Then God said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet [out of respect], because the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” Then He said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Then Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.
Exodus 3:5-6 AMP
Moses’ curiosity brings him to a bush that is burning but is strangely not being consumed. Over the last forty years of Moses’ life, everything has been pushing him to this moment. God is about to deliver His call on Moses’ life—a call that will change everything for the Israelites.
This divinely orchestrated introduction between God and Moses is an intricate one. God not only wants Moses to be aware of his human purpose, to liberate the Israelites, but God also wants to set up the patterns by which God and Moses will interact in the future.
In modern times, we expect God to be easily accessed, touched, and casually related to. But our culture has forgotten that God is to be approached with awe and reverence and mystery. It is less important for our spiritual pursuits to discover who we are, but it is critically important that we discover who God is.
Spiritual connection, or holiness, is not natural for humans. Holiness invites us to accept the reality that we are not the most important thing in our lives. When God introduced Himself to Moses, He set up patterns that showed Moses the enormous gap between His divinity and Moses’ humanity.
God did not create us for this distance or divide, but sin created distance. We see this first with Adam and Eve, who attempted to cover themselves and were ashamed before God. Eventually they were evicted from the garden, but that sin was forgiven in Jesus’ sacrifice. God is now to us what He has always been. He is the initiator. He is working to get us back into intimacy.
Even when Moses approaches the burning bush, God tells him not to come near and to take his shoes off, out of respect. God, on the one hand, is drawing Moses in, and on the other hand, it appears that He is keeping Moses at a distance. However, this warning is for Moses’ teaching and training.
Moses didn’t know that by approaching the bush that he was consenting to being used by God. But God set to work, setting up patterns for Moses’ life, teaching and training him how to act and work with the Almighty God.
The first thing that God teaches Moses is that God is not to be approached commonly, carelessly, or casually. God has an expectation. He expects a certain mindset and discipline from us, too. God says to us, he who would come to Me must first believe that I am God, and I am a rewarder of those who would diligently seek after me.