This may be the dilemma you didn’t know you’d have this holiday season. Do you take off your shoes or keep them on?
If the Christmas celebrations are at your home then I’m thinking you know which you’ll choose. But, if you are heading to someone else’s home do you wait for a sign from the hosts as to whether or not are they wearing shoes indoors? You could always send someone ahead of you and follow their lead. I mean, you could always just ask. Maybe next year you’ll bring your own slippers and avoid the whole mess!
I’m being a little silly but you likely don’t want to offend, be rude, seem out of place or anything. Doing a quick internet search turned up TONS of results filled with cultural reasons, science, and opinions on whithertos and whyfors of taking off our shoes when inside a home.
But, what about with God?
3 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 3 So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” 4 When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.” 5 “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”Exodus 3: 3-5
Why did God ask Moses to take off his shoes? We equate taking off shoes with a sign of respect, as a way to honor someone by humbling yourself. Removing your shoes sets aside your pride in reverence for the someone of greater honor. As a protection from danger shoes keep the wear-er safe and able to flee. To take off your shoes leaves you vulnerable.
Take off your sandals.
In that humbling, vulnerable state God invited Moses into His holy presence. In a way, standing barefoot, God and Moses were in communion in this holy moment and place.
The Old Testament is filled with regulations and ceremony required for the Israelite people to approach God. And here God brings Moses barefoot into this holy moment, place, experience of His presence.
“At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.”Exodus 3: 6
I can’t look down on Moses for his response, after all he was in the presence of God… This is a sacred, holy moment with the righteous God. And Moses? He understandably would not feel worthy. He wasn’t worthy.
In Eden, Adam and Eve walked with God. Sin changed everything. From then on we see separation between God and humanity.
But it wasn’t the end. Here, in this moment with Moses, God was at work. God works through Moses in delivering God’s people and bringing the law and covenant with God’s people. The coming of the law shows the people the depth of their sin and their need for a Savior!
I’m awestruck by God’s plan for Moses to stand barefoot on holy ground with the Lord. Even in our sin and brokenness, God pursues us, Christ redeemed us, God has reconciled us back to Himself! I’m in wonder of God who made a way for us to be in communion with Him through the saving grace and redemption through Christ.