“‘Do not come any closer,’ God said. ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.’” —Exodus 3:5
As soon as Moses turned aside to see the burning bush, God stopped him dead in his tracks by announcing Himself from within the bush. Imagine the fear and awe Moses felt when God called his name not once, but twice. God then told Moses to remove his sandals because he was standing on holy ground. What was the point of this command? Was God trying to conform Moses to custom, or was there something spiritually significant about taking off his shoes?
We find the answer in the incredible discussion that followed. God gave a series of statements about Himself and His reaction to His people’s slavery. “I am the God of your fathers. I have seen the misery of My people. I am concerned about their suffering. I have come down. I have seen. I have felt. I will do. I,I,I…” says God. But just when Moses’s excitement would have reached a fever pitch, God said, “So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring My people the Israelites out of Egypt” (Exodus 3:10).
Moses was back to being stunned, immediately expressing reluctance and, understandably, feelings of total inadequacy. He had fled Egypt because of his failed attempt to rally his people after killing a taskmaster for beating a Hebrew slave. He was now 80 years old, a fugitive from justice, and had gone from being a prince of Egypt to herding sheep on the backside of the Midian desert. What did he know of freeing and leading upwards of two million people from their bonds of slavery?
We can always find excuses for why we think we are unqualified to participate in God’s work. Perhaps we feel ill-equipped or think our past failures disqualify us from usefulness in the kingdom. But like with Moses, God’s promise to us is, “I will be with you” (Exodus 3:12). God is absolutely the only explanation for the things He accomplishes in our world, but His strategy is to work through obedient and dependent people who make themselves available to Him. What qualifies us to be of service to God is not our capabilities, but our willingness.
Before God is interested in our ability, He is interested in our mobility. When we walk where God leads and act in obedience to Him, we are stepping onto holy ground. This requires adjusting our activity to God’s activity and our agenda to His agenda. When we metaphorically remove our shoes and allow God to fill them, He empowers us to accomplish whatever He calls us to, because He who calls us “is faithful, and He will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24).
PRAYER: Sovereign Lord, I surrender my shoes to You. Cast out any doubts I have of being unequipped to do Your work, knowing that You are my empowerment. Thank You, Lord.