“The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.” (Exodus 33:11)

How do you become friends with God? A story from Exodus 33 which describes Moses’ relationship with God is helpful to consider.

“Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the ‘tent of meeting’. Anyone inquiring of the Lord would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp. And whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose and stood at the entrances to their tents, watching Moses until he entered the tent.”  (vss.7-8)

The first lesson we learn from Moses here about becoming a friend of God is very simple and straightforward. Moses earnestly seeks God.

You can’t be friends with God without first setting your heart to seek him. This is a foundation spiritual truth. Jeremiah 29:13 – “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Isaiah 55:6 – “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.” Hebrews 11:6 – “God rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

You can’t be friends with God without first setting your heart to seek him. This is a foundation spiritual truth. 

Why do we have to do this? Is God playing some kind of hide and seek game with us? Why doesn’t God just show himself to us outright?

Because this is how we show God the seriousness of our heart. This is what separates the men from the boys in God’s eyes. The contenders from the pretenders. Those who want to play religion from those who want the real relationship.

Thousands of people followed Jesus at first, riding the waving of his popularity. Jesus would withdraw – a few would stop following, but the others would come and find him. He’d walk across a lake, a smaller group would jump in their boats and follow.

He’d say things to put them off his scent. A Canaanite woman sought him once, seeking healing for her sick daughter. Jesus said to her, “Woman, I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel. It’s not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” Why’d he do this?  It sounds cruel. But he was probing her heart, trying to draw out her faith.

So when the Canaanite woman cried out to him, “Yes Lord, but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table”, he knew that here was a woman that would take hold of God no matter what (Matthew 15:22-28). And Jesus rewarded her seeking by healing her daughter and praising her for her faith.

Are you going to take hold of God with that kind of intensity and passion? That’s the kind of person who becomes a friend of God. Moses set the tent of meeting “some distance away” from the camp. It reminds me of Jesus who when he went to pray would withdraw to solitary, lonely places. Why? Seeking God is serious business. Though it is birthed in grace, real effort in required on our parts.

You can’t just stay inside the doorway of your tent and expect to have a deeper experience of God.

David cried out to God in prayer, “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” (Psalm 63:1)

If you’re not sure where to begin, start by praying out these words from David. Then pray them again. Then do it aloud. Try memorizing them. It’s not a mantra. Don’t say them mindlessly. Think about the words you’re saying. Earnestly. Thirsts. Faints. You repeat them until the pulse of your heartbeat begins to align with David’s and you realize that this seeking is perhaps the greatest call to adventure you’ve ever heard.

Bear Clifton is a pastor, writer and screenwriter. His blogs and devotionals can be enjoyed at his ministry website: trainyourselfministry.com and his writing website: blclifton.com. Bear is the author of “Train Yourself To Be Godly: A 40 Day Journey Toward Sexual Wholeness”, “Ben-Hur: The Odyssey”, and “A Sparrow Could Fall”, all available through Amazon.