Thursday, March 22, 2007

Bare Feet

I wear shoes in public, but at home I go barefoot most of the time. My ancestry roots run back to the red dirt of Arkansas, but probably have nothing to do with my barefoot habit. To me, wearing shoes in my intimate home setting doesn’t feel comfortable.

In a recent women’s Bible class, the subject of bare feet came up. We studied the life of Moses, called at age 80 to lead the Israelites from slavery. At God’s command, Moses took off his shoes near a bush that had internal fire. God eventually caused flames within Moses, igniting a deeper devotion to God and for the oppressed.

The Bible includes other barefoot remembrances. In innocence, the first humans Adam and Eve were barefoot in the Garden of Delight (Eden). Much later, during the tabernacle and temple eras, the High Priests entered the Holy of Holies shoeless, anointed on their right ears, right thumbs, and right big toes, the whole man set apart to serve God.

Outside of Jericho, Joshua removed his shoes, instructed by an angel of the Lord to do so (Joshua 5:13-15). Also, Hebrew mourning traditions included taking off shoes (Ezekiel 24:15-17). Later, on the cross and barefoot, God rescued our High Priest Jesus from life, and Jesus reentered holy heaven to plead our cases.

At age 8, my grandson Jack and I talked about these events. Since our fellowship practices baptism by immersion, Jack said, “And we’re barefoot when we’re baptized.” Why are these moments so significant in the lives of Bible heroes? It’s about more than not having shoes on our feet. Each meeting with God offers an opportunity for a light-catching, for becoming more like his goodness.

Speaker Rick Warren, addressed a group of 20,000 young people and asked them to hold up three fingers to form a “W”. This sign signified “whatever, whenever, wherever” for the cause of Christ. Speakers often use prompts such as Warren's illustration to help audiences remember presentation points, to propel the message beyond an immediate hearing into everyday living.

Your bare feet can be a prompt. Next time you wiggle your toes out of sandals, socks or shoes, think about “holy ground” moments and the humble heroes of the Bible who encountered God and took off their shoes.

Whenever we humble ourselves toward God, we become kindling, lives where just a spark from God can light fires within.

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