TAKE OFF YOUR SANDALS
Why did God tell Moses to take off his sandals before making known the nature of his calling to him?
Moses is a fine example and a fine representative of that class of men who are drawn to the plight and misery of their people and willingly step out of their well cocooned existence to alleviate their suffering.
BUT THE PROBLEM ARISES WHEN, LIKE MOSES, WE BEGIN TO DO IT OUR WAY, IRRESPECTIVE OF THE FACT WHETHER WE RESORT TO VIOLENCE OR NOT.
In the manner Moses first went about it, in the manner he failed and his motives were weighed, and in the manner he invited Pharaoh’s wrath and ended up fleeing for his own life etc. speak volumes in terms of the typical outcome of all such enterprises. The end result is the same always – an Utopian idea pursued and lost, gone just as it had come!
It is also true that suffering and persecution, and NOT success and praise, are typical of all such enterprises even if charted out with the best of intentions or motives. BUT OF WHAT GOOD IT IS TO SUFFER FOR THE WRONG WE, LIKE MOSES, END UP COMMITTING IN SPITE OF OUR BEST INTENTIONS? “…How is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it?” (1 Pet 2:20).
Therefore, take heed and understand that “…..if your suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God.” (1 Pet 2:21). And herein lies the difference. For most fail to understand what it means to DO GOOD and how to go about doing good so that they are truly able to liberate the oppressed and at the same time are also held commendable before God.
The Word of God TEACHES, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of Righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matt 5:10) and EXPLAINS, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and FALSELY say all kinds of evil against you BECAUSE OF ME. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in Heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matt 5:11-12).
LET US REALIZE at the very outset itself that we are UP TO NO GOOD when we advocate THE LIE that we can bring peace or wipe out poverty and oppression.
Because when we do that we only oppose God who has revealed all TRUTH concerning this: no. 1, “YOU WILL ALWAYS HAVE THE POOR AMONG YOU (note, AMONG YOU)…” (Jn 12:8, Deut 15:11); no.2, “…. PEACE TO MEN ON WHOM HIS FAVOR RESTS.” (Lk 2:14, Jn 14:27, Jn 16:33) and no.3, “….FOR ALL WHO DRAW THE SWORD WILL DIE BY THE SWORD.” (Matt 26:52, Rom 12:19-21).
Therefore, reverting to Moses, we learn that even though he had no plans to return to his people after what had transpired, he did in fact end up returning, and what’s more? In a manner never witnessed either before or since.
To begin with, he was himself a thoroughly changed man. Most importantly, his message was different. Therefore unlike the previous time, this time he meets with success, the kind of success that is and will be remembered and sung unto eternity (Rev 15:2-4).
Why? Because this time he was sent by God (Ex 7:1-5). It was as the messenger of God that he addressed Pharaoh and his people. As a result, he not only caused Pharaoh to himself decree freedom for his people but also caused all Egypt and its neighboring nations to witness the power and might of God Almighty who had Himself commissioned him and showed him The Way (eg. Josh 2:8-11).
Spiritually and symbolically THIS IS THE PROCLAMATION OF THE COMING OF THE SON OF GOD who will lead all mankind FROM SATAN’S BONDAGE OF SIN, CURSES AND DEATH TO ETERNAL FREEDOM AND LASTING PEACE, irrespective of their nationality, color or race, all who do not harden their hearts like Pharaoh and his men did but all who will heed His words. AND ONCE AGAIN WITH UNSURPASSED DISPLAY OF THE POWER AND MIGHT OF GOD ALMIGHTY BEFORE ALL NATIONS (eg. Matt 24:21, Matt 12:17-21, Rev 15:3).
Hence it is also called the Gospel of Peace. Read Nah 1:15, “Look, there on the mountains, the feet of One who brings Good News, who proclaims Peace!….” Moses’ vision and calling testifies to it when he receives it at Mount Horeb – both literally and figuratively.
AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHY MOSES’ OLD SANDALS HAD TO GO, IN ORDER THAT HIS FEET WERE READIED WITH THE INFALLIBLE GOSPEL OF PEACE. For Moses’ old sandals represented the fallible ways of men (Isa 55:8-9).
Therefore, as it reasserts in Rom 10:15, “And how can they preach unless they are sent? …” For as it proclaims again in Isa 52:7, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring Good News, who proclaim Peace, who bring Good Tidings, who proclaim Salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’ “ To those who are able to understand, let me warn you, the armor of God is not perfected on you unless YOUR FEET ARE “…FITTED WITH the readiness that comes from the Gospel of Peace…” (Eph 6:13-18).
As for those who imagine they have succeeded in alleviating the suffering of a few to whatever extent, of what good it is if the real need of man is never met, that which can bring him eternal peace and wipe away every tear, every suffering forever?
Learn from Jesus and His ministry. Understand why He confronted His detractors saying, “…Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? Which is easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins…” (Matt 9:4-6). Understand that it is vested in His divine nature and eternal power to be able to heal the sick, to feed the hungry, to raise the dead, to free the demon-possessed, to make the lame walk, to make the blind see, to make the deaf hear etc. and as is the case here to say to the paralytic man to get up, take his mat and go home and show it being done instantly.
But as He reminds it was more important to Him that the man first received the forgiveness of his sins even though He knew it wouldn’t go down well with His critics to realize that He had indeed also the power and authority to forgive sins.
The root of all man’s suffering and bondage is his alienation from God. True and Eternal Peace can only come about by his reconciliation with God. And unless one is equipped to address this need, one only thrashes about in surging waters to no avail. And indeed on the Day of His Wrath, He will expose all such hoaxers (Matt 27:21-23, 1 Cor 3:11–13).