Moses on Holy Ground (19-07-21)
Following a major famine across the region, Jacob’s entire family, descendants of Abraham and Isaac, had settled in Egypt where Joseph had risen to great power, second only to Pharoah, and was in charge of the storage and distribution of the scarce supplies of grain.
Over 400 years have elapsed, and Jacob’s descendants have gone from being favoured guests to becoming slaves of the current Pharoah. Through Moses God begins the process of freeing his people from Slavery, to take them to their Promised Land.
Bible Reading Exodus 3:1-6
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. 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. So Moses thought, "I will go over and see this strange sight, why the bush does not burn up." 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." "Do not come any closer," God said. "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground." Then he said, "I am the God of your father,
the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob."
At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.
Most people’s bedrooms, whether for couples or individuals, are not surprisingly, off limits to everyone else. Not so, it appears, to grandchildren aged two and four who wake up early and creep into our bedroom hoping it might be time to get up but not sure whether or not they should be disturbing us.
Moses was in a similar dilemma. Here he was tending his father-in-law’s sheep when he wanders into the presence of God. Should he be there or shouldn’t he?
On the one hand God was calling his name and clearly wanted to speak to him, but on the other hand God’s very presence made the area ‘holy ground’, in recognition of which Moses was instructed to take of his shoes and to keep his distance.
We too face a similar tension in our relationship with God, a tension between the transcendent God who is remote and almighty and the immanent God who is present and forgiving. This dilemma is resolved in the coming of Jesus, though whose death and resurrection we have direct access to our loving, but holy, Heavenly Father.
The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is our God, revealed to us in Jesus. Let us come into his presence as welcomed children but let us also remember that the God we worship is holy and awesome, and that we only have this access because of Jesus.
Almighty, holy and awesome God, thank you that, through the blood of Jesus you call me by name and I can come boldly into your presence.
Be still, for the presence of the Lord, the Holy One, is here.