Moses had what we like to call a “burning-bush experience” – an experience with the Living God – in which he had been brought to a place of encounter with, and had revelation of, the Lord his God. You may even call this a “God-moment.” This is a point in our life in which there is no doubt as to the very Presence of God; we are able to know Him as Reality and see His Hand at work; we are shown the Divine Glory and are able to discern somewhat of His Majesty.
This is also where we are held in view by our Sovereign King and caused to see our complete unworth; we see our imperfections; we see our utter corruption; and we see His Holiness. The prophet Isaiah had just such a moment when he beheld the Glory of God (Isaiah 6:1). At this most-significant time the prophet cried:
“Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” (Isaiah 6:5)
When we are brought before the Presence of God, we can only testify to our wretchedness and His righteousness. We see, as did Isaiah, that we are unclean and undone – broken in spirit and perverse in our ways. But of more significance to this devotion, we are brought to see that God is Holy, and His Presence is a place of holiness.
“Put off thy shoes from off thy feet,” it was declared to Moses. The shoes here are emblematic of (or symbolic of) a person’s walk in the World, the path or direction they have been walking in life. This does not in itself indicate that a person’s walk has been crooked or perverse; only that they have been in contact with a crooked and perverse World, and the instrument of that contact – “thy shoes” – are defiled. Hence, Moses is told: “Draw not nigh hither… for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.”
Of course, there was nothing in its natural quality to make the ground itself holy. It was made holy by virtue of its being sanctified by the Presence of the Lord. Such is the case that a Holy God cannot allow anything unholy into His Presence; He must therefore impart holiness to a thing in order to bring it unto Himself. This applies equally to sinful, fallen, unclean, unholy mankind; for without holiness “…no man shall see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).
“Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 20:7)
When the Sovereign Creator tells something to “be”; it has no power but to “be.” Christians are holy because we have been declared so by our God, as He has reconciled us to Himself, bringing us into His Presence. But this does not mean to imply that we are holy in all our ways. Many Christians will readily admit to falling short in various areas of their life. Yet God’s provisionary grace is sufficient, because we are positionally holy in Christ.
While it is true that our position is one of holiness, our condition is an altogether different matter. Here God’s provision meets our responsibility to walk in holiness.
And this is the view we have of God in our burning-bush experience. God reveals Himself to us. But by this revelation of His Holiness comes the revelation of our unholiness. We see a need on our part to sanctify ourselves in our condition and walk in our position of holiness; we need to put off our shoes from off our feet.
God told Moses: “You are in a place, a position, of holiness; but you’ve been out here on the backside of the desert for 40 years and you’ve been wondering what went wrong in Egypt. You’d been living according to the wisdom of the Egyptians – worldly philosophies. You’d been living according to worldliness: lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Now it’s time you put off those sandals of worldliness and start walking in holiness – the holiness of your position in Christ.”
Each one of us, as children of the Most High God, has been born-again into the perfect position of holiness in Christ Jesus. With Moses, we are instructed to put away the defilements of the world and the condition of unholiness; and to walk in Newness of Life; to reflect the holiness imparted to us as we partake of the Divine Nature (1 Peter 1:4); to walk in holiness, leaving “Holy Footprints” in the world as a witness to our burning-bush experience.