Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.” 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.” (Exodus 3:1–5 NKJV)
I have often wondered about this statement. What was God really saying with this command? Was it merely about footwear and dirt?
Moses had been in those shoes, metaphorically speaking, for 40 years (cf. Acts 7:22-30). He had been in those same “shoes,” walking the same paths, and taking care of those same sheep. He had spent four decades doing the one thing he was taught to hate when raised as the grandson to Pharaoh: Sheep and shepherding (cf. Gen 46:34). He had gone everywhere in those “shoes.” He had climbed mountains, waded rivers, hiked trails, scaled cliffs in the care of those sheep. His “shoes” were familiar to him and his “shoes” were familiar with the terrain.
When God calls Moses, he is taking this “shoe” metaphor and utilizing it to change the direction or occupation of Moses. It is as if God were saying: “Remove yourself from what you used to do. Take off what has been commonly familiar to you. I have called you to a new terrain, one of spiritual dimension and holy quality. You need to start over in your bare feet and enter my presence as if it were for the first time.”
Perhaps, this is what God has done with me: Starting over by removing all that I had become accustomed to; all that I had become an expert in; all that I places I had traveled and even developed a fondness of such. Is the Lord doing this to you? You were just about to hit your stride in your career, and you noticed an unusual site and an unusual voice calling your name? Don’t be afraid to leave behind what he is calling you to remove. Moses never regretted his decision and neither have I.
by Steve Price
Dr. Price wears many hats including a doctor, husband, father of 9 children, elder, speaker, and writer. He is a core team member of Renew In Knowledge. You can follow some of his writings and life probing meditations on the blog Shepherdinghisflock
(The image is The Call of Moses, as in Exodus 3:1-12, illustration from a Bible card published 1900 by the Providence Lithograph Company, taken from the following link)