God Isn’t Big Brother

Originally published Saturday, 11 October 2014.

“God is watching you,” she said, in a high-pitched slightly-creepy voice, wagging her finger in my face. I looked up, surprised, and in my six-year-old mind I pictured a white-bearded gruff giant with a temper, hands on hips, scowling because I had reached over to grab a piece of leftover communion bread out of the gold-rimmed serving platters.

God Knows… And Cares

God is often portrayed as a Big Brother figure who uses His all-knowing powers to pin us to the wall like a butterfly in a display case. He sees everything and knows everything, and nothing escapes His vision.

And while it’s true that he’s omniscient, that quality often overshadows His other equally-valid attributes. God is also always eternally loving, patient, faithful, holy, creative, and kind.

God knows me. He knows me. He knows every hair on my head (even the premature silver ones), He knows my deepest desires and my hardest struggles. He knows what I’m capable of and what is beyond my ability. He knows… and He cares (Matt 10:29).

He doesn’t use that knowledge against us, like an ace up his sleeve. An I-know-what-you-did-last-summer type of threat hanging over our heads. Because we are hopeless sinners, yes. God knows that. But we are also covered in grace, called His children, and loved beyond our wildest imaginations.

God knows us better than any other person ever will. And He invites us to know Him as well.  

God Wants to Be Known

One of my favorite examples of a person knowing God and dwelling with Him is Moses.

In a shockingly frank conversation, Moses tells God:

If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. ~Exodus 33:13

Moses is intent on pursuing a deeper experiential knowledge of God. Not content to rest on his past experiences with God, Moses pushes deeper and farther into knowledge of the Most High, even daring to ask to see God’s own glory.

And surprisingly, God does not chasten him for his brazenness. No, He rewards him with the closest, most intimate view of God any human has ever seen.

Listen in as their conversation continues:

And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.

Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”

And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”

Then the Lord said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”
~Exodus 33:17-22

What I wouldn’t give to experience God’s glory that way!

Moses’s experience of dwelling with God wasn’t one of dry Bible readings and mindless prayers. His was a ground-shattering, life-altering, mind-blowing experience of knowing God in such a way that literally transformed him. When he returned to the Israelites, his face was literally shining so brightly that the people were afraid of him so they made him wear a veil (Exodus 34:35).

God Rewards Those Who Seek Him

Moses had many other such conversations with God, although only one is recorded for us to read and learn from.

What Moses experienced with God is special, but it is not unique. Abraham had similar conversations with God (Genesis 18:16-33). David often penned both his highs and his lows with God (Psalm 51). And Peter, Paul, and John all had personal conversations with Jesus after His resurrection.

Throughout the church’s history, people have sought God and He has let Himself be found (1 Chron 28:9). God longs for us to want Him, to thirst for Him, to desire Him. And He will gladly reveal more and more of Himself to those who seek Him.

Day 6 Challenge: What bold move can you make in your life to seek God at the next level? Tell Him your desire to know Him deeply, experientially, life-alteringly, and ask Him to reveal more and more of Himself to you.

Father, I’m blown away by how positively you responded to Moses. Sometimes I equate Your holiness to being untouchable or distant, but you are close to the broken-hearted and you let Yourself be found by us. You created us to be in communion with You, and Jesus gave His own life to restore that relationship. Forgive me for taking this privilege for granted, for thinking in terms of “I don’t have time” instead of making knowing You my highest priority. I want to desire to know You more. I want to be desperate for you instead of lukewarm. I pray, like Moses, teach me Your ways, o Lord, that I may walk with You and know You. I can’t do this on my own, but fill me with Your Spirit that I may seek You and find You more and more each day.  

This is the 6th post in the series, “Abiding in Christ–when reading the Bible isn’t an option.” Check out all the posts here.

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