Standing On Holy Ground
In our convention center lobby, there is a large, handcrafted medallion. In the middle is an eagle landing on a rock, a tribute to the eagles who come to our stretch of the Des Moines River every winter.
The picture doesn’t do it justice, but each section is patterned marble in beautiful, deep colors. And right after it’s been shined and buffed, it glistens in the light from the floor-to-ceiling windows behind it.
For many reasons, guests are encouraged to walk around the medallion instead of across it. Much time and effort has been put into preserving it, and scuff marks and damage will eventually deteriorate the marble. We want to keep it beautiful for generations to come, so treating it well and walking around the edges are the best ways to preserve it.
If we are this conscientious about a piece of art, imagine how much more so God was about the places He allowed His presence to be. In the Old Testament, God repeatedly told the people to be holy because He is holy. Sometimes that worked, but sometimes it didn’t because people were just as stubborn then as they are now.
And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush was not consumed. And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place where on thou standers is holy ground. Exodus 3:5
When God appeared to Moses in the burning bush and finally had his attention, even though Moses was on the back side of the desert, He instructed Moses to take off his shoes before coming any closer. The ground where God’s presence was the holiest of holies at that moment, and He didn’t want Moses walking on it with his dusty, dirty sandals on. God was teaching Moses about respect from their very first conversation.
God would do the same thing years later, through the appearance of the captain of the host of the Lord.
And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? 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 5:13-15
When we’re standing on holy ground, we treat it differently. Multiple the respect we would show a beautiful piece of art crafted into the floor exponentially, and it still wouldn’t be equal to the care we show around the presence of God. His church buildings, His prayer closets, His homes and families are all places to worship Him, love Him and show others who He is.
Our shoes come off and our heads bow in submission. We treat our quiet time with reverence and guard it against distraction. We are in the church building every time the doors are open because we can’t stay away. When we’re standing on holy ground, we standing with honor and respect.
What holy ground are you standing on today?