“The Lord said, ‘Draw not near, put off your shoes from off your feet, for the place on which you stand is holy ground'” (Exodus 3:5).
“The Captain of the Lord’s Host said to Joshua, ‘Loose your shoe from off your feet, for the place on which you stand is holy'” (Joshua 5:15).
Holy: (Heb. Qodesh): A sacred place or thing, sanctity, consecrated, dedicated, hallowed, clean
Contemplate that mysterious phrase, “the place on which you stand”. It begs the question, ‘Where am I standing?’ Have I encountered the holy? Am I anywhere near the holy? Hopefully, the answer to that question is yes. If it is yes, what is my response?
In your encounters with the holy what do you feel? Comfortable, want to stay there, don’t want to move, just abide? Fear, want to run away and hide, shame? Our reaction to the Presence of the holy tells the story of our relationship with God. Is the holy strange, foreign, unusual; or is it wonderful, glorious, reviving, strengthening, empowering?
For Moses and Joshua, the Presence of the Holy was the encounter that changed everything. For Moses it was the call to deliver the Children of Israel from the bondage of Egypt; for Joshua, it was the command to go forth in the battle at Jericho and achieve victory when the walls came tumbling down.
Ground: (Heb. Adamah, from Adam): Soil, earth, land (Adam: To show blood, be flush, or rosy in the face, red, ruddy)
The Lord has given us a holy place in which to dwell, to abide; it is the holy ground of our mortal body. For those who are in Christ we now have a mortal body that has been consecrated, dedicated, hallowed, made clean and sanctified by the Presence of the Holy, the very Spirit of Christ who dwells in us. This “earthen vessel” (cf. II Corinthians 4:7), this Adam, that shows blood in the face, shines with the glory of God as the very Temple of the Holy Spirit.
Too many of us despise our bodies, instead of seeing our bodies for what they were intended to be: “instruments of righteousness” (Romans 6:13); “vessels of honor” (II Timothy 2:20); Temples of the Holy Spirit” (I Corinthians 3:16). Holy Ground, indeed.
What then are we to do while in these mortal bodies, these earthen vessels, these vessels of clay? Keep your feet clean, keep your walk before the Holiness of God free from things that defile, that sully and make dirty. Jesus said to the Apostle Peter, “He that is washed needs not, except to wash his feet; but he is clean every whit, and you are clean. . .” (John 13:10). Yes, the ground is holy, the vessel is clean, and has become an instrument of righteousness; indeed, the vessel of honor is ready for the Master’s use. That is how it should be with those who are called to be saints (cf. Romans 1:7; I Corinthians 1:2). Those who are the sanctified in Christ Jesus.
The Apostle wrote concerning these things to the Church at Rome: “I beseech you, therefore, Brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1). We have been given a standing in Christ. It is a standing by grace through faith into the very Presence of the Holy where we are accepted in the Beloved.
With this understanding, perhaps we will find new meaning to the old song:
We are standing on holy ground, and I know there are angels all around. Let us praise Jesus now. We are standing in His Presence on holy ground.