Today’s Scriptures: From the Book of Common Prayer
Psalm 66, 67, 19, 46
How do we know the voice of God?
A few years ago one of my coworkers’ voices was so distinctive it could be picked out across a noisy room. It was not odd. It was not loud. It was essentially distinctive. There was no other way to describe it. Everyone who knew her knew she was present simply by hearing her speak. In the passages today, we hear God’s voice.
The Exodus passage present’s Moses’s encounter with the burning bush through which God presents his mission. These passages in which God directly encounters a person are some of my favorite in the Bible because they show the humanity of the people in the story. Moses has the typical response as others when God tells them what they are going to do: “You want me to do what?” And God comes back with the typical Godly response: “Don’t worry about it. I’ve got this.” Similar exchanges take place throughout the Bible when God calls prophets and when Jesus talks to people. We in our humanity cannot grasp the magnitude of the situation and have no idea what to do to see it through.
The Hebrews passage remembers the encounter of the Israelites at the mountain when they heard the thundering voice of God and feared they would die of it. As I read the passage, I can also read it as all peoples standing before God in the coming judgment. Both readings provide an opportunity for the people of God to embrace the encounter with great joy and celebration. Instead, the encounter is both frightening and eye-opening. We see that most of the people cower from the experience. The passage reminds us to listen to the voice of God for it is our guide – no matter how overwhelming it seems in the moment. Despite the people’s fear, the scripture offers reassurances: “Don’t worry about it. I’ve got this.”
In Matthew, Jesus is giving directions and encouragement to his followers as he prepares them for challenges to come. He tells of the Holy Spirit which will be the voice of God with the people when he leaves. The Holy Spirit will bring the answers we humanly cannot know. God never abandons his people in a time of need. By providing the Holy Spirit, Jesus reminds us: “Don’t worry about it. I’ve got this.”
One of the keys to survival for young in the wild is that they recognize their parent’s call – and that the parent recognized the call of their young. As Christians, we are given the Holy Spirit, God’s voice, to know God’s voice. He still speaks to us. Maybe not in thundering tones from the top of a mountain. And maybe not in the still small voice. He speaks to us in his voice. In order for us to grow and thrive as Christians, we must know God’s voice.
Let us open ourselves to the power of God’s voice – in whatever form it takes – that we may grow and do as he commands us to. And let us remember his assurance, “Don’t worry about it. I’ve got this.”