Holy Ground

The other day, I read the story of Moses at the burning bush in Exodus 3:2-5 and it struck me how intimate a friendship Moses had with God. But I also noticed, at least in this short story, how simple the steps were toward that intimacy, and it gave me hope that I can also develop a friendship like that with God.

God is always at work around us. He wants to reveal himself to us in different ways. He’s showing up in our lives and trying to get our attention. For Moses, it was a burning bush. The text simply says, “There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush.”

It seems odd. I’ve never seen a burning bush like that. But Moses did—although the text says that he didn’t immediately know what was going on with the bush: “Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up.” It seemed strange to him.

When was the last time you saw something peculiar, something in your life that just seemed strange? Was God trying to say something to you?

The next thing that happens in the story is critical: Moses pays attention and goes in for a closer look. Some translations say, “He turned aside.” I like that expression. It shows that Moses was willing to be distracted, to be drawn away from the normal. The text says, “So Moses thought, ‘I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.’”

Are we willing to be distracted by God? Is he trying to get our attention?

I really love what happens next, because it shows God’s heart for us; it shows God’s commitment to relationship. After Moses takes a step toward the bush, God takes a step toward Moses, and he speaks to him: “When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, ‘Moses! Moses!’”

What a beautiful picture of God’s intimate love for one of his children. In the same way that he called out to Moses, he calls out to each one of us by name. Are we listening for God’s voice? Do we hear him calling out to us?

Moses’ response is equally encouraging. All he has to say is this: “Here I am.” He’s basically saying to God, “You got my attention. I’m ready to listen.” When was the last time God had your attention like that?

Before the conversation between God and Moses continues, God says to Moses, “Do not come any closer. Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” God is simply inviting Moses to acknowledge how special this moment is between them.

God is speaking to each one of us. He is inviting us into an intimate friendship with him. Every place where we encounter his personal love is holy ground. Will we take off our sandals and acknowledge his presence with us?

I pray for each one of us at Yarrow MB, that we would experience intimate moments with God during these days and that our friendship with him would grow stronger.

“Earth is crammed with heaven,

and every common bush afire with God,

but only he who sees

takes off his shoes.”

Elizabeth Barrett Browning


By Mark Klassen