The biblical story is full of bizarre moments where God meets his people. There's this one story, in Genesis 15, when God speaks to Abraham. Abraham has this existential dilemma where he doubts God's goodness and ability to deliver on the promise made to him earlier. "How will I know?" he asks. Then God speaks to him while "a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed through the pieces [of dead animals]."
Like I said it's bizarre.
There's another moment where God appears to Moses while there's an unburnt, burning bush nearby. He's curious, but who wouldn't be. As he gets closer, God says: "Take off your sandals for where you stand is holy ground."
Again, this is odd.
These examples are theophanies, which are incredibly unique expressions of God's presence. In fact, they are visible expressions of his presence. Scripture is full of them. Recently, renowned biblical scholar Vern Poythress wrote 400+ pages on this subject. There's a lot to digest and reflect upon in these encounters.
This coming summer we'll be looking at these God-encounters, that will eventually culminate in Jesus. As a church, we're a space where people can come to meet God, know oneself, and love others. But none of that is possible without knowing and meeting God. These bizarre encounters that Abraham and Moses had are then incredibly significant for us.