When God Calls You by Name

“When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, ‘Moses! Moses!'” (Exodus 3:4)

Moses draws near to this bush that is on fire, perhaps mostly out of curiosity about this strange sight. As Moses draws close, the Living God captures his attention and then begins speaking to him.

God says something simple, yet full of meaning: “Moses! Moses!”

Notice first of all that God invites Moses into a conversation. It is not an abstract or impersonal conversation, but one that is deeply personal. God calls Moses by his name. Moses is not anonymous to God but is known. Moses is not just a resource to be used by God, but a person. And this personal invitation is bathed in loved. Speaking his name twice, God addresses Moses in a way that reflects tender love by repeating his name twice This reminds us that God knows all people personally, even by name, and that God has tender love for people, regardless of their background.

Next pay attention to the fact that God’s address to Moses is an invitation into authentic relationship. This episode at the burning bush begins a long relationship between Moses and God. There are ups, like the literal journey up Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments, and there are downs, like Moses’ disobedience in striking the rock. In the end, Moses was known as one who God knew and related with face to face (Deuteronomy 34:10). When we hear a computerized voice say our name, reading a text through our phone or car, it doesn’t do much for us emotionally. The message may be meaningful, but the voice often feels at odds with that, coming across as sterile and inhuman. But when I hear someone I personally know call my name—my wife, my child, or my friend—I am immediately drawn into intimate relationship and vulnerable conversation. This episode with Moses and God at the burning bush reminds us that God isn’t interested in standing at a distance. Instead, God risks entering into real relationship with human beings, knowing us and being known by us. This is an amazing and nearly incomprehensible gift.

Wherever you are right now, let me encourage you to pause. Let me encourage you to still yourself and remember there is a God who exists. He has reached out to us first in creation and He has reached out to us even more personally through the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Remember that He calls you by name and wants to know you. In the stillness of this moment, hear God call you name. Then, speak your response to Him.

Everyday Fire: Learning to Stop, See, and Draw Aside with Moses

Everyday Fire

There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”

When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”

And Moses said, “Here I am.” (Exodus 2:2-4)

Moses notices the “strange sight” in the midst of his ordinary life and chooses to draw aside in wonder. How often do we miss the strange sights of the Lord in the midst of our ordinary lives?

“Certainly,” we say, “I am no Moses.” Yes, this is true. But who was Moses anyway? An adopted son turned runaway? A murderer fleeing for his life? A rescued baby now lost in the wilderness as an adult?

Moses is not so different from us, other than perhaps in his willingness to be captured in the wonder of God’s appearance; captured enough to draw aside and see. It is just that simple: “I will go over and see this strange sight.” What he sees is inexplicable to him, yet he does not brush past it or ignore it. He stops, draws aside, and sees.

Could it be that this is a fundamental practice of the children of God? Could it be that interruptions of the strange are the activities of God? Could it be that curiosity and wonder are the beginnings of wild new journeys with God? How many bushes burning with divine fire will come our way today? We will never know until see stop, see, and draw aside.

Living in the One Name (discussion questions)

Here are the discussion questions that accompany my message at Eastbrook Church this past weekend entitled “Living in the One Name” from our  series, “The Name.”

Discussion Questions:

  1. When was a time that you faced a task or situation that completely overwhelmed you? How did you deal with it? How did you interact with God about it?
  2. As we conclude our series, “The Name,” this week, we are looking at Exodus 4:1-17. Before you begin your study, ask God to speak to you through the Scripture. Then, read that passage aloud.
  3. Up to this point, we have focused quite a bit on God’s character and activity, but this study will focus more on Moses. Take some time to identify the questions or statements that Moses makes in Exodus 3 and 4. What do you notice about Moses’ words? What changes as the conversation carries forward?Read More »

Living in the One Name

The-Name-Facebook-coverThis weekend I concluded our series, “The Name,” at Eastbrook Church as we looked at Exodus 4:1-17.  Throughout this series we have explored Moses’ encounter with the Living God at the burning bush, encouraging us to all step into a transforming encounter with the Living God. The previous weeks have spent quite a bit of time on the person and character of God. This weekend’s message focused more on Moses’ fears and hesitation, and what we can learn from him together.

You can listen to my message, “Living in the One Name,” at the Eastbrook web-site here. You can also follow the RSS feed for Eastbrook sermons or follow Eastbrook Church on Twitter or Facebook.

The message outline is included below.

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The One Name (discussion questions)

Here are the discussion questions that accompany my message at Eastbrook Church this past weekend entitled “The One Name” from our series on Exodus 3 & 4, “The Name.”

Discussion Questions:

  1. Is there any significance from your given name related to family history, relatives or an event? What is it?
  2. This week, we continue our series “The Name” with a look at Exodus 3:13-22. Before you begin your study, ask God to speak to you through the Scripture. Then, read that passage aloud.
  3. As Moses converses with God in verse 13, he asks a question that leads into an extended response from God. What is the question and what do you think Moses is really asking?Read More »