|Posted on July 26, 2020 at 12:05 AM|
In the third chapter of Exodus, we’re introduced to the story of how the Israelites were to be led out of captivity in Egypt. It starts with one of my favorite characters, Moses. It opens innocently enough, with our lead man just minding his own business, tending his father-in-law’s flock of livestock. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that he was near Horeb, known as the Mountain of God. Interestingly, Horeb is also the Hebrew word for wasteland or desert.
He’s in this desolate place, all alone, and notices a small fire. Scripture says “suddenly the Angel of Jehovah appeared to him as a flame of fire in a bush. When Moses saw that the bush was on fire and that it didn’t burn up, he went over to investigate. Then God called out him, “Moses! Moses!” (Exodus 3:2-4)
At first Moses must have been completely baffled. This was out of even his vast experience with God. Keep in mind this was prior to the whole “red-sea parting incident” and you can imagine his skepticism. “Who is it?” Moses asked.
Scripture goes on to say that he was told by God, “Don’t come any closer! Take off your shoes, for you are standing on holy ground.”
Moses wasn’t a young man, and while comfortable, was living the life of a fugitive. While God had miraculously spared him death as an infant, he’d been raised in a pagan culture in Egypt, then murdered a man for mistreating someone of his biological heritage. In the end, he was forced to run to escape a death sentence. He must have felt like a man without any real heritage or home.
Imagine him realizing that God was not only present, but speaking directly to him in this mind blowing way. God went on to tell Moses that he would be leading his people out of slavery and abuse, and into freedom. But first, Moses would have to go back to the Pharaoh and demand the release. I’m sure he felt less than comfortable returning to that scene.
Moses protested that he wasn’t the man for the job, but God stood firm, saying “I will be with you.” When God enters the situation, whatever it is, it becomes holy. And “holy” means consecrated to God, sacred. And it certainly means He will be with us – no matter the obstacles. If we’re called to something, God makes us more than capable.
And even more precious than that, He makes the ground around us holy, sacred and consecrated to Him. Whether that’s a broken home, a tent in the middle of a homeless encampment, our workplace or a hospital room – once God is on scene, He is with us through it all.
Sometimes we look at a situation with our human eyes and see an impossible mission. We get so wrapped up in fear and frustration, it’s like having a blindfold on. But God will get our attention, appear in the situation, and do whatever it takes to make us whole again. And, by the way, He will use us to help others blindly battling in their own mess. We just have to be willing to accept the assignment, have the humbleness of spirit to take off our metaphorical sandals, and stand before Him on that holy soil.
There’s a reason that Moses is a hero. God anointed and appointed Him in the beginning of his life. And in spite of Moses’ many misadventures, God never removed that mantle from him. In the end, after much prodding, intervention and many mistakes, God used him in a mighty way.
We, too, are anointed and appointed by God. We know He has a plan for every life, mapped out even as He was breathing life into us in our mother’s womb. And we can hang on to the promise that when we most need Him, God will show up and make whatever swamp we’re mired in holy ground.
When we feel like we’re in a wasteland, we need to remember the promise given to us in Isaiah 46:4. He says “I will be your God through all your lifetime, yes, even when your hair is white with age. I made you and I will care for you. I will carry you along and be your Savior.” Cradle to grace, He is with us. Take off your shoes. Your mess can be holy ground.
Be blessed my friends. God is on the throne!