Tag Archives: Knowing God

Have You Ever Been Mooned by God?

By Eugene C. Scott

When Moses demanded to see God’s glory, God mooned him. This was not an insult. Nor an accident.

It’s an unusual–irreverent–but accurate translation of Exodus 33:23 where God answers Moses’ request with, “I’ll put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with my hand until I’ve passed by. Then I’ll take my hand away and you’ll see my back.” Literally the text reads, “you’ll see my hinder part” or “backside.”

And some say God has no sense of humor.

Obviously all biblical references to God’s body parts are anthropomorphisms, God using human characteristics to communicate to us something about himself. God–as Spirit–has no hands much less a backside he could moon us with.

So, what’s God’s point in showing Moses his backside?

Like Moses, I too have yearned to see God. Those nights, days, hours, months where the cold, wet drizzle of doubt chills me to the soul, I get lonely–for God. Just a touch, just a glimpse even of his backside would make all the difference in the world.

During Lent our faith community is exploring ways to see God–or at least draw closer to him. We have discussed and practiced confession, making room for God, listening to God, silence and becoming servants. It’s been thrilling and challenging. God may have even mooned us a couple of times.

Today for example. A group of us partnered with a few students and teachers from Dakota Ridge High School (the school The Neighborhood Church meets in for worship) in a service project. Sixteen of us traipsed over to a senior living center and spent some time with several Alzheimer’s patients. All in different stages.

We each paired off with a woman patient in the room. We were to greet them with a smile, clasp their hands, look them in the eye, introduce ourselves, and eventually compliment them. We were to be present to them no matter how present they could be to us. I found myself talking with a woman laying back in a recliner, holding a pink piglet stuffed animal. She was deep in the disease, unable to respond at all. My heart sank.

Still I took her hand, I smiled, I introduced myself, I complimented her on her piglet doll. In return she drooled. Touching her shoulder, I prayed God would fill her and–though she could not hear me–speak to her between her damaged brain cells. That she would see God with the eyes of her soul.

Beyond our awkward silence, the room grew noisy as the students interacted with the other residents. I stroked her hand. Her skin moved under my hand but that was all. I fell silent.

I wonder what her name is, I thought. I turned and asked the woman in a rocking chair behind me. She thought for a moment, looked around and then shrugged. An aide walked by and I asked her.

“Crystal,” the aid answered hurrying by.

I turned back and again took Crystal’s hand. “Crystal,” I called out to her loud and sure.

At that she jolted, opened her eyes and in jerky movements squeezed my hand.

“Crystal, I love your piglet doll. I bet one of your grandchildren gave it to you.”

She jolted again and began chattering, if mumbling can be chatter. Now my smile was real. I understood not a word. But I didn’t need to. Later she held her milky eyes wide, tears filling the wrinkles on her gray face as the kids came by and hugged her saying, “It was good to meet you, Crystal.”

Unexpectedly, I saw God’s shadow there in Crystal’s fading face.

Like Moses–like Crystal–I ache to see God, his glory, his power, his healing: to hear his deep booming voice say, “Peace. All is well.”

If I could see God–I tell myself–then I could believe, live right then I could step out into some crazy God-idea like not worrying, or starting a church from scratch, or loving my enemy, or living by faith not fear, or–some days–getting out of bed.

Instead God moons me, shows me his hinder parts. Funny thing is that God’s hinder part may be all we can handle seeing this side of eternity. Moses didn’t seem to mind. And rather than an insulting high school prank, being mooned by God may be a fantastic privilege. Today he showed up in an Alzheimer’s patient.

Eugene C. Scott writes the Wednesday Neighborhood Cafe blog.  If you’re reading this on Facebook and you’d like to join the conversation, click here. www.bibleconversation.com. Eugene co-pastors The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, CO

Beginning on March 13–the Sunday following Ash Wednesday–we will begin a Lenten series titled “Embrace: Discover, Desire . . . Jesus” at The Neighborhood Church.  During worship we will explore those things of God we can embrace and add to our lives as a response of love to Jesus.  These worship gatherings will also include hands-on opportunities to practice these things God asks us to add to our lives.  Join us.  See tnc3.org for worship times.


