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Thursday, November 5, 2015
Then the Commander of the LORD's army said to Joshua, "Take you sandal off your foot for the place where you stand is holy." And Joshua did so.
Now about Joshua, why did the Angel of the LORD tell him to take off his sandal from his foot instead of his sandals from his feet?
Well either Joshua was one legged (could have lost a foot in battle) or this could simply be an ancient Hebrew idiom for both feet (like some North Indians say "Roti Khaalo"- "Have some bread", meaning have a meal; the bread referring to the whole meal that may or may not even include bread)
Or maybe something else was going on here...
In Deut 25 and in Ruth 4 we read of the kinsman redeemer. When a piece of land was to be redeemed but the one who had the right to redeem it forfeited this right in favour of someone else the first man took off one sandal from his foot and gave to to the second man.
Here Joshua was going in with the nation of Israel to redeem the land of Canaan from the heathen whose sin was now 'full'. When The Angel of the LORD told him to remove one sandal, He was telling Joshua that the LORD was the true redeemer of the land and that He would fight Joshua's battle. And though Joshua would be the leader of Israel, God would be their Lord and the land of Israel belonged to God Himself.
But He would redeem the the land on His own terms not on the terms of the Israelites. When Israel obeyed God they were victorious but when they harboured sin, as in the case of the battle of Ai, they were defeated.
Our Lord Jesus Christ is our redeemer and the true owner and Master of our lives and all that we have and are. If only we would remember this we could save ourselves a lot of frustration and trouble; if only we could learn to seek His kingdom first and to walk in obedience and faith because He is now responsible for us and our well-being, if we only obey.
Sunday, November 1, 2015
Then He said, "Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet for the place where you stand is holy ground." - Ex 3:5
Then the Commander of the LORD's army said to Joshua, "Take you sandal off your foot for the place where you stand is holy." And Joshua did so. -Josh 5:15
Hmmmmm...., so why did God ask Moses and Joshua to take off their sandals? (Just one sandal in Joshua's case; was he one-legged??)
And what made the places they were standing on holy?
The reason that these two men were ased to take off their sandals is given in the text itself: "for the place where you stand is holy...". Here in India we can easily relate to this; people of all religions here (Except Christians!!!) take off their shoes or sandals before entering their places of worship. (Well, in the 'traditional' churches the priest does take off his shoes before stepping onto the church altar)
The primary and most obvious reason for this is to keep the place clean; allowing footwear inside would dirty the place in no time at all because of all the dust and dirt that could come in stuck to the shoes. This is also why shoes and sandals used outside are not allowed inside so many homes, especially in the kitchen.
Moses and Joshua also lived in a culture where such respect was shown for places of worship or 'houses of gods', ie- holy places. So when the Angel of the LORD commanded them to take off their sandals, they realized that they were in the presence of God. And it was this Presence that seems to have made that ground holy. Though Mt Sinai does seem to have had some sort of history as it is called the 'mountain of God' in Ex 3.
But then what do sandals signify spiritually? Sandals generally accumulate a lot of dust as they are being used, even more so in ancient times. Man has been formed out of dust, in other words, the flesh is dust; that is to say, dust signifies flesh.
So when these men of God were told to take off their sandals, God was telling them to get rid of the flesh, not in the literal sense of course but in the figurative sense with the flesh meaning carnality and all human weaknesses. Because now, the LORD Himself was going to transform and empower them for the mighty works that they were going to do.
So we too, when we enter into the presence of God, must put off our flesh, or as the apostle Paul put it, mortify our flesh; so that God will be able to breathe His life into us and empower us to do the work that He has called us for.
Now about Joshua, why did the Angel of the LORD tell him to take off his sandal from his foot instead of his sandals from his feet?That's for the next post ....