Turn aside

“I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.” Exodus 3:3

The words of our text are more important than we might at first consider. We all know the story of the burning bush. We all remember the Lord speaking to Moses, and calling out his name. And we all remember, I trust, how the whole history of the deliverance of the people of Israel from Egypt hinged upon this episode in the wilderness where the Lord met with Moses.

But I dare say that we might not have thought about how all this came to pass because Moses, the busy shepherd of Midian, turned aside. He turned aside. Something strange was happening. It was odd to see a bush that burned but was not consumed. A puzzling phenomenon for sure. But Moses was a busy man. He might have argued with himself, “Strange, yes. Different, for sure. But I have things to do and place to go. The sheep need tending. I don’t have time for idle amusements right now.”

Think for a moment of what the consequences of such a response would have been. If Moses had not turned aside, then, humanly speaking, God does not speak to him. And if God does not speak to him, then Israel stays in bondage. If Israel stays in bondage, maybe they never escape. No deliverance. No Promised Land. No dividing up of the territory. No kings of Israel. No David. No Son of David. No Savior. No Redeemer. No cross. No hope. No forgiveness for you or me.

Do you appreciate the progression? All of our redemptive history came about, at least humanly speaking, because Moses “turned aside.” That is what the text says. The next verse repeats the importance of this little event, when we read in verse 4 “So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, ‘Moses, Moses.'” It is as though God was watching, waiting, observing what Moses would do. Yes, the Lord knew already. But yet He waited until Moses turned aside.

Dear friend. Dear reader. Whomever you are. Is the Lord calling you in some way to turn aside from what you are doing and to listen to Him for a moment? Are you aware of a need to listen to the voice of the Lord, but are just too busy to stop what you are doing and pay attention? Have you picked up the Bible lately to read it? No? Let me encourage you from this text to please “turn aside” for a while and think about what is happening in your life. Put yourself into a situation where you can hear the Lord. Go to church. Open His Word. Speak to some Christian about the important matters of life and eternity. There will always be work to do. Always distractions around us. Turn aside! Turn aside!

Maybe it isn’t a burning bush that has caught your attention. But maybe some sickness has laid you low. Maybe some unexpected death has come close to home. Maybe you have seen more clearly something of the vanity of life and the futility of all the world is offering. Maybe your heart is just a bit more open right now than at other times. Turn aside! Turn aside! Do not let the clamoring noise of life and passing distractions keep you from hearing the very voice of God.

And Christian – you too may need to turn aside. Is your life so caught up in your career that you have nothing left to give to the Lord? Are you wasting away your days, months and years on things that really won’t matter in eternity? My dear brother or sister in Christ – I say with all tenderness – turn aside! Maybe the Lord is waiting to speak to you, but He is far too polite to interrupt you. Turn aside my dear friend. Turn aside.

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