Each Sunday my local church begins our service with a call to worship—a song declaring that we gather to proclaim God’s goodness and beauty. As we sing, we’re also affirming that we live as citizens of His kingdom. Although during most of the worship we encourage people to choose their own posture, in this opening song we always ask our people to stand. We want to open the service conscious of standing in God’s presence, reverently honoring the One who’s other than us.
Moses had a similar experience of awareness that he was in the presence of God. After fleeing Egypt, Moses had been tending his father-in-law’s flocks in the Midian desert for decades. On one occasion, Scripture reveals that Moses “led the flock far into the wilderness.” He was also far from his home, people, and from where he would have expected to be at this stage in his life (Exodus 3:1). God, however, was not far away—He was very near.
Alone, Moses glimpsed a flash of fire and turned to see a “bush . . . engulfed in flames,” only the flaming bush “didn’t burn up” (Exodus 3:2). As Moses drew close, “God called to him from the middle of the bush.” Likely with a voice that was quavering, Moses said, “Here I am!” (Exodus 3:4).
“ ‘Do not come any closer,’ the Lord warned. ‘Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground. I am the God of . . . Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ ” Struck with awe, Moses “covered his face because he was afraid to look at God” (Exodus 3:5-6).
Of course Moses was afraid! If we were to stand before God Almighty and not quiver, something would be wrong. God is love, but there should be moments in our life where our encounter with Him—the holy One who is other—leaves us trembling and in awe.
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Psalm 51:1-19
Read Isaiah 44:6-8 and consider how God describes Himself.
How have you been tempted to discount the otherness, or holiness, of God? Where and when have you encountered God as the “Holy Other”?