On Holy Ground

"And the captain of the LORD's host said unto Joshua, 'Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy." And Joshua did so."  Joshua 5:15

In Joshua 5:13 we read that as Joshua was near Jericho he saw a lone man with a sword. Following God's earlier command to be courageous, he approached this stranger to learn whether he was friend or foe. The truth was...he represented the LORD, not an earthly people. And where he chose to stand made the land holy (pure, set apart for God's use).

Years earlier Moses had an encounter on holy land. While he was attending his father-in-law's flock of sheep on the west side of the wilderness, he came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 

"The angel of the LORD appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed. So Moses said, 'I must turn aside now and see this marvelous sight, why the bush is not burned up.' 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 come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground." Exodus 3:2-5

Loose your shoe from off your foot...remove your sandals from your feet...for the place on which you are standing is holy ground. This begs a question.

Do we make time to approach God? Both Moses and Joshua did. Do we recognize we are approaching Him in His holiness? That our meeting ground is holy? Do we come only with our laundry list of prayer needs to throw heaven-ward? Or do we fall on our faces in reverence before Him? 

These two passages of scripture really convict me about how casual I can be with God. In this age of God's grace through Jesus, we can be too familiar in our attitudes toward Him. We humanize God, because that's what we understand--humans. We have the blessing of calling Him "Father," yes. But along with that blessing, we must never forget respect, reverence.

He is Holy God. And he tells us:

"For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy:" Leviticus 11:44a

The nation had endured forty years of judgment. During that time God had given them the means to approach Him through the tabernacle, the sacrifices. and laws that dictated everyday life. They understood the terms of purity.

"For the life of the body is in its blood. I have given you the blood on the altar to purify you, making you right with the LORD. It is the blood, given in exchange for a life, that makes purification possible." Leviticus 17:11

The sacrifices looked ahead to the day Jesus would offer his blood on the cross as our sin offering, our atonement, our redemption, our purification. 

"God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and his Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ." 1 Peter 1:2

May we make time to be quiet in the presence of the LORD and--like "shoes"--take off the things that separate us from Him. Let us take the time to adore Him and hallow His name. Let us recognize time with Him is our holy ground.

by Marilyn Allison