the world-literally! So why doesn’t he just hurry up and bring stuff to us? Why doesn’t he answer my questions now? I’d certainly like that!

Unlike my Air Force superiors, God is not impatient. God doesn’t need you to be sitting there on a mountain somewhere so he doesn’t have to wait for you when he gets there. The fact is that no matter how much we like to avoid the issue waiting can be good for us.

So think about your life. Is there a time when you can go before the Lord, whether in your prayer closet, at your desk, on the beach, in the mountains, at your church, or anywhere God might call you to be, and just be there? Can you wait for God without a schedule? For many of us that’s hard, very hard, but we need to look for those times.

It’s likely you’re really waiting to be ready to hear what God says, and when you’re ready – there he’ll be, right where he was all the time. But if you’re watching the clock, instead of waiting for God, it will be very hard for you to be ready for Him.

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