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After Moses ran away from Egypt, he settled down in another land, got married, and had two sons. He lived far away from the mean Egyptians and from slavery, but that also meant he was far away from God’s special children.
During that time, the Pharaoh of Egypt (the one who had tried to kill Moses) died. But the Israelites were still in slavery and they grrrroaned because of the hard slave work. Daddies always hear when their children cry out and are hurt and need help, right? And God, being the best Daddy of all, heard His children, and it was time to help them. He remembered His Covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He saw the children of Israel, and He understood.
It was time for God to get Moses’ attention. He needed Moses! God was going to send Moses back to Egypt!
One night, Moses was taking care of the sheep in the rocky desert mountains, when he looked up and saw a strange sight. There was a big bush ahead of him that was ablaze with fire. Crackling, sparkling, hot flames of fire! BUT wait! It wasn’t actually burning up the bush.
“That’s amazing!” Moses thought. “Why does that bush not burn up?! I’ve got to get a closer look.” So he turned off the path and went toward the bush.
Just then God called to Moses FROM the bush, “Moses, Moses!”
“Here I am,” answered Moses (with a little shaking in his knees).
“Do not come any closer!” God commanded. “And take off your shoes, because you are standing on Holy ground.”
So Moses obeyed and took off his shoes.
Why would God want Moses to take off his shoes? Let’s think about it. When you wear shoes, it’s easy to just tromp, tromp, tromp on things without thinking about what you’re stepping on, isn’t it? You don’t have to pay attention, and you don’t have to care, because your feet are protected by your shoes. You could be stepping on a delicate flower or a pokey thorn and you wouldn’t be able to feel the difference — you wouldn’t even notice! But when you aren’t wearing shoes, you watch and you care about where you’re stepping.
It wasn’t enough for Moses to just be curious about God’s fire and go exploring wherever he felt like going. People who are only curious about something will probably just tromp, tromp, tromp on it. God was showing Moses that this place was a Holy place — a special place where God, Himself was, so Moses shouldn’t tromp, tromp, tromp on it!
Moses needed to be humble and respectful and to Trust God completely, without any defenses or any safety gear. To come closer to God’s fire, to God, he had to be vulnerable and unguarded, with nothing to protect himself. So Moses took off his shoes.
Remember that as you approach God yourself. First you have to care and pay attention. Then you have to be willing to come to God with No protection, No defenses, No safety gear. No “safety first.” Just Complete Trust. Take off your shoes!
As Moses looked into the bright, crackling flames, God explained to Moses, “I am the God of your father — the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”
Moses was terrified to be looking at God! He hid his face.
“I have seen how My people are being hurt,” God continued. “I have heard their cries and I know why they are sad. So I have come down from Heaven to bring them out of Egypt and into a land so wonderful that it flows with milk and honey.” (Mmm, that sounds yummy, doesn’t it?)
Finally, God gave Moses the big news. “Now go, Moses, I have chosen YOU. I am sending you to get My people out of Egypt!”
“Gulp.” Moses swallowed hard. “Go back to Egypt and lead God’s children out! Me? Ohhh… How’s that gonna work?” he wondered.