Monday, October 31, 2005

A Study on Shoes

I love the Word of God. I love to study the Word. Well, Sunday morning I was doing my morning devotion in the book of Joshua. I was reading the fifth chapter, and when I came to verse fifteen, I seemed to get stuck. I haven’t been able to get this verse out of my spirit. Here is the verse:

“And the captain of the LORD'S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest [is] holy. And Joshua did so.” Joshua 5:15

Of course, we know that Joshua’s mentor, Moses, had the same experience when God first called him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. I have always wondered what the removal of the shoes could mean. After all, God could speak to us no matter what we wear, look like, or where we are. So I began to study out the purpose of shoe removal in Bible times. What I found was quite interesting. Also, I should say that the purpose of blogging this today is really a study. I would be more than happy to read what other people think of this happening in the Bible.

First of all, shoes were never worn indoors. So for one to put shoes on meant that there was some kind of activity or work to be done. Could God have been telling Joshua that the job at hand of leading His people into the land of Canaan was His job? Joshua was to follow God’s leading, and not to try to work out his own plan. Often, in our zeal to fulfill God’s will, we try to “make things happen” when it seems that God is not moving, or not moving at the rate we would like Him to. We can look at Abraham, with the Hagar ordeal, or Jacob and his mother trying to make God’s promise come to pass through their own deceitful means. That is not to say we should not exercise foresight and wisdom, but that above all, “Except the LORD build the house, they labor in vain that build it” (Ps.127:1).

Shoes were not worn in a Holy place. The presence of God made the place holy, or set apart. Since shoes were used for everyday stuff, walking in all the common areas of life, to bring what is common to what is set apart for God was wrong. We must remember that God is Holy. Everything He does is Holy. We must never treat the Holy purposes of God as something common. Joshua was to realize that what God was ordaining him to do was holy, and needed to be treated as holy.

Shoes were removed in an act of humiliation. When a man refused to do his job of taking his dead brother’s wife as his own, to raise up a child in his brother’s name, he was publicly humiliated. This was done by being spit upon by his brother’s widow, and having his shoe removed (Deut. 25:7-10). Also, it was a custom for one to relinquish his right to property, as seen in the story of Boaz and the kinsmen-redeemer that declined to take Ruth and the piece of property that was Naomi’s late husbands. Joshua was forfeiting any right to his own will. He was humbling himself before God, realizing that only God’s way in the right way. Also, let us remember that we must humble ourselves before the Lord, because if we don’t, He certainly knows how to.

Finally, only the very poor and slaves had no shoes. Joshua needed to realize, as we do, that we are impoverished without the Lord Jesus. Even if we have great wealth and abundance, we are still in need of God.

Well, that is all for now. I pray that this in some way blesses you. And, as I said before, feel free to post your views on this topic. We are all taking this walk with Christ one step at a time, so if anyone has insight I haven’t got, I want to hear it. God bless.


Libby said...

This is unrelated to the article but You and your family have been on my heart. Just wanted to know how things are going.

michigan preacher said...

Thank you for asking. Keep us in prayer. We aren't doing very well, at least financially. We pretty far behind. I hate to mention that, because God is taking care of us. But we are praising the Lord because we just found out that we are expecting again. Things are hard, but God is good. Please pray that God opens up a better job for me. I simply don't make enough to make ends meet. Thanks to you and Darrell for your prayers. God bless.

Libby said...

Congratulations on the new little one. God bless.

michigan preacher said...

Thanks. Our house is getting quite full!