Standing on Holy Ground – Exodus 3:5

“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”

Exodus 3:5 NIV

In Exodus 3:1-6 we find Moses out tending his flock and minding his own business when he comes across a bush that was on fire, but was not being consumed. Naturally Moses went over to take a look at this unusual sight. But as he did, he was surprised by a voice coming out of the bush calling his name. The voice instructed him to remove his shoes because the place where he was standing was holy ground. I am indebted to a young lady and fellow blogger for suggesting that this connection between standing on holy ground and removing ones shoes need not be limited to Moses at the burning bush.

Take Off Your Shoes

I don’t believe that taking off one’s shoes will make one more holy, or will somehow put you into a better place with God. Removing the shoes though can be a symbolic act of leaving the world behind and stepping into God’s presence. My shoes, more than anything else, are in physical contact with the filth of this world. So in a way, they represent the uncleanness of contact with this world. How appropriate then, when coming into God’s presence, to leave my shoes, and their attendant uncleanness, behind. To be holy and cleansed, free from the filth of sin.

Jesus provides us with a similar example, in John 13:1-17, when he washes the feet of his disciples. When Peter protests the washing, Jesus tells him that it is necessary, although since Peter has had a bath he need only wash his feet. Peter had been cleansed because of his time and relationship with Jesus. But he still needed to have the filth of the world washed off of his feet.

Where is that time and place for you, where you come to meet with God? When you come before him you are standing on holy ground. Might I suggest that the removal of your shoes might help you to recognize the importance of leaving this world behind when coming before our holy Lord. It is only a symbol, but it can be a powerful one should you choose to use it.

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