Holy Ground

by Teena Myers

Follow Me: Deliverance

Observations as I follow God through the Chronological Bible

Exodus 3:4-6

God patiently waited in a flaming bush that his presence did not harm until the unusual sight attracted Moses’ attention. “Moses, Moses,” he called from the bush, and now had Moses’ full attention.

God did not want him to “come near”.[1] He told Moses to take his shoes off because he stood on holy ground. Was the ground more holy than God? Why didn’t God say “Don’t come any closer for I am holy.” Instead, he told Moses to remove his man-made shoes so his God made feet could touch holy ground. If God’s presence made the ground holy, it also made Moses holy.

I don’t know why God did not want Moses to come close. I am confident it had nothing to do with God’s “holiness”. Centuries later, God expressed his disdain for a “holier than thou” attitude through Isaiah. Speaking about the Hebrews who abandoned him for a man-made religion, God said, “They say, ‘Keep your distance. Don’t touch me. I’m holier than thou.’ These people gag me. I can’t stand their stench.”[2]

Moses stood before a usual sight with shoes in hand and heard a remarkable declaration. “I am the God of your father: the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob.” It had been 214 years since God told Jacob he would go with them to Egypt, and Jacob would die in the presence of Joseph, but they would become a great nation and God would bring them back to Canaan. At the mention of God’s name, Moses hid his face because he was afraid to look at God.

Apparently, Moses was not afraid until God identified himself, but I wonder why. In all the patriarch’s interactions with God, the word “afraid”[3] is used twice. Sarah was afraid when she lied about laughing and God confronted her. When Jacob fled from Esau, God appeared to him in a dream. Jacob awoke afraid, because he thought he had found the gate to Heaven that led to God’s house.

Moses’ first reaction is fear. It is interesting to note, as he grows in the knowledge of God, a desire to see God’s glory replaced his fear.


[1] Exodus 3:5

[2] Isaiah 65:5 Message Bible

[3] H3372 יָרֵא

yârê’ yaw-ray’ A primitive root; to fear; morally to revere; causatively to frighten: – affright, be (make) afraid, dread (-ful), (put in) fear (-ful, -fully, -ing). (be had in) reverence (-end), X see, terrible (act, -ness, thing).

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