Do you remember times where your children wanted your undivided attention? How did they get it? I know mine have kept saying my name over, and over, and over again until they knew they had my eyes and my total attention.
Or what about when you were a student and the teacher wanted to make sure she had everyone’s attention? Well, I remember those times of being called on to answer a question, or worse yet; a pop quiz was given to the entire class.
Or what about times where God has tried to get your attention? What were these times like? For me, it was turmoil in my soul over the guilt of my sin; I remember feeling like I was running from Him as I wrestled with what He was calling me to do.
But even then, these scenarios are nothing in comparison to how God got Craig’s attention.
Craig DeMartino discovered in a devotional from the day of his accident the topic, “How far does God have to go to get your attention to make sure He’s number one in your life?” He joked that a burning bush would have been preferable to a catastrophic fall but believes that God, in His divine providence, deemed this course of events necessary. God had gotten Craig’s undivided attention, and Craig prayed, “Whatever you want me to do, reveal it to me.”
Now, think back to that time, which could actually be now, when God has tried to speak to you. Were you prone to listen and act instantly, or were you so inattentive to God that He had to speak louder and louder each time until He got your attention? And, how did your life change as a result of hearing His voice?
It took Craig falling from a cliff, but as he said, “he would rather have seen a burning bush, just like the one Moses saw in the desert.”
So looking at Moses’ testimony in EXODUS 3: 1-14, you see how a burning bush became the voice of God to get Moses to do something he really didn’t feel like doing.
Can you imagine coming across a bush that is on fire, yet it’s not being burned? Would it peak your curiosity like it did Moses? Or, would you pooh-pooh it as some figment of your imagination? Personally, I’m a curious person so I’d go check it out. It’s pretty neat stuff.
Now oncethe Lord saw He had gotten Moses’ attention, He spoke. I really feel that if God speaks before Moses’ curiosity gets the best of him, Moses probably runs away with his sheep in another direction. But, picture it: Can you see Moses looking at this bush like a dog trying to figure out a strange noise? And it’s in this stillness and attentiveness that God speaks.
The same is true for us today. God will use things to get our undivided attention. In fact, He knows we won’t do what He asks us to do if our focus is somewhere else. Let me ask this: Do you think people who are caught up in satisfying themselves are going to recognize the voice of God? No way, dude! That’s why God has to often use crisis and fearful circumstances. He will first try to get people’s attention in a civil way, with a still small voice. But if that doesn’t work, He increases the volume and tactics to get their undivided attention. And sad to say, even then, some still don’t listen.
Mybrother-in-law Jimmy is an example of how God will go to extreme measures to get someone’s attention. Jimmy is lucky, and please excuse the word lucky, to be alive today. He’s been in accidents due to being under the influence and very fortunate that he never ended up in a fatal accident from his drag racing. Putting it frankly, he was a reckloose. Even while on the job in a steel mill, he had the end of three fingers cut off. Yet none of the catastrophic events in his life got his undivided attention.
What did get his attention was, about 6 years ago there was a real possibility that he might lose his job in the Mill along with his pension and retirement; and his wife of 27 years at the time was tired of his sinful activity and threatened him to shape-up or ship-out. So on December 23, 2005, Jimmy came to me, after God had gotten his undivided attention, and asked me what he needed to do to be saved. That night after lengthy discussion, he made a profession before me that he wanted Jesus’ forgiveness, and repented of his sins. He later made this profession in front of his brothers and sisters at the funeral of their father.
So if there is a Big Idea that we could take so far, it is this: Let God have your undivided attention.
Why? Because if God wants your attention, He’s going to get it one way or another. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel like I want to fall from a cliff or have the ends of fingers cut off to finally say, “OK God! I hear you.”
Now, getting back to the scripture in verses 5-14, you could almost hear Moses saying in his mind, “Yea Lord, this all sounds good! It’s great that you hear the cries of your people and want to rescue them from the hands of the Egyptians. I tried once before, but they kicked me out of town. So how are you going to do it this time? Who are you going to send? And God says, “You!” “But, but, but, but, but …… I can’t do it!” says Moses. “Who am I? I’m just a lowly shepherd that Pharaoh won’t take seriously. Send somebody else that has some clout!” And God said, “I will be with you.”
God hears our excuses for why we can’t do what He is asking us to do. (And thank God He doesn’t condemn us for our excuses or we’d all be in trouble.) But even though He hears them, He won’tlet us use them. Never! He will never let us rest until we do what He has asked us to do.
I’ve heard it said, and I say this jokingly for fear I’ll get it from my wife when I get home, that women sometimes nag their husbands:) In fact there is no woman on the face of this earth, and never will be, who is as relentless as God in getting people to do things He’s asked them to do. He’s like the Energizer Bunny who just keeps “Going, and going, and going” until we finally say, “Yes Lord!” He says of our excuses, “Okay, I heard you. Now go! Have faiththat I will be with you.” And if we continue to choose to run from His direction and calling, He might just use a fish to swallow us and vomit us out where He needed us to go in the first place.
Does God have your undivided attention? Is He #1 in your life? Are you listening? Is Christ speaking to your heart that you need to confess your sin and follow Him?
You know, after what we discovered today, don’t wait to say “yes” to His voice. In fact, don’t be afraid to pray as Craig prayed, “Whatever you want me to do, reveal it to me.” For it’s in this prayer you know exactly where your attention lies.