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The significance of now

I will now turn aside and see this great sight…” (Exo.3:3). The walk of a child of God is a walk of the now. We cannot repent for tomorrow, nor can we be holy for next week. The believer’s walk comes down to this moment – now. Even the thoughts that we think and the situations that we face are, in a sense, thoughts and situations of the past – the fact that we are aware of them means that they have already happened. What matters is how we respond now. During his earthly ministry, our Lord never once advised anyone to go away and consider his words at their leisure. No, instead, in every instance he sought a response in faith there and then. “Then He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.” And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.” But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”” The one who will not instantly respond to God’s illumination and invitation will often not respond to it at all. In addition, we must always respond in faith to all that the Lord is making us aware of, bearing in mind that he is not obliged to show it to us again. On the day that God called Moses as he tended sheep alone on the far side of the wilderness, the Lord attracted his attention by causing a bush near him to burn without being consumed by the fire. Of course, Moses had never seen anything like it, “Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.” So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.”” It is unlikely that the Lord will use something as unusual as an indestructible burning bush to get our attention. One reason is because we have something that Moses did not – God’s own Spirit dwelling in us, directing and teaching our spirit. And it is through his Spirit in coordination with divinely directed circumstances that we become aware that we are in a “now” moment in our lives. More on this later. Our Lord himself had instances in his earthly life in which he needed to recognise and respond to something the Father was doing just at that time. An example of this was as he approached the hour of the great sacrifice of himself, he said, "Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour.” There was so much else taking place around him, but Jesus was not distracted. He was alert in the Spirit and constantly in oneness with the Father. He was therefore always “in season”, always ready, always prepared. He knew what God was doing and what he desired him to do. We are so prone to be distracted by the future. We worry about how this and that will turn out. We try to extrapolate from what we can see and try to predict what we cannot, often thoroughly frightening ourselves in the process. Even when we do consider the present we tend to look (think) carnally, like the natural man would, and fail to see and partake in God’s gift of right now. We fail to see the blazing, burning bush in front of us and therefore never turn aside to see what it means. God provided time (seasons, stellar movements, etc.) for our benefit, so that we can measure our finite lives and make the best use of our time here. God himself is the perfect Timekeeper and performs his will when the fullness of the time comes, not before, not after. We must synchronize our spirit with his so that we are spiritually aware and able to recognize the time of our visitation. “We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you.” “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” Modern psychology has much to say about “mindfulness” – being in the moment. The Lord does not want his children to be in the moment but in the Spirit. “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” “The things of the Spirit” is the key to readiness when the Lord brings us to that moment in our lives. Only by walking in the Spirit can we be alert and spiritually discerning, having spiritual eyes to see and ears to hear. The Lord’s will is that we be “… filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” It is the Spirit of God that makes this possible, but it is only effective in us if we are one with Him. One of Abraham’s ‘now’ moments came when, having put his life at risk to save others, and having refused to receive any reward, the Lord said to him: “After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” “Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” Now see Abraham’s response in that moment – “And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.” Many others throughout Scripture had such moments with God in which he revealed something new or illuminated their minds about something they would otherwise never have understood. Joshua met the Captain of the Lord’s host, Jacob had two such moments one on his way into Canaan and one on his way out. Samson’s parents also met the incarnate Lord, this time as the Angel of the Lord. The apostles Thomas, Paul, and John all did as well and doubtless very many more over the two millennia since. The problem is never whether God will speak to us; it is whether we are in a spiritual position to hear and respond. Are you ready to “turn aside and see this great sight” that God desires to show you, and are you prepared to respond in faith? Only the Lord himself knows how many such opportunities we have missed because we simply were ready. By definition, a ‘now’ moment can take place but once. May we be walking in the Spirit when the Lord says, “now is the accepted time” so that we can say like Moses, “Here I am.”

Exo.3:3-4; Luk.9:59-62; Joh.12:27; 2Cor. 6:1-2; 1Cor.2:14; Col.1:9; Gen.15:1-6

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