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If You Traded It All For One Thing

Think for a moment. If you could trade everything in your life for one thing—only one thing—what would it be?

In 2003, Finger Eleven released a song entitled “One Thing” to overwhelming success. The chorus of the song goes:

If I traded it all, if I gave it all away for one thing
Just for one thing
If I sorted it out if I knew all about this one thing
’t that be something

Your answer to the question says a great deal about your heart. For some people, that “one thing” is a safe life. For others it’s a painless life. Still others, it’s riches and leisure.

But is that what we really want? Really?

Please join me as we discuss this in our daily Bible conversation.

Jeremiah 28:1-31:26
1 Timothy 1:1-2:15
Psalm 86:1-87:7
Proverbs 25:17-19


Jeremiah 28:1-31:26. God issues a message to the exiles: Settle down. Start your families. Stop waiting for deliverance and live as normal as possible. Then he offers this assurance:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ” Jeremiah 29:11

Even in  your most dire situation, God hasn’t forgotten about you. He knows his plans for you—and they include hope and a future.

1 Timothy 1:1-2:15. After Paul and Barnabas’s acrimonious split regarding the involvement of John Mark in their travels, Paul brought another protégé under his care. Paul felt a deep affection for Timothy, his “true son in the faith” (1 Timothy 1:2). In  this first of two letters, Paul was giving instructions to young Timothy who is now pastoring the great church in Ephesus.

Paul’s initial instruction is important: stay in Ephesus and command “certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer” (1 Timothy 1:3). The doctrines we believe are important, regardless what critics inside and outside the church say. Throughout the Pastoral Epistles (1 Timothy through Philemon) you’ll find the word “doctrine” appear again and again.

Timothy is then given a trustworthy saying: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst” (1 Timothy 1:15). Pastors need to deal with their congregations as fellow sinners. Unfortunately, not all of them have taken Paul’s words to heart.

If you’ve found A Daily Bible Conversation helpful, share it with your friends! Forward your daily email or send them a link to the website: http://www.bibleconversation.com.


All of us were created for one thing. Like a square peg in a round hole, when we aspire for the wrong thing or for more than one thing, we experience a discontinuity in our lives.

David was described as a man after God’s heart (1 Samuel 13:14). In Psalm 86:11, he journaled his “one thing”:

“Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.”

Do you sense the innocence in this prayer? It begins with an attitude of humility that says, God, I don’t know you or your ways nor will I discover them on my own. “Teach me your way, O Lord.”

One of the most arrogant phrases in the English language is “I know.” How often does God speak to our hearts and we answer “I know!”—and then we do our own thing anyway.

David begins with the humble acknowledgement that he doesn’t know God. The only way we can walk in truth—to live in alignment with God’s desires—is to sit at the feet of our heavenly Father and glean from him by spending time in the Word and meditative prayer.

Then David prays, Give me an undivided heart that I may fear your name. A divided heart is a heart with multiple loyalties, affections, and desires. An undivided heart is singularly focused on one desire. It’s one thing versus multiple things. And David chose well because his one thing was knowing God’s ways which was rooted in knowing God. The fruit of the undivided, God-directed life is a life that that fears, reveres God and takes him seriously. But it’s also the life that enjoys God and revels in his pleasure.

Not coincidentally, God spoke through Jeremiah in today’s reading, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. ” (Jeremiah 29:13, NIV)

Quite often we desire one thing from God, but not God. We want his hope, his comfort, his provision, his protection…but we don’t desire him. Yet when we desire him apart from what he can do for us, we still get everything.

What divides your heart?


  1. What spoke to you in today’s reading?
  2. What is your “one thing”?
  3. What do you want your “one thing” to be?

What needs to change in your life in order to bring the two into alignment?

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Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church with Eugene Scott in Littleton, Colorado.

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