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Take off your shoes


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Building a Life with Jesus

And the Father himself who sent me has given proof about me. You have never heard his voice or seen what he looks like. 38 His teaching does not live in you, because you don’t believe in the One the Father sent. 39 You carefully study the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. They do in fact tell about me, 40 but you refuse to come to me to have that life.

John 5:33-47

from Bible Gateway

Take Off Your Shoes

What is the will of God for you, in your life?

The reason for this writing is that in one text Jesus says he will say to many “I do not know you”. There must be an essential element that most people are missing for Jesus to be saying this. Based on our previous article “I Never Knew You” we look at what Jesus was requiring of us to be known by him.  Some of this answer was practising the disciplines.

There are many instructions by Jesus in the bible but with all the gaps it makes it difficult to know the full context needed to be a disciple. In this article we are going to build on Moses and what Moses life and times tell us about discipleship to Jesus.  Each little part in this series will look at some of the elements in the story and in the final article in the series I will put it all together and share a different look at the path Jesus may have been referencing.

Jesus spoke about Moses:

“If you really believed Moses, you would believe me, because Moses wrote about me. 47 But if you don’t believe what Moses wrote, how can you believe what I say?” (NCV John 5:46)

So there was some worth for Jesus in what Moses said. He also gave a warning in John 5. (See verses to the left)

Jesus indicated Moses was important

To this end let’s look at some of Moses’ life and journey. This is a quick glance at some of the elements in Moses life and we will look at them all in short articles. I am not going to include the early years of Moses in these articles for now.

  • Moses first years were as a prince (40 years)
  • He is a shepherd for 40 years
  • Moses was in the desert when he found the burning bush.
  • He is told to take off his shoes because he is standing on holy ground while in the desert.
  • He leads people out of Egypt
  • Moses arrives at Mount Sinai
  • At some point God tells him to leave the mountain and “take up his journey”
  • He wanders in the desert for another 40 years as a lawgiver
  • He is near the promised land but does not enter it.

(The story of Moses click here)

What might this mean?

Moses is a shepherd for 40 years. He is learning the ways of nature living in the desert. Deserts are very interesting places. Most notably deserts are short on water. Deserts help us let go of the  “un-neccessaries”. In the desert we let go of what is not needed to be clear and open. It is a place of purification, by fire, by the sun. Where do we find water in the desert, and nourishment. Jesus was in the desert too, though his was a 40 day sojourn.

When Moses finds God, or more appropriately I suppose, God reveals himself to Moses and says “Take off your shoes”. Shoes have a fascinating history and meaning. They are clothes for our feet, our ‘soles’. Moses had arrived at a sacred place and for all his searching had yet to be completely naked in his spirit before God. Take off your shoes Moses. Taking off the shoes is also an indication of further purification and graduation. When we leave one area of mastery we move onto the next level. Take off your shoes. And so the instruction begins

(If it is holy ground upon which we wish to tread, (paraphrased) we must remove our sandals – that is, we must free ourselves from the spirit of the world and of the present age; Link)

Walking on mountains

What if the mountain means a representation of what is God. An approach to God. Lifting one’s spirit up to mountain tops, different from the valley where people live. Maybe it talks about us going to a place of God for instruction.The idea behind this is that we must leave the worldly perceptions behind and approach what we are being told in the manner of sacred mysteries. We must leave the valley of everyday experience to look for sacred meanings.

Moses has to be clean in his soul and way of life in a number of areas, spoken of by the removal of his shoes, going to the mountain to get the commandments and lastly when he cannot go to the promised land, the last cleansing is giving up the self as we know it.

A look at shoes

The Levirate Law, and the symbolic use of a sandal”(click here) is a part of an article in the New Theological Movement which is a Catholic Blog Site. It is a very interesting read though long. As I understand it, what they are saying is that when St John the Baptist says he is not worthy to untie the sandals on the feet of the one who comes after him (Jesus) may have been alluding to the Levirate Law talking about marriage. Shoes (or sandals) seems to representing “to take up a life path” or to shoulder the burdens or responsibilities of a path. It could have been a moral or ethical path – the right thing to do

But if our shoes are representing the physical world it may also mean our ‘marriage’ in the case of Moses sandals, that he was married to the physical world and God was asking him to let go of the physical way or put aside what is not of God.

Marriage to what is sacred is a central theme in Christianity as I understand it. There are very definite teachings in how Moses approached God and what we need to do to ‘get the 10 commandments’ or teachings if you will, to continue our journeys into sacred ways of living.

Please check back for our next article and I look forward to your thoughts as we continue in this series!

The Barefoot Journey

Image below: Image by skeeze from Pixabay

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