“Welcome everyone!” I smiled and looked over my guitar and down at my feet as I welcomed those who would be worshiping with me that Sunday morning…
Oh…my feet…my feet! They were so dirty!
I had taken off my flip-flops when I arrived at church because they make such a noise when I walk around on the bare floors. And the lack of shoes revealed my dirty feet. Yes, even on a Sunday morning, my chores can lead to dirty feet.
The moment it’s warm enough, I ditch the shoes. Barefoot or flip-flops for me! This means my feet get quite dirty from the time I spend in the garden and outdoors.
Oh, it’s wonderful!
I can’t help but laugh when I watch videos of people saying how they can’t stand it when they see people with dirty feet and on and on. If you don’t like dirty feet, then don’t look at mine!
But there I was, standing up front, ready to lead people into worship of our God…with dirty feet.
…”Um…let’s pray and worship… We are standing on HOLY Ground.”
My mind couldn’t help but think back to those who had labored and lived through the hot, desert: working, gathering, moving…
…and on a day like any other…found themselves standing on holy ground.
“(Moses) led the flock to the west end of the wilderness and came to the mountain of God, Horeb. The angel of God appeared to him in flames of fire blazing out of the middle of a bush. He looked. The bush was blazing away but it didn’t burn up. Moses said, “What’s going on here? I can’t believe this! Amazing! Why doesn’t the bush burn up?” God saw that he had stopped to look. God called to him from out of the bush, “Moses! Moses!” He said, “Yes? I’m right here!” God said, “Don’t come any closer. Remove your sandals from your feet. You’re standing on holy ground.”
I can’t imagine that Moses had clean feet, can you? The dirt that was wedged between his toes was probably atrocious. But God used him in a mighty way. He was a man who had killed and run. He was a laboring man. A man who had hidden himself in the desert surrounded by dirt and sheep poop. His sandals and feet were dirty. But God called him. And he answered.
Moses bent down and untied his sandals and revealed his hot and dirty feet. He stood on holy ground.
A man who had a dirty past and was hiding, stood before his Maker, completely revealed. Moses was willing to face the fire of God and let it reveal his heart. And in that revealing, Moses’ destiny was revealed. He saved a nation.
Moses wasn’t the only one who was commanded to take off his sandals. Joshua found himself standing on holy ground as well.
“And then this, while Joshua was there near Jericho: He looked up and saw right in front of him a man standing, holding his drawn sword. Joshua stepped up to him and said, ‘Whose side are you on—ours or our enemies’?’ He said, ‘Neither. I’m commander of God’s army. I’ve just arrived.’ Joshua fell, face to the ground, and worshiped. He asked, ‘What orders does my Master have for his servant?’ God’s army commander ordered Joshua, ‘Take your sandals off your feet. The place you are standing is holy.’ Joshua did it.“
I doubt that the fighting men surrounding Joshua, and Joshua himself, lounged around, soaking their feet. But Joshua found himself standing on holy ground. Those feet, whose bare, dirty soles faced heavenward as Joshua fell to the ground and worshiped, were feet used by God. God called Joshua and he answered.
I imagine Joshua being very idealistic. A very black and white sort of guy. But after leaving Egypt, he had witnessed more deaths than anyone should ever see. His elders, possibly his father and mother and brothers and sisters, and all the young men and women he had grown up with, perished in that desert they wandered for 40 years. That desert of wandering was a bleak and dismal place. For so many who grumbled and complained, it was the last land they would ever call home.
It was a wasteland of lost hope and promises for many. But Joshua didn’t waver. He remained faithful in his head and heart to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. His God, the one and only “I Am.”
Joshua was willing to face the commander of God’s army, and strength was revealed. The strength that flowed from the top of his head and out of his marching, dirty feet led an army to defeat an entire city.
When I read through the Bible, I can’t help but think of all the stories between the lines. After reading about all the heroically sinful men and women of the Bible over and over, I can almost begin to feel like good, old friends with them. But what about the thousands, the hundreds of thousands of people who lived, and loved, and sinned and won their own heroic battles? They may have not been mentioned in the Bible, but their stories and lives are written in the memories of heaven.
What other shepherd boy, foreigner, or even handmaiden found their dirty feet on holy ground; willing to bow down and yield their authority, their hearts, and their will to the hand of God?
What about you? Are you willing to go to church, to your holy ground, with dirty feet? Are you willing to take off your sandals and reveal the dirt beneath? It takes true courage to kneel down with bared feet and soul before your King.
And rising in His strength brings about the destiny your heart is called to do.
Let James 4 be your guide:
- So let God work his will in you
- Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper.
- Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time.
- Quit dabbling in sin
- Purify your inner life
- Quit playing the field
- You may even have to hit bottom and cry your eyes out
- Get serious, really serious
- Take off your sandals
- Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet.
You must remember: every moment, EVERY MOMENT! is an opportunity for a holy moment. Be humble and ready to hear the Voice at any moment say, “Remove your sandals from your feet. You’re standing on holy ground.”
And then be ready to face that burning destiny, that fierce battle with the strength of the Lord on your side.
Do you ever wonder if you are in God’s will? I still have to remind myself what the truth is.
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