I had a funny dream a while ago in which I managed to lose my shoes! In the dream, I was passing through a shopping precinct on my way to a meeting when I stopped to browse in a large charity shop. When it came time to continue to the meeting, I left the shop but as I was walking along, I noticed that my shoes were missing!
I thought – I can’t go to the meeting without shoes! So I returned to the charity shop in case I had taken them off there without realising it – I didn’t want someone to find them and think they were for sale. I searched the shop for my shoes but couldn’t find them. Time was getting on, so I decided to quickly buy myself another pair of shoes. I looked first for a cheap shoe shop, but couldn’t find one, and was then looking for any shoe shop when I woke up.
It was only a dream, but it felt like one of those “trojan horse” dreams – carrying a hidden message from the Lord. As I puzzled over what had happened to my shoes, I thought of Moses and the day his life was radically changed after he lost his shoes (Exodus 3:1-5).
Moses had been tending his father-in-law’s flock for 40 years, knew a thing or two about sheep, had probably been this side of the desert many times before – and I’m certain he had seen enough scrubby little bushes to last a lifetime.
But this day there is something different about one particular bush – it seems to be ablaze but not burning up. As he stops and takes a closer look, a strange thing happens. He hears a voice from the bush - it’s the voice of God! And the Lord says to him “Take off your shoes” (okay, probably “sandals” but you know what I mean).
Right there, in the middle of a desert, on a mundane, humdrum day at the office - Moses sees a funny looking bush, stops, hears a voice, takes off his sandals – and encounters God!
The simple truth is that the glory of God is all around us – but we’ll never see it unless we take off our shoes and have a look. Elizabeth Barrett Browning in her epic verse-novel Aurora Leigh said: “Earth’s crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God: But only he who sees, takes off his shoes”.
The prophet Isaiah saw a vision of heaven with seraphim round the throne of God crying out “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of His glory”. Indeed, the whole earth is full of His glory, and every common bush is afire with God, but we need to stop and take off our shoes if we want to see it, if we want to encounter God. If we never stop, if we never take a look, we’ll never see.
Psalm 19 says the heavens declare the glory of God and the skies proclaim his handiwork – day after day, night after night, sunrise after sunset – all declaring His glory. But how often do we stop to ponder the majesty of the One who made it all? Unless we stop and take off our shoes, we’re in danger of missing it.
Martha was rushing around stressed out with the demands of preparation and practicalities but Jesus said Mary had chosen the better part, she had prioritised what was important, she had chosen first to sit with Jesus. Mary took off her shoes!
We live in a hectic world, filled with frenzied activity and relentless productivity. We’re forever rushing but never arriving. No matter how much you do, there’s always more to be done. But we so rarely stop to do the important things, we so rarely stop and look and take off our shoes – and consequently we so rarely encounter the God who is there!
I believe God is calling to us from the burning bush! He’s trying to get our attention. Perhaps one of the unexpected blessings of the pandemic-lockdown and the church having to close its doors for so long was that many Christians had the time and the opportunity to stop, and look, and take off their shoes, to turn aside and re-connect with the God who is there!
It’s amazing what you see if you take the time to stop and look more closely……..it was just a little bush, one bush among many, a bush like any other, but when Moses stopped and looked and took off his shoes, he ended up seeing God!
The Magi in the nativity story were astronomers, and night after night they had seen plenty of stars but one night, they saw one star that somehow caught their attention. Maybe it was brighter than usual, maybe it was one they hadn’t seen before. They decided to take time out and take a closer look. And they ended up seeing the one born to be king – the King of Kings. They met God!
I liked the testimony of a young man on Songs of Praise recently who was sharing how he came to faith in God. He was surfing in Cornwall one day and as he was riding a wave, a gull flew down and he ducked – and as he thought about it - as he took a closer look so to speak – he suddenly had a revelation of God! He stopped and looked and took off his flip-flops! And now today he’s a born-again believer giving glory to God on national television!
The glory of God is everywhere, but we need to stop and look. I believe He is trying to get our attention at this critical time. He is coming soon and His bride, the church, must make herself ready. You might catch glimpse of Him in a burning bush or on a surfboard, in a sunrise or a sunset or even in the stars at night. His glory is everywhere, but you need to stop, to turn aside, to come closer, to take off your shoes!
A blog by Pastor Brendan munro
Welcome to my blog - thank you for stopping by! I’ve never done this before and I’m only doing it now after friends encouraged me to share more widely of the life-changing journey I’ve been on with God over the past couple of years.