God on the Move

  • God on the Move
God on the Move

There are some things about God I take for granted. They are truths so deeply embedded they have become assumptions. But what I see as assumptions were once stunning revelations.

For example, varieties of gods worshipped throughout history were often localized. That is, they were lords of a particular region or geographic focus. They were gods of the sun, gods of the mountain, or gods of the forest or sea. These deities had a circumscribed domain and they seemed to be rooted there. The god of the mountain took care of the mountain but left the winds and waves to his watery peer. When Jehovah revealed Himself to Israel, He was not rooted to any one place. He was and is everywhere. In fact, He proved to be a God on the move! He is the Lord of pilgrims—leading His people through a journey. He led Abraham from Ur across the boundaries of his home, to a new promised land. God wandered with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as they criss-crossed territory that would be inhabited by their descendants. When God wanted to take Israel out of Egypt to this new home, He didn't transfer them to another jurisdiction. He went with them, leading by the pillar of fire and smoke. Moses was bold enough to challenge God saying, "If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here" (Exodus 33:15 NASB).

The story of God's people is saturated with the idea of journey. God did not simply send them. He moved with them. (Funny, how many of Israel's troubles took place when they stopped moving.) The concept of pilgrimage is not just an Old Testament theme. Jesus was homeless and trekked from town to town with His disciples. His final earthly command is a commission of motion. We are to go to the ends of the earth with His Gospel making disciples on the way. Clearly, Jesus is not against home ownership and we need not be nomadic to be faithful believers. But we do need to examine and adjust our bend towards rootedness. Our quest for stability and security can tie us to the things we own and the places we live. We get nervous with change and transitions—so familiarity becomes our goal. At lunchtime in a strange town, we turn towards the Golden Arches not because the food is amazing, but because we know what to expect. I do not advocate chaos or change for novelty's sake. But I do know this: God's pilgrims are meant to journey from "what is" to "what is new." Our continual conversion means God is taking us somewhere—somewhere better.

The journey may be geographic but it doesn't have to be. (The hardest journeys are not!) The movement of God will likely be with my thoughts, affections, relationships, emotions, and spirit. If my body moves but my heart doesn't, I haven't gained much ground. I know it is scary to face the unknown. I admit a preference for wanting all the details mapped out in advance. (A preference, which doesn't have much influence on God.) I have tasted soul fatigue in my progress, fear's panicked whispers, and a longing look in the rear-view mirror. So what helps when our feet are dragging? I find strength in the remembrance that God is taking me somewhere. I am a pilgrim and called to live a pilgrim's life in body, heart, mind, and soul. God is not simply behind or before me…He is with me.