I have always wondered, why God told Moses to take off his shoes. "And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground" (Exodus 3:5). Yes, I know that it was "holy ground", but what is the significance of taking off his shoes? We have a neighbor who has a very light colored carpet, and the neighbor asks that people take off their shoes when they enter. I understand that the neighbor wants to keep the carpet clean, but somehow I feel a little undressed and vulnerable at the request. I am sure that Moses may have felt somewhat that same way, but there was much more than getting God's holy ground dirty. This meant that Moses was to yield his rights to live as he wanted to God. Taking off your shoes is yielding your right to have authority in that place.II. A failure to remove your shoes.
First, the idea of standing is the picture of having certain privileges or authority. "Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place?" (Psalms 24:3). This verse speak of privileges to stand before God. "Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand" (Ephesians 6:13). This verse goes a step further to speak of acting upon the authority that God delegates to us to stand. "Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses" (Joshua 1:3). This verse speaks of God's delegated rights going with Joshua where every he put his foot.
Let us get back to shoes again. "Now this was the manner in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning changing, for to confirm all things; a man plucked off his shoe, and gave it to his neighbour: and this was a testimony in Israel. Therefore the kinsman said unto Boaz, Buy it for thee. So he drew off his shoe" (Ruth 4:7-8). What does it mean for the kinsman of Boaz to take off his shoe? The kinsman of Boaz took off his shoe and gave it to Boaz yielding his right to marry Ruth thus allowing Boaz to marry Ruth. (Ruth 4:7-8).
Why did the captain of the LORD's army tell Joshua to take of his shoe? " And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant? And the captain of the LORD'S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so" (Joshua 5:14-15). This meant that Joshua was to yield his right to lead in the battle. The Angel of God was to be the captain, not Joshua.
Jesus is our example for giving up our rights. "And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt" (Mark 14:36). Here are some personal rights that we may hold on to:
1. SELF "And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it" (Luke 9:23-24). "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:26-27). 2. DATING "Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart" (Psalms 37:4). "Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth" (Ephesians 6:1-3). 3. CLOTHES "Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?" (Matthew 6:31). "Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price" (I Peter 3:3-4). 4. MONEY "Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom" (Proverbs 23:4). "And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows" (I Timothy 6:8-10). 5. KNOWLEDGE "Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness" (I Corinthians 3:18-19). "Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" (II Timothy 3:7). 6. FRIENDS "Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men" (Proverbs 4:14).
"Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful" (Psalms 1:1).
7. MUSIC "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (II Corinthians 10:5). "Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord" (Ephesians 5:19). 8. FUTURE "Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof" (Matthew 6:34). "Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that" (James 4:13-15). 9. HEALTH "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong" (II Corinthians 12:9-10). 10. REPUTATION "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20). "But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men" (Philippians 2:7).
We must remember that knowledge does not equal delegated privileges!!! Power does not equal privileges!!! To have authority, we must yield to authority.
I have often connected disease to disobedience; however, there is vivid connection with the death of Asa, the king. When Asa sought to do right in the eyes of the Lord, the Lord gave him victory over his enemies and a spoil along with that. "And Asa cried unto the LORD his God, and said, LORD, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O LORD our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O LORD, thou art our God; let not man prevail against thee" (II Chronicles 14:11). "And they smote all the cities round about Gerar; for the fear of the LORD came upon them: and they spoiled all the cities; for there was exceeding much spoil in them" (II Chronicles 14:14). However, when he later took matters into his own hands, God sent a prophet to rebuke him. Instead of repenting and yielding the rights back into God's hands, he became extremely angry, put prophet in prison and harassed some of the people as well. Furthermore, look at what happened next. "And Asa in the thirty and ninth year of his reign was diseased in his feet, until his disease was exceeding great: yet in his disease he sought not to the LORD, but to the physicians" (II Chronicles 16:12). Did you catch it? Because of his refusal to yield his rights to God, the result was that God withdrew His protection, and Asa got a disease in his feet. Still refusing to yield his rights, he took the matter in his own hands. He went to doctors rather than to God, and then died. "And Asa slept with his fathers, and died in the one and fortieth year of his reign" (II Chronicles 16:13). Jesus said, "So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:33).III. Putting on His shoes.
We are to take off our own shoes before God, yielding all that we consider to be our personal rights to God; however, we are also to tread upon the powers of darkness. Therefore we need the shoes that God would have us to put on. When we put on the shoes of the gospel of peace as sons of God, then we have the right to tread upon the enemy.
"At the same time spake the LORD by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, Go and loose the sackcloth from off thy loins, and put off thy shoe from thy foot. And he did so, walking naked and barefoot. And the LORD said, Like as my servant Isaiah hath walked naked and barefoot three years for a sign and wonder upon Egypt and upon Ethiopia; So shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians prisoners, and the Ethiopians captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, even with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt" (Isaiah 20:2-4). Why did God tell Isaiah to walk around bare foot and naked? He was to demonstrate the life of bondage as a slave. It is not enough just to take off our shoes, we need shoes, both in the natural and in the spiritual. In the natural, shoes protect our feet from the elements of heat and cold. They also protect us from what we may step on. I still remember as a small boy trying walk bare footed on a trail filled with goat head stickers. I remember the sharp pain and having to stop to pull the stickers out of my feet. Shoes would have protected my feet. "Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip" (Psalms 18:36). God may give us ground upon which to stand.
The prodigal demanded his inheritance, left home, spent all that he had and ended up eating husks along side of what the pigs ate. Then he repented and went home to ask his father just to be one of his servants. His father saw him coming and greeted him and kissed him repeatedly. When he told his father that he was not worthy to be his son, look at what happened. "But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet" (Luke 15:22). Why did the father of the prodigal command that shoes be put on on his son when he came home??? It was to demonstrate that he was no longer consider to be a servant, but had the right to be a son.
We are to take off our own shoes, but put on HIS shoes. We should look at this from the perspective of what God, the Father, did for Christ. David said, "Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet" (Psalms 8:6). Look at what Paul said, "For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him" (I Corinthians 15:27).
However, we should also see that He has delegated the authority to Believers to tread upon the enemy. "And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all" (Ephesians 1:22-23). "Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet" (Psalms 91:13). In the book of Joshua we see this demonstrated in the natural realm. "And it came to pass, when they brought out those kings unto Joshua, that Joshua called for all the men of Israel, and said unto the captains of the men of war which went with him, Come near, put your feet upon the necks of these kings. And they came near, and put their feet upon the necks of them" (Joshua 10:24). Likewise we are to have authority to stand over our spiritual enemy. "And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen" (Romans 16:20). Jesus said, "Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you" (Luke 10:19). The word translated "power" in the verse is the word for authority.
Paul encourages us to engage in spiritual warfare by standing. "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:" (Ephesians 6:10-17).