Encounters with God

By Ross Parsley, Contributing Writer
May 04, 2017

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The friendship and the fear

The old man walked slowly toward the tent. The people watched as he bent his well-worn frame to enter. They had seen him approach the tent many times, but each time they stood to watch. His wrinkled hands, still strong, parted the canvas as he stepped inside. And then it happened, as it always did. A large cloud, shaped liked a massive pillar, descended from the sky and positioned itself at the doorway of the tent. All the people stood in awe and began to worship. They knew what was taking place. They called it the "Tent of Meeting", for there a man could go to inquire of the Lord and meet with Him. But with Moses it was different. It was no mere "meeting"; with Moses God spoke face to face, as a man speaks with his friend (Ex. 33:11). And now as they watched the cloud-pillar at the entrance of the tent, they knew that God was with His friend.

Worship folks love that story! You probably get goose bumps just thinking about it. I mean think of it: a man speaking with God face to face as a man speaks with his friend. I love the fact that we can be friends of God. It is one thing to call Jesus our best friend; it is quite a different thing for Him to call us His friend. We like knowing that He is always there, that we can call on Him anytime; but certainly, it is more amazing for Him to call on us to do His work, to share His heart with us. Yet this is the very thing that awaits us-the joy of being His friend. I am so grateful for the wonderful way that different ones in the Body of Christ have helped us recapture the childlike innocence in our approach to God. We have learned how to call Him Father, and to crawl up on His knee, so to speak, and let Him whisper His affections to us. I am thankful for the freedom we have rediscovered in our approach to God. In a personal and meaningful way, prayer and worship have become our conversation with God. Aspiring to be like Moses, we have learned to call Him our friend and to allow Him to make friends of us.

But there is one crucial point to bear in mind: Moses' relationship with God did not begin face to face. Do you remember the story? In Exodus chapter three, the young Moses, strong and well-built, trembled in the middle of the wilderness. As the voice boomed from the fiery bush, the grown man tried to hide his face. Quickly, he unfastened his sandals, placing his bare feet on the hot desert sand. God had required him to remove his shoes by way of introduction. This was the prologue to a life-long journey of walking with God. There the former "prince of Egypt" stood, shaking and afraid. He hid his face. Why? Because he dared not glance upon the living God. Here we don't see friendship, or intimacy. This isn't "running through the field with Daddy God". This is fear, terror, awe. This is "O God, You are so holy....I'm nothing like You...Please don't strike me down!"

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