In 2023, everything is trying to get our attention. The apps on our smartphones light up with little red notifications. Social media has created endless scrolling - you never get to the end of the feed! Ads are quick, loud, and designed to capture our gaze and our wallet. E-mail and text messaging are designed to give you quick access to anyone’s focus.
As the years pass and technology progresses, studies show that our human attention spans are shrinking smaller and smaller.
In this battle for our attention, paying attention to the right things is more crucial than ever.
Moses was paying attention on the day that his life forever changed. He was watching his father-in-law’s flock of sheep one seemingly-average day in the desert when a bush caught on fire. Burning bushes aren’t that rare in deserts. Moses may have seen some in his 40 years in the desert. But this one was different.
This bush was burning, but it wasn’t consumed. The flames were continually blazing, but the bush wasn’t even singed.
“And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.” Exodus 3:3
Moses noticed something was different about this bush and turned around to get a closer look. He stopped to pay attention.
“And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto Him out of the midst of the bush” Exodus 3:4
It was only after the Lord saw that Moses turned aside to see that He called him. It was when Moses made that second glance. He stopped in his tracks and turned his attention on this miraculous burning bush.
What if Moses hadn’t noticed the bush that day? What if he had been too busy to give it that crucial second glance? Too preoccupied or too distracted? What if he had been too wrapped up in his own expectations about what God would look like or sound like to notice Him revealing Himself in such a crazy, unprecedented way?
Because Moses stopped to give this burning bush his full attention, God called to him out of the flames. God turned his desert land into holy ground.
How many times have I missed out on moments that God was trying to speak to me because I was too distracted? How many times have I not noticed that still small voice because my mind was overwhelmed with all the noise of this world? How many times have I not seen His glory on display in my life because my attention was turned elsewhere?
It was the second look that changed everything for Moses.
May we, like Moses, learn to “turn aside and see” the evidence of God in our lives. May we remove distractions so we can be fully aware of and sensitive to the voice of God speaking to us. May we recognize the ways God is trying to capture our attention and see the burning bushes He places in our own paths.
And may our eyes be ready for that second look.