Exodus 3:1-5, 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 wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 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. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” 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.” “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” (NIV)
My friend Maria Kenney shared a testimony during our small group meeting that was so good, I immediately knew I had to share it with you.
She told us that during worship that previous weekend, a flame kept appearing in her mind. She asked the Lord about the meaning of this mental picture. He said, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”
I don’t know if Maria was actually wearing sandals that day, but I do know she was greatly puzzled by the Lord’s peculiar command.
Although familiar with the story in Exodus 3, my friend realized that she needed to study it more in depth. She found out that in Moses’ times, people would take off their sandals in reverence for their place of worship. Since sandals tracked dust, dirt and other types of contamination (let’s not forget that back then their means of transportation had other type of “emissions”), taking off one’s sandals symbolized leaving impurities behind as a sign of respect to God.
As Maria kept studying this subject, she discovered something even more meaningful. She found out that sandals may also signify anything that can come between us and God – like our past, areas of sin, painful memories, anger, bitterness, etc.
This finding was incredibly significant since on that particular evening at church, worshiping the Lord had been very difficult as she mourned the recent loss of her brother and dear mother in law. Discovering the meaning of her vision and God’s words spoken during a time of intimate communion with Him – what He was asking of Maria so she could freely worship Jesus and receive the comfort and healing her heart so longed for – was tremendously special to her.
And hearing her story was also very special to me. I hope it is to you, too.
Hebrews 4:16, Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (NIV)