Have you ever pulled off the highway to visit a roadside attraction? Perhaps your destination was the Rockies, or the Grand Canyon, or the Ocean, or just to visit some family and friends. But these signs kept popping up – Visit Wall Drug. See Rock City. Lambert’s – Home of Throwed Rolls. Or harkening back to the Route 66 days – Gemini Giant, Blue Whale, and Cadillac Ranch. At some point, the question was asked, “well, what do you think, should we pull in?” A decision was made. Perhaps the attraction was nothing more than a tourist trap, the point is that it got our attention and we made a choice to see what it was all about.
One day, Moses was minding his own business, well really his father-in-law’s business, notices a kind of roadside attraction. Most of us are familiar with the story of the burning bush. Now Moses was doing what he always did, shepherding the flock. He was at work, doing his thing, just another day wandering around in the wilderness seeking pasture for the sheep. In my own silliness, I’ve often wondered how many other times God tried to get Moses attention that He finally had to resort to a roadside attraction worthy of Route 66. A flaming bush that was not burnt up. I’d call that a neon sign from God which screamed, “Hey you!, Yeah, you.” The book of Exodus puts it this way…
“Now Moses was pasturing the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian; and he led the flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. The angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed. So Moses said, “I must turn aside now and see this marvelous sight, why the bush is not burned up.” When the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” (Exodus 3:1–4, NASB95)
Here’s the point. Moses had to choose to “turn aside.” He had to choose to change course from His plans to something entirely spontaneous. He didn’t know God was in the bush, all he saw was something that he couldn’t explain. I wonder how long he watched the bush burn before he decided to take a closer look. But God was watching and waiting for him to turn aside. It was only after Moses stopped and came over that God revealed His presence.
Many of us long to hear from God. Whether it’s just to confirm our beliefs or because we feel lost or because we have a gigantic mountain we can’t climb ourselves. We want to hear from God and God is speaking. He is not hiding. He’s not waiting for us to unlock some deep mystery. He’s not tucked away in some far-off corner of the world playing some kind of cosmic hide-n-seek. He is waiting for us to step aside from our own busy-ness, our own plans, our own worries for just a moment and turn towards Him. God’s roadside attraction for us could be a bird on a branch, a colorful sky, the depths of the stars, a child’s smile, a crackling fire, a quiet moment in His Word, a whispered prayer, or the blossom of a flower. God’s roadside marketing could also come in the forms of things unattractive like a pile of garbage, a ruined home, or the temper tantrum of a toddler not getting their way. God can speak to us in all these things if we will only turn aside long enough to listen.
That’s it. It’s just that simple. God will speak to our hearts if we will only turn aside from all the other things that demand our attention. You don’t need to wait for a flashing neon sign proclaiming “GOD IS HERE” to hear from God. But we do need to turn aside and say with Moses, “Here I am” and let God speak to our hearts. For the theological stalwarts that may be reading this little encouragement, I know that a lot more could be said, like reminding folks that the specific revelation of the Bible is preeminent. But there are so many things in our world that God uses to bring His truth to our heart and mind. Like that brown, plain, and downright messy sparrow sitting on that branch right over there. Didn’t Jesus say, “Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God.” (Luke 12:6, NASB95) If God knows and cares for each sparrow, what does that say about you and I? See?! God can use something that simple to remind us of His love for us if we will only take a moment to turn aside and listen.