“”Do not come any closer,” the Lord warned. “Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground. I am the God of your father–the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” When Moses heard this, he covered his face because he was afraid to look at God.”
–Exodus 3:5-6 (NLT)
Have you ever asked yourself, “Who or what is out there? Is space just a black void? Is anyone watching us?”
Aliens are out there. But a new study suggests they’re more rare than we may think. According to a recent analysis from scientists at the University of Nottingham, England, we don’t have a lot of alien company.
On June 15, two researchers published a paper in the Astrophysical Journal arguing that the Milky Way — which sports an estimated several hundred billion stars — could host 36 alien societies. That’s a surprisingly tiny number. However, the authors also make a second, more generous analysis in which they say that the count might be as high as a thousand.
The implication is that our nearest cosmic chums are at least several thousand light-years away. The conclusion of this study is that, like stick-shift cars, extraterrestrial civilizations are few and far between.
Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t put a lot of stock in alien life. I know some people may disagree, but from my point of view, much of our thinking can be attributed to science fiction, or overactive imaginations. If you can believe it, some people have even credited ancient wonders like the Egyptian pyramids to aliens.
Instead of studying supposed alien visitations, I like to study the visitations that God has made to men. These appearances are called Theophanies, and they simply refer to the way in which God manifested Himself, before Christ came on the scene in human form.
We have many examples of these in scripture, which demonstrate God’s longing to guide and commune with man. But we will concentrate on Exodus chapter 3. Here we have the famous story of Moses and the burning bush, which provides invaluable lessons for all of us.
First, let’s examine the character of Moses. Earlier chapters of Exodus tell us that he was the adopted son of Pharaoh, but an Israelite by birth. I can’t go into that too much, but Moses’ adoption would have translated into a lavish lifestyle and the best of education.
However, since the Israelite people were enslaved, Moses could not continue, in good conscience, to live in luxury. Thinking he was standing up for one of his enslaved brothers, he murdered an Egyptian slave-driver, and hid out at his father-in-law’s house in the middle of nowhere.
As we pick up the story, we see him out tending Jethro’s sheep, on the back side of the desert at the mountain of God. Moses thinks this will just be another ordinary day, but it turns out to be truly earth-shaking.
Moses was doing his work as usual, when he saw something odd. He glanced over casually, only to see something frightening and very perplexing, to say the least. Scripture tells us that he saw the angel of the Lord, in a flame of fire. I have a hard enough time imagining that, but to top it all off, the angel was in the midst of a bush which was burning, but not consumed.
Just imagine Moses scratching his head in amazement. “I must need darker sunglasses,” he must have thought. “I know my contacts don’t need adjusting. Maybe more sleep will do the trick for the time being.”
But as he stood there with his mouth open, watching the bush that didn’t go up in flames, his curiosity got the best of him. He had just decided to move closer, when the Lord called to Him.
Moses answered, and God made it clear that the Israelite was standing on holy ground. Lastly, God told Moses who He was.
Here are a few nuggets of truth that we can draw from this story. First, God didn’t judge Moses because of his background. In the same way, the Bible says that God doesn’t keep a record of our mistakes. Instead, He separates our sins from us as far as the east is from the west.
Next, we have the angel of the Lord speaking to Moses in a unique way. He may not use a burning bush in your life, but God often speaks to us in unexpected ways. We often try to fit God into our programs, but we find that His ways are far beyond ours.
After God spoke to Moses from the midst of the bush, He instructed the Israelite to take his shoes off. This would have been a sign of worship. Often, we forget God’s holiness and purity, taking Him for granted. Instead, we are meant to come before a holy God in reverential awe.
Just as God once sent Moses out, He sends out you and me as well. And just as He equipped Moses to do His will, He will also equip us. We face many of the same fears that Moses did, but we can’t be controlled by them. We need to stand on God’s Word, regardless of the circumstances we face.
Many people believe that the angel of the Lord mentioned here is none other than Jesus Christ. While I am not dogmatic on that point, Jesus did speak of His preexistence in the gospels.
Then John records, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.”
Jesus is the cosmic God of the universe. But scripture tells us that He emptied Himself and became a man. What does that mean to you? We may not be able to understand that, but I believe this cosmic Christ went hungry and experienced pain, so that I could experience all that He has for me.
Just as God called to Moses, friend, He is calling to you. He once experienced the pain of the Israelites, and now He is there for you in your tough situations.
Scripture says that He can do above all that we could ever ask or think, so open your heart to Him today, and encounter the cosmic Christ.
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870.
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