The recent death of the truly inimitable preacher of the Gospel Rev. Charles Grisham had such a powerful effect on me that I have been deeply moved in my soul, and have considered at length how it is that we stand in the holy presence of God, and how it is possible that at these times we may not recognize the ordained turf beneath our feet, nor truly discern the lofty calibre of those with whom we associate. I met Brother Grisham when I attended Apostolic College in Tulsa, Ok. where at the church associated with the college, pastored by Rev. C. P. Williams, we routinely had services which were distinctly touched by the presence of God. I had never before, not have I since, been in a church such as that one. First Apostolic Church of Tulsa holds a dear and revered place in my heart. I was just 17 years old then, and now am 76, but during these long intervening years, the glory and the wonder of that place have not faded from my mind. Special God-ordained places have existed since antiquity; indeed one biblical account of such is quite familiar to most Christians around the globe. The startling account is recorded in the book of Exodus as young Moses tended sheep in a wilderness area near Mount Horeb. His attention was caught by the sight of a bush, no doubt an ordinary scrubby plant and of no particular beauty. Except, that it was aflame! Moses gazed at the bush, perhaps startled by the fire itself, but particularly intrigued and puzzled, for although the fire continued to blaze, the bush itself was not consumed. It’s form remained, its branches twisting and turning in the identical pattern as had been so at the beginning of the burning. Moses stared. And then, from the bush, a voice spoke–God’s voice. Don’t go any nearer, Moses. This is holy ground. Bend over. Take your shoes off. You are standing on holy ground. So, tonight, to my children, other friends and family, and to you if you escape those categories, I encourage the long consideration of the holiness you may encounter today or tomorrow or next week. There will likely be no radio announcement of the event, nor other media notification, no billboard, nor airborne blimp trailing a sign. Rather you may note a unique fire in the eye of a man or woman of God, or note a sense of another world in his words, and when he leaves the room it is as though the air has been sucked thin, but a warmth lingers, pure, good. You may experience a distinct sense of the holy in a church service, or as you thumb God’s Word, or as you pray in your living room as the sun tips its hand one morning. Be not reluctant to acknowledge such an essence, such an entity, such a wonder as the holy, unusual presence of God. Let us with care sense those about us who are uniquely touched by God. Our days are long and mundane at the best; more likely as beads on a string, they are threaded with worry, disaster, and with heartbreak. Wise are we to finger the ordained and hallowed that brush against our needy selves.
It grieves me to hear God’s Word so disdained, deprecated and ignorantly described as was recently done by Benny Shanon, a professor of cognitive psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. I stand today in opposition to such statements as these, and in holy defense of the precious Word of God. The Bible is God’s Word to the world, and to suggest that such remarkable incidents as Moses’ observation of the burning bush was a reaction to psychedelic drugs is obscene and highly offensive.
“As far Moses on Mount Sinai is concerned, it was either a supernatural cosmic event, which I don’t believe, or a legend, which I don’t believe either, or finally, and this is very probable, an event that joined Moses and the people of Israel under the effect of narcotics,” Shanon told Israeli public radio on Tuesday.
Moses was probably also on drugs when he saw the “burning bush,” suggested Shanon, who said he himself has dabbled with such substances.
Consider II Timothy 3:16
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”
And II Peter 1:21
“For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
I love the Bible. It is dear, sacred and precious to me. It lights my path through this dark and troubled world directing my every step. It brings me hope and joy, and presses my heart with peace and comfort. Wedged between the covers of our Bibles are the world’s greatest literature, the Song of songs, and historically accurate accounts of ancient worlds. The Bible contains God’s personal words to me–His own child. It lays out the plan of salvation, and instructs me in righteous and godly living.
Don’t speak such blasphemous words that suggest the Bible to be the result of drug-induced visions. Quite the opposite is true: The Words of that precious book came through the pen of righteous men who were moved by the Holy Ghost.
My other blog is here.
“Now Moses kept the flock…And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush; and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.
And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush…” Exodus 3:1-4
Sometime ago when I was reading these verses here in Exodus, it struck me that as God watched Moses walking through the wilderness, He was favorably impressed when Moses stopped to take a second look at the burning bush. Check it out. There seems to be some significance placed on Moses’ turning aside to observe this phenomenon. My take on this is that had Moses merely glanced out of the corner of his eye and thought that sure is a strange sight, but had continued with his flock-watching, Biblical history would have been drastically changed. Perhaps God would have passed by Moses, and would have chosen to go on to someone else who would lead His people from bondage.
But Moses was in tune with God, and in His spirit he recognized this burning bush as being something on which he must focus. Scripture bears it out: when Moses took that action, God saw him and was pleased. The next step in His divine plan was set in motion: In an audible voice, God spoke to His man, Moses.
How often is it that God wants to talk with us, nudges us, shows us something extraordinary, or reveals a divine truth? Can it be that He watches our reaction to signs of His presence and decides whether to bless us with the next step…with hearing His voice. I want to be careful in this area, for I cherish the thought that God is watching me, is whispering my name, and that He wants to be involved with deeper and more intimate communication.
My other blog is here.