In my home, I preferred to go bare foot until my arches gave way, and now I wear what my grandchildren call “granny shoes.” Hey, it’s better to wear “granny shoes” during the day than to have granny aches at night. My ancestry roots run back to the red dirt of Arkansas, so barefoot is simply what I prefer.
In a women’s Bible class, the subject of bare feet came up. We were studying the life of Moses who was called at age 80 to lead the Israelites out of slavery. When the call came and at God’s command, Moses took off his shoes near a bush that had an internal fire set alight by God. Moses was at first hesitant to follow God’s calling, however his eventual following caused a deepening devotion to God and the Israelites.
The Bible also includes other barefoot moments. In innocence and purity, the first humans Adam and Eve were barefoot in the Garden of Eden (meaning delight). 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, declaring that the whole man was set apart to serve God.
On the outskirts of Jericho, Joshua removed his shoes, instructed by an angel of the Lord to do so (Joshua -15). Hebrew mourning traditions included taking off shoes (Ezekiel 24:15-17). On the cross and barefoot, God rescued our High Priest Jesus from a world that spurned his purity. Jesus then re-entered holy heaven, the court of God, to plead our cases.
When my grandson Jack was eight-years-old and I talked about these barefoot moments in scripture, Jack said, “And we’re barefoot when we’re baptized” (our fellowship practices immersion). Why are these moments so significant in the lives of Bible heroes and us?
Intimate meetings, the baring of our souls to God (not just our feet)includes opportunities for God to ignite fires within – to ignite passions causing us to become his hands of help to the oppressed. Rick Warren spoke to 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. Another speaker at the same event echoed the call of Jesus to learn the ways of mercy and justice.
Even though Moses showed plenty of fear, he soon knew he was on the precipice of something startling and moving. When Moses allowed God to direct his life, that’s when God built a fire within.
Whatever. Whenever. Wherever. Take off your shoes, bare your soul in quiet moments this week, and watch for holy ground where God can inspire you to extend grace and mercy to others.
Index card verse for week 43: “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).