Yesterday, I expressed a goal of looking around to Thank God for his amazing creation and looking for God throughout the day. I saw mist rising from fields–fields that are lush and growing, and others that are soggy or just beginning to show tiny shoots; I saw red sorrel, and bright green leaves, beautiful flowers of many colors, a majestic sand hill crane, a bunny, plenty of birds, and dozens of excited kids!
I also saw a dead deer, a wrecked car, flood damage from a couple months ago, angry people rushing around, and lots of potholes!
Today at VBS, we were studying how God appeared to Moses in the burning bush, and it got me thinking about a couple of things:
- First, I thought of the bush– it burned but was not consumed. What does this tell me about God?
- God often catches our attention with displays of His power– God has the power to consume us. He is even described as a consuming fire. Yet God is not out to “burn” us– he often uses fire or struggles to refine us, to “burn off” the briers in which we have become entangled or to rid us of impurities. But, as with the bush, he longs to work through us as a refining fire, without destroying us. God’s fire within us draws attention– it startles, even frightens some–but it is a controlled fire with a Holy and life-giving purpose.
- It reminds me that God is not to be taken lightly. We don’t play with the kind of fire that engulfs a large bush; neither should we “play” with God’s warnings, his promises, or his truth. Just because God uses fire, doesn’t mean that it is harmless for us to use on our own.
- It also reminds me that God is present IN the fire of our trials–if we are feeling the heat, God is there with us. Just as he was found in the fiery furnace with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; just as he was found by Moses in the fire, so we can often find him with us or speaking to us in times of crisis.
- Second, I thought about God telling Moses to take off his shoes, because the ground he was on was Holy ground. Three thoughts:
- Holy Ground is sacred– God doesn’t want us tracking in sin and filth on our shoes. Once I get home, the shoes come OFF. I don’t want to track mud and goo and who knows what all over my floors. God will not tolerate sin seeping in or sticking to our soles to enter His presence, which bring me to…
- Moses was in the very presence of God. God’s voice was in the bush, but his presence was all around– even in the very ground. God wants to be so close to us that NOTHING separates us. Later in life, Moses and God were so close, that Moses glowed from having spent time with his Heavenly Father face to face. Moses had to wear a veil to cover his face when he was in the presence of people– he lifted the veil to talk to God!
The last thought blows my mind…God told Moses to take off his shoes because he didn’t need them. Shoes provide protection from all kinds of things– hot sand in the desert, scorpions, shards of glass, thistles and thorns, sharp rocks…When we are in the presence of God we don’t need protection from anything! He is our safety, our fortress, our shelter. We don’t need shoes, or safety belts, or helmets, or sunscreen to protect us from His presence! (Unless, of course, we are stumbling over His cornerstone! Kicking against the Solid Rock–even with steel-toed shoes–is not a safe prospect.)
If someone reading this is also going through the fire today, I pray that we can see God’s presence or hear His voice in the midst of it, and kick off our shoes, knowing that God’s presence makes even the desert sand or the fiery furnace Holy Ground.