By Mark Walz
One of the most incredible and important moments in all of history is the day God spoke to Moses from a bush on fire. Never before had God ever come in such a way as to make the very ground too holy and too dangerous to walk on with man-made shoes. “Shoes off,” God told Moses. And never since has such a change happened with the very soil under one’s feet. What did it mean? It meant that God had come not just as a voice, but as a presence. This presence was so real and so immense that it changed the very substance of the dirt. The earth had been transformed.
My favorite author, CS Lewis, described something similar — how different heaven can be over earthly things. He wrote a fictional story called, The Great Divorce. In it, Lewis imagined how even the grass of heaven would be too sharp and too uncomfortable to walk upon, and the waters of a heavenly river to thick and too violent to sink in and wade in. It is a very imaginative way to write about heavenly things. Randy Alcorn wrote his impression of these images from The Great Divorce:
“Heaven is the land of substance, earth the land of shadow. Earth is full of not only shadows, but illusions and pretentions, Heaven is reality itself.”
If heaven (and heavenly things) is the place of real substance, then when heaven visits earth as it did when God visited Moses, the earth is inevitably transformed; and earthly creatures are not fit to live in the presence of such great glory.
God has been revealing himself to a blinded world a little at a time. And His presence would be so significant that the nature of the dirt had become holy. God chose Moses. In this way, Moses would be prepared to face an unprecedented enemy with miraculous power behind him. But this was not unlike the advent of Christ over 2,000 years ago. For God made a grand and miraculous visitation then too; and once again, in a back corner of the world to a tiny audience. How paradoxical that the Creator of the universe would crack the veil and barrier between the material and spiritual worlds to a small audience in a quiet way. If it means anything, it means God is intensely personal. And He intends to be personal with us, making us more solid to be on holy ground. He is little by little through personal moments with us in our faith that God transforms us like He transformed the ground. He is not only interested in making the earth holy but in making you and me holy. ‘Shoes off’ and buckle up!