“The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.” (Exodus 33:11)
We learn from this story of Moses in Exodus 33 that to have friendship with God, we must set our hearts to seeking him. But there’s more to learn in the story.
Verse 9 says, “As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the Lord spoke with Moses. Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to his tent.”
The second lesson we learn here for being best friends with God is Moses let God speak into his life.
Most people think prayer is you speaking with God, but we mustn’t forget that prayer is also God speaking with you. There is a listening component to prayer which cannot be overlooked. If in prayer we do all the talking, then we have not prayed. If we do not allow God to speak into our lives, then we have not prayed.
God says to us in Psalm 46:10 – “Be still and know that I am God.” The prophet Isaiah told us where we’d find our strength. “In quietness and trust is your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15). Jesus told us in John 10:27 – “My sheep listen to my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”
If in prayer we do all the talking, then we have not prayed.
Most people who play religion never allow God to get a word in edgewise. And a lot of that is intentional. Because once you start letting God speak to you about your life, he’s going to start putting his finger on things that he wants to help you change. Things that in your self-centeredness and shortsightedness that you’d rather not deal with. So you put a muzzle on God or you stop up your ears, so you don’t have to listen. Religion is so much safer.
But for those who want to be best friends with God, they will choose to listen. They will say, like Samuel said, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.” And God will speak.
How can I learn to hear God’s voice? It begins by letting God speak to you through His Word. He will speak to you in the act of having your daily quiet time (which is why you ought to develop the habit of a daily devotion). He’ll speak about your marriage, your friends, your hurts, your job, your use of time, your habits – when your ears and heart are open to God, words will start to leap off the page for you.
Images of things, and quiet whispers, will enter your mind. Over time, you’ll learn to recognize that some of those images, and some of those whispers are from God. That image of you marching into the courthouse to file divorce papers – it’s unlikely that one’s from God. But there will be other images and whispers which you will learn to recognize – things that you probably wouldn’t have imagined all on your own – that will have the aroma of Jesus about them.
Another important way God speaks into our lives is through other people, particularly our Christian brothers and sisters. Through something as sublime as a sermon, or as simple as a cup of coffee with a friend, God can speak to you concerning things that occupy your ‘blind spot’ – things you wouldn’t see or think about unless someone else called attention to it.
Moses let God speak into his life. And this is another reason why he enjoyed the friendship of God.
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.
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