Everyone is always concerned with what they are wearing or how they look when leaving their homes in the morning. Usually the amount of thought one puts into their look for the day depends on whom they will meet. If meeting a friend for coffee in the morning to catch up, then usually jeans and a T-shirt does the trick. But if you were about to meet your boss to pitch an idea in front of several investors, jeans and a T-shirt would be inappropriate. What affects your appearance and even your actions is the person you are about to meet. So in all settings, there are expectations for how someone should appear and act. So here is my question, how would you act if you were in the presence of God?
When God first introduces himself to Moses He doesn’t say, “Hey, I’m God” or “Marvel at my amazing power! I can make bushes burn without a leaf being singed.” God does not show off how amazing He is. He does not even start off with the purpose. The very first thing God points out to Moses is, “… Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” (Exodus 3:5) God was making very clear to Moses, that before he could talk to Him, Moses must first recognize God’s holiness.
Pastor Steve preached from Exodus 3 and for two weeks I was mulling over verse 5. Why recognize God’s holiness first? Then it hit me a few days later as I was thinking about Moses reaction; “… Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God” (vs. 6) Moses hid his face because God is holy and he realized that he was unfit to be in His presence. So Moses humbled himself realizing his unworthiness. Moses changed the way he looked (by taking his sandals off) and behaved. God wanted Moses to recognize that He was holy (not the ground) and that in His presence one must act differently. Moses’ actions signal to us that when in the presence of God, we must worship and be humble for we are unworthy. One could argue that one main theme in Exodus is for His people to recognize the holiness of God.
Now fast forward to Jesus in John 16 right before He is about to be crucified; “5 But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me;’” Jesus is saying that once you become a believer, God will be present with you (like Moses and the burning bush). Just like Moses in God’s presence changed his behavior after recognizing who was present with him, I ask you how are you changing your behavior knowing you are constantly in God’s presence? An important key in praying and being in relationship with Him is to first, like Moses, recognize whose presence we are in.