Archive for April 3rd, 2008

Look Into My Eyes…

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

Today’s scripture: Exodus 32:1-4 (ESV-text and audio) (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Brent Walsh):

When I was a child, I was prone to distraction.

One day my father told me to clean my room. I stared at the mess for a while, then decided to start this laborious chore by straightening the bookshelf. In the process, I found a book that I had forgotten, and I proceeded to read the book from beginning to end. That was so much fun, I decided to read another one! About halfway through the second book, my dad came into the room and asked me why I hadn’t started cleaning.

“I have,” I said. “I’m straightening the bookshelf.”

“It looks to me like you’re reading,” my father observed. “Stop reading and clean your room.”

So with the speed of a tortoise I resumed the process. I decided to switch gears and separate all the dirty clothes on the floor from all the clean ones. In that huge pile of clothes, I found my favorite shirt that I had not seen in over a week! I tried it on over the shirt that I already had on. It looked so funny that I decided to see how many layers of clothes I could put on at one time.

When my father poked his head in the room again, he found what looked like a mummy, rolling around on a pile of clothes, trying to pull a pair of socks up over an already bulging ankle. Through the leg of a pair of shorts that had been pulled down over my head, I witnessed a look of shock on the face of my father.

“What are you doing?” he exclaimed. “Why aren’t you cleaning your room?!”

“I’m sorting clothes,” came my muffled voice from under the layers.

With that, my father stepped over the mess on the floor and sat on my bed. He pulled the clothes off my head and took my shoulders in his hands. With a stern look he said, “When I tell you to clean your room, that’s what I expect you to do. I did not ask you to come in here to read books or to try on clothes or to spend the entire day getting distracted! Now I want you to clean this room. Do you understand me?”

I nodded my head and looked down at the floor, feeling the tears starting to well up in my eyes. The whole room was such a mess that I didn’t know where to start!

“Look at me,” he said, lifting my chin. “Look into my eyes. This is what want you to do…” He spelled out the tasks that would result in a clean room. Then he said, “Is that clear?” “Uh, huh,” I said, nodding my head miserably.

The book of Exodus describes the journey of Israel out of Egypt where they had been held as slaves for generations. Their new freedom from Egypt had served, at first, to bring them closer to God, and they were eager to do what was right.

On several occasions God pulled Moses aside and told him exactly what to tell the people. On other occasions, though, God seemed to have “stepped out of the room.” It felt as if God became distant and the people turned their backs on God — instead, going after gods they could see and touch. The Israelites would get distracted, forgetting what they were supposed to be doing and Whom they were to be worshiping!

How many times do we get distracted from what God wants us to do? If we don’t “hear from God” on a regular basis, do we get caught up in other gods in our world? Do we rely on our careers to give us meaning? On our friends for comfort? On our partner for companionship? On our pastor for direction?

When I read parts of the Old Testament, I can just picture God sitting on the edge of a bed, holding the distracted children by the shoulders and saying, “Look into my eyes…this is what I want you to do…”

Thought for the day: God, help me to keep my focus on You. Help me remember what You want me to do.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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