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Remove your Sandals!

April 3, 2007

Exodus 3:4-6  “So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then He said, “Do not draw near this place.  Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.”   Moreover He said, “I am the God of your father-the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”. And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God.

When Moses encounters the God of Abraham in the burning bush, he is instructed to remove his sandals. Moses had no idea that the ground upon which he stood was holy.  He needed to be told. It’s the first time the word “holy” which means “consecrated” or “sacred” is used in the Scriptures. It won’t be the last. As we continue on in the Torah, we read of the great exodus as God leads His children up and out of Egypt by His mighty outstretched arm. We hear as God explains to them in great detail, His definitions of holy and profane, of clean and unclean. For example in Leviticus chapter 23 He explains which days of the year are to be holy for His people such as the 7th day Sabbath and the Feast of Tabernacles, referring to them as “My Appointed Times” or “mo’ed” in the Hebrew.  Leviticus 23:2 says “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them:”The feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts”.  As God instructs Israel to prepare His Tabernacle they are told in Exodus 25:9According to all that I show you, that is, the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishing, just so you shall make it”.  For the high priest He gives instruction for a plate of pure gold with “HOLINESS TO THE LORD” engraved on it to be worn by Aaron as a reminder to all.  If there was still any doubt in the camp as to whether God was serious about this holiness stuff,  it should have been erased when Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, offered what God considered to be profane fire before the Lord and the Lord God devoured them and they died. (Leviticus 10:1) Following this terrible incident the Lord spoke to Moses saying “By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy.  And before all the people I must be glorified ”.   We find God instructing the people in Leviticus 11 how to distinguish between the unclean and the clean, and between the animal that may be eaten and the animal that may not be eaten” making it clear that our ingesting of buzzards, pigs, mice or shrimp among other things is considered by Him to be an abomination. Why???   Verse 44 says For I am the Lord your God”…”you shall be holy for I am holy”.  Back to the present….Has anything changed? Has God changed His mind? Does He still expect us to be holy?  And if so….who defines what is holy today? You? Me? Your pastor??? I don’t think so.  Consider that in 1Peter 1:14 we are told by the apostle to be “as obedient children”.

Friends, children do not make the rules, and obedient children heed their Father’s instruction or suffer loving correction. Why? Because they are not able to properly discern those things which may be harmful or cause pain to themselves or to those around them.  They may think they can….but they can’t. If you are a Father, you know what I mean.  So it is with us as God’s children….Peter goes on to say in verse 15  be holy in all your conduct”, because it is written, “be holy, for I am holy”. Where was it written? In the Torah of course….the first 5 books of the Bible. The Torah is where we find all of God’s definitions of holy and profane, clean and unclean. Finally in verse 9 of chapter 2  Peter says “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light…” (1Pet 2:9) Throughout the Scriptures, God teaches us His definition of holy and asks us to line up our lives accordingly. It’s that simple. Remove your sandals. 

Jeremiah 6:16 says…Thus says the Lord:  Stand in the ways and see, And ask for the old paths, where the good way is, And walk in it;  Then you will find rest for your souls.

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