“He said, ‘Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.’ ” – Exodus 3:5 (HCSB)
As I sit here two days after Christmas, drinking English tea (Tetley to be specific) from my favorite mug, eating a slice of warm buttered panattone and reading from my new Bible, I am soaking up the story of Moses once again. The scene has been set: Moses has run away from Egypt, married a Midianite woman, and is encountering the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob for the very first time.
So why would God ask Moses to remove his sandals? Perhaps as a sign of reverence and respect, but also maybe to gage Moses’ obedience and desire to get closer to God’s holiness – so that nothing would come between Moses and becoming pure before God. Removing his shoes required a conscious decision and effort from Moses but had he not done that small thing that God asked of him, had he not sacrificed his pride, maybe, and his shoes, God may not have trusted Moses with the rest of what He wanted him to do. There are things in our lives that come between us and God, between us and becoming pure and holy, between us and God’s incredible plan and mission for our lives. He has to be able to trust us to lay those things down in humble sacrifice and submission to Him before He can trust us with the rest of what He has for us. In Moses’ small act of obedience and sacrifice to God, he took a large step towards God’s incredible plan for his life and towards the most precious relationship. Later on, in Exodus 33, Moses is referred to as God’s friend:
“The Lord spoke with Moses face to face, just as a man speaks with his friend.” – Exodus 33:11 (HCSB)
We can’t be sure, but how many blessings might Moses have missed out on had he not removed his shoes that day? When we are faithful to obey and pursue God in the small things, He will be faithful to entrust us with the bigger plans and purposes that He wants to accomplish through us and we will experience an intimacy with Him that is unmatched. What is coming between you and a right and holy relationship with God? What are you not laying down? What are you missing out on because you haven’t laid those things down? Most often it is an idol that has crept its way into our lives and is gnawing away at our desire for holiness. It could be a person, a sin, an addiction – anything. It could be pride. God is waiting for you to show Him that you can be faithful in the small things so that He can lavish upon you grace, healing, and a much bigger purpose for your life than what you are living now. God specifically promises us fullness of joy:
“You reveal the path of life to me; in Your presence is abundance of joy; in your right hand are eternal pleasures.” – Psalm 16:11 (HCSB)
My friends, today is the day to act upon what you know is the right thing to do. You are missing out on so many blessings because you are holding on too tightly to your ‘sandals’. I have ‘sandals’ of my own that I need to work on as well. I know full well that the promises of God are true and I believe we can learn a lot from this one little verse in Exodus 3. If what you need to lay down seems too difficult, seek God above all but also seek support from your pastor, or a friend, someone who is older and wiser than you in the faith. You don’t have to walk this alone and although it may be tough, God promises that it is worth it.