Tim Keller | November 21, 2010
There’s nothing more practical than getting to know the true God of the Bible— because everything we do wrong and every experience of inordinate anxiety or anger or pride always comes because, at that moment, we’re forgetting who God really is.
In this passage from Exodus 3, we see the first time in the Bible when somebody says to God, “Who are you?” God shows us that he is not an ineffable, indefinable force, but a God with a name. We will see that he is the God of 2) Brilliant delay; 2) Fiery reality; 3) Absolute sufficiency; and 4) Mysterious nearness.
In Exodus 3, Moses has a powerful conversation with God. We learn that God is not just an idea, but a real, personal being with a name. God is shown as having perfect timing, being fiery and real, self-sufficient, and mysteriously close to us. Understanding who God really is can change how we live our lives.
1. God has perfect timing
Moses’ life shows us that God often calls us when we feel least ready. This is similar to the message of the gospel that we need to realize our dependence on God. For example, Jesus didn’t immediately heal Jairus’ daughter. He waited until the perfect moment, showing us that God’s timing is always right and has a reason.
2. God is real and life-changing
God appearing as fire to Moses shows us that knowing God is not just about having the right ideas, but about having a powerful, life-changing experience with him. It’s about moving from knowing about God to personally experiencing his power. We should ask ourselves if we’ve had this kind of experience, like Moses and Blaise Pascal did.
3. God is all we need
The fire in the bush that doesn’t burn out is a picture of God’s self-sufficiency. He doesn’t need anything outside of himself. Jesus taught us that we are completely dependent on God. This can be a humbling idea, but it can also set us free. Often, it’s through hard times that we learn this essential truth, and it can bring us real peace and satisfaction in our everyday lives.
4. God is mysteriously close
God is so holy that his presence can be dangerous to us, but in his mercy, he comes close to us through the Angel of the Lord, as we see in the story of Hagar. This Angel is considered a preincarnate appearance of Jesus, who makes it safe for God to come into our lives and for the Holy Spirit to live in us. This can make ordinary people into extraordinary ones, and calls us to seek to understand and experience God’s transforming power.
February Book Offer
In his book Counterfeit Gods, Tim Keller shows us how a proper understanding of the Bible reveals the truth about societal ideals and our own hearts — and that there is only one God who can wholly satisfy our cravings and fulfill our hopes.
February Book Offer