Pastor Keith’s Blog

Take Off Your Shoes – Part 3

Having miraculously crossed the Jordan River, Joshua is about to lead the children of Israel on their first battle to obtain the promised land.  As Joshua is near to Jericho he sees a man opposite him with his sword drawn.  Joshua asks him if he is for him or for the adversaries.  To which the soldier says, He is the “Commander of the army of the Lord”.  Joshua falls and worships and asks what The Lord would say to him.  The Commander of the Lord’s Army said to, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy”, and Joshua did this, (Joshua 5:13-15).
Take a moment to read Joshua Chapter 5 specifically verses 13 – 15.
As Joshua is about to go into battle, he desperately needed instructions from God.  What an encouragement to see the Captain of the Lord there in front of him and to be able to seek God’s clear directions.  Many commentators on this passage believe that this “Captain of the Army of the Lord” was a Theophany – i.e. an Old Testament appearance of Jesus Christ.  Indications of this are seen by the fact that the “Captain of the Lord” receives worship from Joshua, while the angel in the book of Revelation was not prepared to be worshiped by the apostle John, (Rev. 19:10; 22:8,9).  Also note that the statement that this was holy ground and that the sandals were to be removed was similar to when Moses stood before God at the burning bush experience (Exodus 3).
Many times we too want and need God to speak His guidance.  God was about to supply His Divine plan on how to capture the city of Jericho, but first there were some things that were needed.  Joshua took time to worship (vs 14) and he needed to remove his sandals (vs 15).
It is noteworthy that Joshua instinctively worshipped God.  He did not need to be challenged that if he wanted a message from God, or if he were to get help from God then he needed to worship.  Worship was not an action done to obtain something, it was a response to the fact that he realized that God was present.   As followers of Jesus Christ, He is always present with us, this means that we should always be in an attitude of worship and adoration towards Him.
But then Joshua was commanded to remove his sandals.  This was a symbol of yielding to the Lord (see the last two day’s posts).  Before the instructions for the next phase of Joshua’s life were given, there needed to be submission of heart motives, values, lifestyle, his whole being, unto the Lord.  Before we can move into the next phase of our life or before we can properly use the gifts and abilities which God has given to us there needs to be fresh levels of submission unto His Lordship. (See Romans 12 where we are to present ourselves before The Lord before using the gifts and skills He has given us.)
Take some time to examine your actions, thoughts and values.  Are you in a constant attitude of worship to The Lord who is constantly with you?  Are there areas in your life that need to be yielded to His Lordship?  Ask God to help you to live a life of worship and submission to Him.

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Take Off Your Shoes – Part 2

As Moses comes before God in Exodus 3, he is told to take off his shoes.  We looked at how the removal of our shoes is seen as a yielding of our rights.  But taking off the shoes is also the start of the life of brokenness before God.  Such brokenness needs to be a voluntary act, Moses chose to obey God, to take off his shoes and to go barefooted before The Lord.
Without shoes the feet are exposed to many hurtful things as one walks forward.   In Ephesians 6: 15 we are told that we should have our feet shod with the preparation of peace, Moses willingly exposed his feet to hardship as He stood before God.  In the days ahead, Moses would willingly sacrifice personal ease and comfort to help bring peace to others that were troubled.    The prophet Isaiah would later write about how God would keep people in perfect peace, if they kept their minds on Him (Isaiah 26:3). Only in the light of this peace from Our Lord can one walk forward in an exposed way and not stumble mentally or spiritually. Yet in the midst of the exposing and making ourselves vulnerable, God says that for those who set their heart upon Him, “He shall give His angels charge over thee lest you dash your foot upon the stones” (Ps 91:11-12).
What areas are you willing to sacrifice to help bring peace to others?

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Take Off Your Shoes – Part 1

In Numbers 12:3 we read about Moses being the meekest man on the face of the earth.  How did Moses get to be like that, was he born meek, raised to be meek or did he learn to be meek?  We read in Exodus chapter 3, that as God appeared to Moses in the burning bush, God says, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.”   Though Moses was drawn towards God there was only a certain level of closeness that was unavailable before the shoes needed to be removed. We read in Ruth 4:7 that the taking off of one’s sandal or shoe was a symbol of submitting to or confirming a legal transaction, the yielding of one’s rights to the legal requirements.
At this time Moses did not understand all that God was about to ask of him, yet in hind-sight we know that Moses is about to move ahead into the next phase of his life.  He was about to become a leader of a nation, and to move into his calling and purpose in life.  Note that the yielding of our rights is necessary before we receive our people to minister to, the personal calling, and the destination (which speaks of our end plan or goal).
Yielding our rights means that our expectations of rewards and our areas of entitlement must be laid down and given to The Lord.  As one examines the life of Moses you will see that he lays down his rights to defend himself (Num.  12), his right to a good name or reputation (Ex. 5:20,21; Ex. 6:12 ), his right to “be right” in the eyes of others leaders (Exodus  10:28).  At times it seems like God is willing for us to seem foolish and unlearned before others so that our trust would be in Him (1 Cor. 1:26-31).  Of course compared to the high standard of our Lord, we actually are foolish and unlearned so why should it bother us if others treat us the same way.
Yielding our rights to God is the start of the walk of meekness.   Jesus says, “blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).   Take a moment to think about what rights, privileges or sensing of entitlement do you need to yield to Your Lord and Saviour?  Now in prayer yield these areas unto Him.

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None Shall Appear Empty Handed

In Exodus 34:20 God gives some guidelines about what He expects as we come before Him.  “none shall appear before Me empty-handed.”  There was a custom in the ancient cultures that whenever a common person approached the courts of the noble rulers they were to come with a gift.  When you come before your God and Lord what do you bring to Him?
In Psalm 100:4 the Psalmist says that we are to, “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise.  Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.”  The Apostle Paul tells us in Philippines 4:6 that we when we come before God with our prayer, supplications, and requests before God, we are to come with thanksgiving.
As you constantly come before your king, may your life, your prayers, your requests, your entrance into God’s presence always be filled with thanksgiving and praise.  May you bring the gift of thankfulness and submission before your God and King.

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