02 Nov Take Your Shoes Off
There are times in my life where I’ve been a part of something really special, moments that have felt almost take-your-shoes-off holy.
– Sitting on the porch of a hotel in Arusha, Tanzania, with my mission trip leader as he laid out the gospel in a way that was very personal to my life.
– Being suspended in my seat belt in a car flipped upside down when a man I don’t even know broke out the windows so my sister and I could crawl out to safety.
– Sitting around a fire by a river my freshman year of college as my fellow small group members took turns sharing their testimonies of the special ways God has worked to redeem broken pasts and draw them close to Him.
– Sitting alone on a blanket on a beach one chilly March day singing hymns to the Creator and listening to waves crash.
– Being on crowded boat afloat in the Mediterranean Sea, dancing to traditional Greek dances and laughing and smiling because it was the best day of my life.
“As His children, we get to experience those ‘holy ground’ moments.”
In all of these moments I’ve felt the presence of the Almighty in unique and tangible ways. All of these moments have pushed me to worship in gratitude for what God has done and stand out in my mind years later as prominent portrayals of grace, incredible moments in which, in a way, I’ve touched the hem of His garment.
In Exodus 19, God tells Moses He wants to meet with him to give instructions for Israel. He warns him not to allow any Israelites to even come near the mountain when Moses meets with Him for they would surely die, unable to be in the presence of such power, such holiness. Moses travels up and down the mountain multiple times, continually going back to warn the people so they would live.
“He warns him not to allow any Israelites to even come near the mountain when Moses meets with Him for they would surely die, unable to be in the presence of such power, such holiness.”
The word holy means to be set apart from all things unclean, to be completely pure, right, and good. God is, as we read in Isaiah, “Holy, holy, holy … ” (Isaiah 6:3). Perfectly holy: spotless, whole, right, clean, pure.
We, like the children of Israel, are not.
A few weeks ago, Bill White, one of our teaching pastors, talked about the idea that God likes to work through mediators. Here in Exodus 19, Moses serves as mediator. But he’s not a perfect mediator because he’s a human being. Though they wash themselves and clean their clothes, though they abstain from sex and prepare themselves, they cannot enter the holiness of God; they cannot touch Him or look upon Him without the protection of the smoke covering the mountain.
Jesus is our mediator now. He makes it possible for us to experience the presence of God because He has made us clean by His blood. As His children, we have an inheritance to the Kingdom. As His children, we get to experience those “holy ground” moments.
I think that as Christians we often forget how holy our God is. We think about Jesus and how He came to be with us and redeem us, how He is a friend and a brother—all of which are completely true—but we forget holiness. We familiarize ourselves with God to a point that we don’t give Him the respect and reverence He’s due. We think He is like us or that we are equal to Him in some way, or something else altogether that diminishes His holiness and elevates ours. We like to minimize our brokenness so we don’t feel as small.
“We like to minimize our brokenness so we don’t feel as small.”
But it is so incredibly good to feel small. Whether the moment seems good or bad, happy or scary, it is an opportunity to see our own smallness, our own brokenness, and our own sinfulness in the light of God’s radiant holiness and powerful kindness.
He is holy, holy, holy, and we are not. But Jesus made a way for us to experience the Almighty, and for that I am thankful.
“Holy, Holy, Holy! Though the darkness hide Thee,
Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see,
Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee,
Perfect in pow’r, in love and purity.”
“Holy, Holy, Holy” —Reginald Heber
Hannah loves going for a drive, being by the water, and learning about anything at all. Getting a new stamp in her passport is her favorite feeling and she loves to sit on the porch on warm summer nights. She loves to make people laugh and cook them some supper. Hannah attends our Powdersville campus.