LITTLE ROCK – Bill Elliff, directional pastor at The Summit Church, North Little Rock, shared about encountering God during the morning session of the 2012 Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) Pastors’ Conference held Oct. 29 at First Baptist Church, Cabot, prior to the ABSC Annual Meeting Oct. 30-31.
“Of all of the encounters that we need in the midst of our life there is one that we absolutely cannot afford to miss – and that is an encounter with Him (God),” Elliff said.
Basing his message in Exodus 3, Elliff spoke on Moses’ encounter with God and how he responded.
Elliff said, considering Moses’ past, he may have thought he’d ruined his life. Nevertheless, God was waiting for him in the wilderness.
Recognizing that some in attendance may have felt like they are in the wilderness, were inadequate, had missed their opportunities or had “messed up” so badly they felt God could not use them again, Elliff said, “I just want to tell you something this morning. God is waiting for you. And that’s just His mercy, isn’t it? I mean, that’s just His compassion. That’s His unbelievable grace that even in the wilderness, God is really waiting for us.”
Elliff pointed out several aspects of Moses’ response when he encountered God.
First, he said Moses turned aside, which required making a change in his direction. And not only did Moses turn aside, but he did it immediately.
Second, Moses took off his shoes, which Elliff said he thinks was a way of recognizing that what was happening was holy and serious.
Third, Elliff said Moses “admitted that he was ‘not.’” He realized he was not able to do what God was asking of him. However, God reminded Moses He, as God, could do it.
Finally, Elliff pointed out that Moses relaxed his hand, referencing how he obeyed God in dropping his staff and then in picking it up by the tail when it became a snake.
“It’s like God was saying, ‘Moses, you know if you’re going to walk with Me, it’s going to be a little risky. I mean I’m going to ask you to do some things that are not natural. ... You got to remember that I am and you’re not, and when I tell you something, relax your hand, let it go and do exactly what I’m telling you to do.’ And he had to get out of Moses’ hand the thing that he was holding on to that was more valuable to him than the voice of God, and Moses had to relax his grip,” Elliff said.
“What are you holding in your hand?” he asked the congregation.
Pointing to Exodus 3:7-8, Elliff noted one more thing. He explained God desires a person to encounter Him so others can encounter Him as well.
The verses share how God had heard His people’s cry and “come down to rescue them.”
“You know that last night in my city and your city there were hundreds and hundreds and thousands of people that were crying out,” Elliff said.
He read Luke 19:41-42 and concluded by saying, “And I want to tell you something, guys – our nation, our cities, are in trouble. And what’s amazing is that God is waiting for you in the wilderness. We better recognize our moment and turn aside and let it go so God can equip us to lead a nation out of slavery.”