Monday: God moves first
Read the Scripture and devotional either on your own or with your people (family, small group, roommates), and then come together for the discussion each day.
One day Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro the priest of Midian. He led the flock far into the wilderness and came to Sinai, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush. Moses stared in amazement. Though the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn’t burn up. 3 “This is amazing,” Moses said to himself. “Why isn’t that bush burning up? I must go see it.”
4 When the Lord saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
“Here I am!” Moses replied.
5 “Do not come any closer,” the Lord warned. “Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground. 6 I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” When Moses heard this, he covered his face because he was afraid to look at God.
7 Then the Lord told him, “I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and lead them out of Egypt into their own fertile and spacious land. It is a land flowing with milk and honey—the land where the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites now live. 9 Look! The cry of the people of Israel has reached me, and I have seen how harshly the Egyptians abuse them.
6 When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. 7 Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. 8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
Moses was blindsided in the desert with an invitation to a holy place. He hadn’t been looking for holy ground. He hadn’t been praying and preparing for a great move of God. He was going about his normal routine of caring for the sheep and being as invisible as one more speck of sand in the desert when he saw that burning bush.
God was on the move. God had prepared that meeting space for Moses. God consecrated the holy ground and then lit the bush afire to catch Moses’ attention. As Moses crept closer to see it, God spoke. Moses answered. His curiosity drew him to God’s work.
We see Moses’ response, but only after we see God’s movement. God moved first. He moved before Moses, for Moses and for the people of Israel. Not only had God paid attention to Moses, but God had also been paying attention to Moses’ people. God saw Moses and He spoke to him, but that encounter was to be used for the good of others. In commissioning Moses, God was moving to rescue the whole people. This holy ground encounter was not to make Moses feel special. It was to further God’s rescue of the world.
This was not the first time God had gone before people. Moses goes on to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt, but the people ended up there because of Joseph. Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, sent to prison because of lies, and left in prison because he was forgotten. However, when he was released from prison, he was made second in command of Egypt, saved the people from a famine with his wisdom, and brought his own family to safety in Egypt. Toward the end of his life, he told his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people” (Genesis 50:20). God had gone before Joseph and then invited him to participate in His work.
When Jesus came to earth, the Creator God was reaching out and moving toward people. We had not done anything to deserve it. We could not even ask for the help we needed. In fact, people scorned the help that God offered and hung Jesus on a cross. But God moved anyway making a way for our sin to be dealt with and our severed relationship with God to be repaired.
Every time we feel compelled to move toward God, it’s because God has been whispering our name. When we reach out to God, it’s because He has been reaching out to us. Everywhere we go, we walk in the confidence that God has gone before us and that He is already at work. We aren’t trying to get God to care about the responsibilities we carry. Instead, God is inviting us to participate in His work. God moves first. Then we respond.
Even your desire to participate in Revival Week is reassurance that God is moving toward you. That longing you have to serve at church or minister in your local community is a sign of God’s voice.
What changes if you believe that God initiates and goes before you?
How can you practice remembering this truth?
For your kids: Where have you seen God at work around you?
Romans 5 8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
Pause and ask God to bring to your mind the ways He has revealed his great love to you. Write them down somewhere and read them over throughout the week.