“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”
The story of the burning bush is well known among Christians. It is the story of God calling Moses to lead his people out of slavery in Egypt. Moses was tending to sheep when the angel of the Lord called to him from a bush that was on fire, but was not being burnt up. As he approached, God said to him, “Do not come any closer. Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”
It’s an amazing thing to imagine: the presence of God himself manifested before you as a voice coming from a burning bush. It must’ve been hard to believe at first. But when the reality of the situation kicked in, I think I would’ve felt entirely unworthy, unclean, and unholy in the presence of a perfect and holy God. God, however, doesn’t condemn Moses. Instead he calls him as he is, an imperfect man empowered by God to carry out His will. What he does require of Moses is reverence. He tells him to remove his sandals, for the ground where he stood was holy. Why? Was the dirt special? No, of course not. It was the presence of God that makes it holy.
So how does this apply to us?
We have a different understanding of God’s presence than Moses and the people of the Old Testament. Before the Holy Spirit was given to us by Jesus, God’s maintained in presence in limited places – the burning bush, the pillar of fire, the ark of the covenant, the holiest of holies in the temple. Now, through the Holy Spirit, God lives in everyone who has accepted Christ as savior. We are constantly in the presence of God. Do we live and act in a way that is reverent and respectful of that?
It’s something I don’t think about often enough. It’s something that would likely change my language, my actions, my thoughts, everything. What would your life look like if you lived every moment in reverence of the presence of God in you? What would change if you truly lived as if you were standing in the presence of God, just as Moses was? Reflect on that today, and ask yourself what needs to change in your life to live in reverence to God.
Many of us have forgotten the true importance of reverence. We take a flippant attitude to your word and your presence in our lives. Let us be humbled and help us to repent and live a reverent life in your sight.
In Jesus’ Name,