Keeping It Real with God


So, I spent yesterday reading through Moses’ interactions with God from Exodus through Deuteronomy (I did a lot of skimming). Moses spent time meeting with God “face-to-face”, the Bible says, “as a man speaks with his friend.” Wow. I mean, seriously, wow.

And what I love about the relationship between Moses and God is how real it all gets. You can’t read through the book of Numbers and miss what a whining, complaining, grumbling bunch of people Moses was leading through the wilderness (and before you think I’m picking on them, my husband and I can’t drive thirty minutes without a quarrel so I’m pretty certain they’re representative of the entire human race on a forty-year wander with only McManna burgers and McManna fries to eat.)

So, there are moments when God tells Moses to stand back while He destroys all the people (Exodus 32:10). He assures Moses He can create a whole new people using just Moses’ DNA. (Moses intercedes for the people and then marches down the mountain to have a word with his wayward flock.)

And then there are moments when Moses loses it like in Numbers 11 when he says to God “Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of these people on me? Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their forefathers? Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me ‘Give us meat to eat!’ I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. If this is how you are going to treat me, put me to death right now – if I have found favor in your eyes – and do not let me face my own ruin.”

“Kill me now. I’ve had it with these people.” This is the prayer of a holy man who speaks with God face-to-face.

I’ve prayed that prayer.

After four decades of following Jesus, I’m trying to go deeper. I’ve seen some amazing things following God – like miracles, answers to prayer, minds changed and lives transformed. I’ve also known bitter disappointment, long silences from heaven, prayers that fell back to earth like shot gunned quail and lingering questions about giant issues like hell and bigger issues like how I’m supposed to spend my days.

What I sense about going deeper with God is this idea of being real with Him in prayer.

When I was baptized, they played the hymn “Just as I am”, a hymn that says I come to God through Jesus Christ, with nothing to my own credit. I come just as I am and am received because of Jesus.

But, somewhere along the way, I started trying to clean up my own act before I appeared before Him in prayer. I started masking my real feelings and questions with flattering phrases and religious words I thought would provide the formula to getting the answers I wanted. My prayers often bordered on idolatry as I struggled to break the “Open Sesame” code that would pry open God’s fists that seemed to be clenched around my desired blessing.

I’m discovering that “Just as I am” still applies. Even after knowing Him for four decades. Even after reading the Bible cover to cover again and again. Even after a degree in Biblical Studies. Even after all I know and all I’ve done, I still appear before Him with nothing to my own credit. I come “just as I am” in the name of Jesus.

Sometimes, “just as I am” means lost. Sometimes it means confused. Sometimes it means happy and content. Other times it means angry, doubting or “just kill me now, I’ve had it with these people.” It’s freeing to come “just as I am”, to stop hiding from God and working so hard to get something from Him.

I want to want God first. Usually, I come to Him wanting something else but I want to aim higher now. I want to want God first. So, I’m learning from Moses because he was real with God. He spoke with God face-to-face, as one would speak with a friend.

I suspect the reason for this is that when Moses met with God, he knew in that meeting that God was the real Promised Land.


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4 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Andrea says:

    I am thankful GOD loves me and accepts me “just as I am”…..Praise GOD for HIS amazing grace.

    blessings and prayers, andrea

  2. Absolutely. How else would we manage? Thank you for stopping by, Andrea.

  3. “What I sense about going deeper with God is this idea of being real with Him in prayer.”

    Grrrllllll- this is good stuff!! I love that He knows our heart and when we are real with Him. Sometimes, I do not recognize that I am not being real with myself. I join you in thanks that he accepts and claims us just as we are!

    Hugs!

    Jodi

  4. Then we are in agreement, sister. Part of coming before God is asking Him to free us from the self-deception we wrap around us like a cloak against the cold truth that we have nothing to bring before Him of our own design. But once we are freed of our false clothing, He provides magnificent robes of righteousness and truth – appropriate for dinner with a King!