“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God. (Genesis 3:5-6)
As the group looked at this part of the story, our storyteller asked us why would God say "Stop right there. Don't come any closer." One person suggested that God was protecting Moses from the heat of the fire which tells us that God is a protective God. Another person said that God is a holy God and Moses was a sinner and therefore couldn't come into the presence of a holy God since Jesus hadn't yet come to bridge the gap by his sacrifice. Yet another thought was that when God calls us, we don't have to come to him, because he comes to meet us where we are. He was telling Moses, "wait there, I am coming to you" so to speak. Someone said that taking off your sandals on holy ground in Moses' culture was a sign of respect the way we in the U.S. might dress up in our Sunday best to go to church.
The most awesome revelation came when it was noted that in the Middle Eastern culture it is normal for people to take off their shoes before entering a person's house. We were told that is done for reasons of hygiene and out of respect for the host. When we followed that line of thinking through, we wondered if perhaps God was, in a way, inviting Moses into his home.
What an incredible thought! God inviting us into his home! Now you might say that the path we took to get there is kind of a stretch. But wasn’t God, in a way, inviting everyone into his kingdom, his home, when Jesus instructed us to go make disciples of all nations and baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? Wasn't Jesus' sacrifice and resurrection the act of God throwing open the door of his home to all of us, beckoning us to come in and greeting us with an embrace of grace and welcome.
Think about this with me for a moment—God has invited each and every one of us into his home but here is the even more unbelievable part—he invites us not as guests, but as children. We need not hid our face in fear. Yes he is the God of the Universe. He is all powerful, eternal and holy, and he has invited us into his Presence. He invites us into his home, not just to visit, but to stay for all eternity. He engrafts us into his family and we are his beloved children. This is the realization I want to hold onto always—that God invites me, just as I am, into his home and his life as his own precious child. I don't know about you, but I can't know this and not be overwhelmed by tremendous joy and gratitude!