I wrote this post while studying Exodus for a series we did at Journey called, Crossings.
During this series we looked at some of the key events before, during, and after the Israelites’ crossing of the Red Sea and their crossing into the Promised Land.
In Exodus 3:4,5 we read:
God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”
What did God ask Moses to do? Take off his shoes.
I see several important qualities of this request.
1) It was simple.
Not everything God asks us to do is going to be difficult.
Sometimes we over-complicate faith with 1) fear. What’s it going to cost? Can we afford it? What if people get upset? What if we fail?
Sometimes we also over-complicate faith with 2) false projections on God of what He’s really saying. We know that you can’t just be forgiven by confessing your sins to God. No, you have to pay some sort of penance. You can’t just be healed by God, you have to make $1000 “donation” to the ministry as a “seed” of faith. You can’t just be saved by accepting Jesus, you have to do a bunch of good deeds too to earn God’s love.
If God asked you–right now–to simply take off your shoes, what would you do? I pray that, wherever you are, the room would suddenly reek of foot-odor!
2) It was strange.
Take off my shoes in the middle of nowhere?!?
Shoes were essential to freedom. One couldn’t travel—especially in the wilderness—very far without a good pair of sandals.
God may call you to take a strange action.
He asked Noah to build an ark in his front yard.
He asked Abraham to put his only son on an altar.
He asked the Israelites to walk through the Red Sea.
He asked the Israelites to walk around the walls of Jericho once a day for 6 days and then 7 times on the last day.
3) It was significant.
Well, it didn’t seem very significant at the time but–from our perspective in time–we know that his simple act of obedience was very significant.
Moses didn’t know it at the time, but he was standing on holy ground and the removing of his shoes was very significant.
We seem to think that something is only significant if it’s viewed by over 1 million people on You Tube, aired on prime-time TV, or covered by Fox News. The only witnesses to this significant event were God, Moses, and some sheep.
Sometimes the most significant events in our lives happen in private.
You’re praying alone in bed at night, when God gives you peace about an important decision.
You’re sitting at your cubicle at work prayerfully confessing a specific sin to God when you know that you know that you know you’re experiencing the amazing grace of God.
You’re sitting in your car at a stoplight when–through the words of a Christian song on the radio–you suddenly realize how to handle the difficult situation you’ve been praying about.
This event reminded me that we don’t know the end of the story. We can’t see from God’s perspective, so it’s always best for us to simply trust Him and do what He says–even if it results in wafting foot odor.