And God said, ‘I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.’
Exodus 3:12 (NIV)
Read: Exodus 3:1-22
Consider: If you had been Moses, what would you have done when you saw the burning bush? Would your curiosity have got the better of you, as it did for Moses? When you approached the burning bush and you suddenly heard a voice, would you have stayed, or turned tail and ran? When we encounter God it is vitally important that we don’t leave our logic and common sense behind, but it is also equally important that we do not try to find a logical explanation for something that by definition is supernatural and is beyond explanation.
Have you ever wondered why when Modes first met God we read: Do not come any closer, God said. Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground (Exodus 3:5)? Bible commentators seem to agree that sandals (footwear) are symbolic of the profane and worldly. By removing his sandals, Moses was being asked to set aside anything that was sinful before he could enter into God’s presence. The symbolism of the sandals (or shoes) as representing something sinful and shameful is still present in some societies where throwing a shoe at someone is a sign that you are insulting them. Elsewhere in the OT we read of Joshua being given a similar instruction as Moses, when he neared Jericho: The commander of the LORD’s army replied, ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.’ And Joshua did so (Joshua 5:15). In both instances it is the holiness of God that is being highlighted and the inability of man to approach God in his unholy state.
God’s desire is for those who come to worship him to be holy. This might seem impossible because of the effect of sin on our lives. Yet the command of God is clear from Scripture. One example is found in Leviticus 19 and this is repeated throughout the Bible: The LORD said to Moses, ‘Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: “Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy” (Leviticus 19:1-2)
What are we to make of Moses’ encounter with God? One obvious application concerns how we prepare ourselves to enter into God’s presence? I don’t just mean going to church or home group, but also when we are preparing to be alone with God to study his Word and pray. If we are honest we tend not to prepare ourselves at all. However, God asks us to put aside all the worldly aspects of life when we come to meet with him. What could this look like? It could mean spending time in prayer confessing our sins and asking for God’s forgiveness, rather than jumping straight in to study and prayer for our needs and the needs of others. What God is asking us is not to come before him lightly and frivolously, but reverently and humbly.
Pray: Father, forgive us for so often rushing in to your presence, with no thought of preparing ourselves to meet with you. May your holiness reveal to us just how unholy we are and may your Holy Spirit work in us to become more Christ-like day-by-day. Amen