Moses was tending sheep in the desert one day when God called to him from a burning bush. “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground” (see Exodus 3:5 NKJV).

Holy ground is not a physical place. When God commanded Moses to take off his shoes because he was on holy ground, he was not referring to a piece of real estate, but to Moses’ spiritual condition. A holy God must have a holy man who is on “holy ground.” God can’t use a man until his spirit is ready.

Moses had finally arrived here at a place of reception, a time in his growth when God could get through to him. He was ready to listen and mature enough to humbly respond to the dealing of a holy God.

Please don’t think for a moment that Moses alone was on holy ground. Israel, at the end of their hope, was ready to listen, too. I have never believed that God would keep an entire nation under slavery just to give Moses time to mature into a gracious leader. Our Lord is no respecter of persons. God, in those forty trying years, was preparing Israel as well as Moses. By way of loving judgment, the Lord was driving Israel back to the holy ground: a hunger for Jehovah.

While Moses was on the mountain being stripped of his rights (symbolized by the removal of his shoes), Israel was in the valley being stripped of all human strength. Moses would have no rights, and Israel would have no strength. God could prove himself strong on their behalf in no other way. The great I AM was being revealed!

We will have to travel the same route to usefulness. All self-pride and confidence in our ability to save ourselves will have to be stripped away so God’s glory can be revealed.