In Exodus Chapter 3, we have the record of Moses’ first encounter with the Lord. God appeared to him in the Burning Bush, a bush which burned but was not consumed. Moses responded as most of us likely would have, by “turning aside” to investigate the matter. Upon doing so, he is told by God to come no closer, but to take his shoes off for the ground upon which he stands is holy ground (Ex. 3:5).
In this encounter, we have a timeless model of the method by which man must approach God. During no other time in history has this model been so pertinent and needed as our own day. Over the past two Centuries or so, there has been a trend toward “investigating” the things of God and, indeed, God Himself. Since the “Age of Enlightenment”, where man’s “reason and logic” has itself become deified as the only acceptable method whereby knowledge may be obtained, man has sought to place God under the microscope of science. Man has become more interested in knowing how it is that the Bush burns and is not consumed than knowing the God Who speaks from it. Like Moses who beheld a Divine act with curiosity and wonder, attempting to ascertain its mysteries, modern man does not see God through His actions, but is only interested in understanding how those actions work.
But God is a holy God and cannot be approached in such a cavalier manner. God is not a Subject to be investigated, theorized about, or debated. He is not a philosophical proposition on equal footing with a myriad of others, to be discussed with the same temperament as one would discuss their own preferred color of automobile. Man has turned the God of Heaven into a concept, a subjective idea Whose reality and nature may very well differ from one person to the next. Consequently, man has not stood firm on the irrevocable revelation of God Almighty as set down in His Word, but has attempted to discuss and debate Who they personally feel He is and talk others into this line of thinking the same way that one would attempt to persuade another of the advantages of a particular brand of laundry soap.
Even as Christians we are often guilty of such behavior. There was a time that I myself felt that God might best use my own abilities and faculties in the discipline of Apologetics, debating and reasoning with skeptics in order to persuade them as to the validity and Truth of the Gospel. Apologetics, or the evidences and defense of the Gospel, can be very useful to a person whose own faith is wavering or has a few mental obstacles to overcome before accepting Christ as their Savior, but it can never be used to persuade a skeptic to believe or to convert a hardened heart to come to faith. It simply cannot be done. The writer to the Hebrews tells us: “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb. 11:6). Man cannot come to God on the basis of logic and reasoning, he must come by faith; there is no other door through which we may come to God.
Most of what we see today on Television, in the Internet chat rooms and forums, in the news Media, and in popular books and magazines is nothing more than “turning aside to see why the bush is not burned.” God is treated in a casual, light-hearted manner and is discussed and debated, with each side presenting various “evidences” to support their own position, with the same atmosphere that extra-terrestrial aliens, Bigfoot, or ghosts are discussed and debated. I believe that as Christians, we do no service to our Lord by engaging in such superficial interchanges. For never is any depth reached or meaningful doctrine broached, but with our very participation we are suggesting that we stand on equal ground with the spiritually lost and blind and that their own depraved viewpoint is just as worthwhile for consideration as the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Man is never at liberty to carelessly approach God motivated solely by curiosity and bewilderment. God is not Something to be studied, investigated, or analyzed. God is our holy Creator, unsearchable in His judgments and Whose ways are past finding out (Rom. 11:33). We must never approach God with notebook and microscope in hand, but with head bowed and feet unshod. God is not to be investigated, He is to be worshipped. Though the Bush from whence God spoke to Moses burned but was not consumed, we are admonished to remember to serve the Lord with reverence and godly fear, for He is a consuming Fire (Heb. 12:28-29).