Summary: We explore how clean our shoes are as we learn from Moses what it means to walk on holy ground
1 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 3 So Moses thought, "I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.
4 When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, "Moses! Moses!" And Moses said, "Here I am."
5 "Do not come any closer," God said. "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground." 6 Then he said, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob." At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.
Do you remember your last trip to the shoe store? You go in wearing what you think is a nice, new looking pair of white sneakers. But, when you walk through the door, you realize your definition of white does not even come close to the brand new shoes on display throughout the room. Your definition of white looks more like a dingy yellow compared to the color you see lining the walls and spread out across various fixtures. It seems your definition of nice isn’t so nice after all.
Moses never had such an experience. The shoes in his local shoe store were probably colored of brown or browner. At home, he probably did not have more than one pair to choose from. His morning routine did not include matching the blue suit with the brown shoes or finding the black loafers because his pants were grey.
Moses dusted off his sandals as he walked out the door. With his eyes still heavy from the early morning call to tend to the sheep, he didn’t even notice just how worn the leather was wrapped around his feet. Upon, those dingy sandals, Moses led his father-in-law’s sheep to green pastures in hopes the animals could find something to eat.
As he wondered why he had traveled so far, nearly two days after he left, the dust beneath his feet turned into green grass, a place where his flock could find food. While his flock feasted, his eyes scanned the landscape spread out over the horizon in search of predators that might threaten the sheep. That’s when he noticed something that seemed a little bit out of place. There was a bright light coming from a bush. Wait, that’s not a bright light. That is fire. So, how is that bush still standing? The curiosity that struck Moses was too much to ignore. He would have to get a closer look. As he inched closer, each step was deliberate and taken with care. You know, like when you tried to sneak in to the house late at night because it was past your curfew.
There, was something extraordinary going on inside that bush. Moses had to get closer. He had to find out what it was.
But, before he could get too close, he heard a startling voice. You can imagine his surprise. It would be about like you would feel if your mother called out because she heard you sneaking in. He froze between his careful steps. But, did someone call his name? There it is again! I guess I better speak up. From all the thoughts racing through his head, like who is calling my name and where is this voice coming from, he could only manage to utter three simple words. “Here I am,” Moses replied.
What followed this extraordinary event was a realization. An awakening if you will. As the voice directed Moses to take off his shoes, the command brought an understanding. His dusty, worn out sandals were not worthy to be in the presence of such a powerful being. But, it was not just his shoes that needed to go.
Moses was told to whom that voice belonged. The voice said, “I am the God of your Father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” And upon that declaration a change of lifestyle was about to take place.
Moses was too scared to even look up. Being in the presence of God warranted a major change. Remember, this was not YET the Moses we remember who delivered God’s people from Egyptian bondage. This was not YET the Moses who held up the rod as the Red Sea parted. This Moses was a runaway hiding out in the desert.