WHY THE SANDALS, GOD?
Exo 3:3-5 “This is amazing,” Moses said to himself. “Why isn’t that bush burning up? I must go see it.” 4 When the LORD saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!” “Here I am!” Moses replied. 5 “Do not come any closer,” the LORD warned. “Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground.
In some ways, this passage has puzzled me … Why was Moses told to take off his sandals? What’s the big deal here? Then, at a men’s conference, I once heard a well-known pastor speak on this very passage … and what he said made a lot of sense.
Sandals or shoes can represent a number of things about us. First of all, they represent our past … where we have been, what has happened to us, what we have done … all our experiences whether they be good or bad. But when we are in the presence of the Holy, whatever our past may contain does not really matter … what is important is the irresistible presence of God who overcomes our hurts and failings and disappointments, and who especially wants to do new things in and through us. Just as Moses, the murderer and fugitive, here received a new calling and commission, we too can be sent out to do something special regardless of what the past may hold.
Secondly, sandals can, of course, be dirty … representing our wrong moral choices or whatever “secret sins” we that seem to plague our lives. Such things must be taken off when we enter God’s presence, who, as we expose and remove them through confession and repentance, graciously forgives, heals and restores.
Finally, sandals also can represent our self-effort and personal achievement. It can be easy for us to take pride in ourselves; after all … we’ve worked hard to provide not only our footwear and clothing, but all of the other material things we enjoy in life. But when we are in the presence of God, it is only we ourselves, our personhood, our one-on-one relationship with the Holy One that truly matters. … not what we have accomplished or may own though self-effort or personal righteousness.
So when we experience those burning-bush moments in our lives, remember that our Loving Father desires intimacy and relationship with us above all else. We do not have to worry about where we have been, what we have done, how we may have failed, or what we must do to “earn” the right to be in His Presence. Rather, we can come boldly before the One who loves us, accepts us, and welcomes us.
Holy and Gracious Father, thank You for all of Your abounding love and goodness towards us. Help us to come honestly and boldly before you, not in fear but with great expectation. Let the assurance of your acceptance overflow in our hearts. Please fill our lives with burning-bush moments that draw us ever closer to You. Amen.