© COPYRIGHT Connie Giordano - All Rights Reserved|
Let The Shoe Bring Us To Our Senses
"Put off thy shoes from thy feet. Enter not upon sacred things with low, and cold, and common thoughts. Keep thy foot. Be not hasty and rash in thy approaches to God; tread softly." - Matthew Henry
In our efforts to become familiar with the Living Son of God, have we taken on an attitude of contempt through our familiarity?
Are we guilty of being "hasty and rash" in our approaches to Him?
In our efforts to bring Him down to our level, have we forgotten who He really is?
Has our "chumminess" stripped Him of His due Reverence and Fear?
In this message, we would like to use the topic of the shoe or sandal - the common footwear of Bible days - to bring us back, if need be, to a right perspective of the Resurrected Christ.
According to the Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary, the shoe or sandal was considered to be the lowliest article of clothing worn by the people of Bible lands. The shoe consisted of soft leather, while the sandal - because it was constructed for rougher wear or everyday use - consisted of harder leather.
The soles of either were made up of wood, cane, or even the bark of a palm tree which was then fastened to leather by nails. They were bound by tongs and worn by tying the attached tongs or shoelatchets round the foot and ankle.
A pair of shoes came to signify anything that was worthless or of little value. The following Scriptures attest to that fact -
Genesis 14:23 says - "That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich."
Amos 2:6 says - "Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they sold the righteous for silver, and the poor for a pair of shoes."
Amos 8:6 says - "That we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes; yea, and sell the refuse of the wheat?"
"A thread even to a shoelatchet" signified the smallest portion of property. Abram told the King of Sodom - who was offering him all of the spoils from the battle with the confederate kings - that he would accept nothing - not even the least thing such as a "shoelatchet."
"Because they sold...the poor for a pair of shoes" - Here we see a picture of the contempt for mankind who were made in the very image of God. We also see the judgment of the Almighty swiftly falling upon a people who sold the "poor" and needy man for the trivial or worthless price of "a pair of shoes" or sandals.
"That we may buy...the needy for a pair of shoes" - The services of a poor and afflicted man were bought for the slight price of "a pair of shoes."
It was an acceptable practice among the people to put off their shoes when entering a home and to put them back on when leaving it. To unloose and bind on the sandals of guests or of the various Masters was the business of the lowest of servants or vilest of slaves.
Hence, we read of John's posture before the Living Son of God -
Matthew 3:11 says - "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear..."
Mark 1:7 says - "And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose."
John 1:27 says - "He it is, Who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose."
Acts 13:25 says - "And as John fulfilled his course, he said, Whom think ye that I am? I am not He. But, behold, there cometh One after me, whose shoes of His feet I am not worthy to loose."
"whose shoes I am not worthy to bear..." - This is expressive of the most profound humility.
"the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose." - Here John verbalized his feelings that he didn't consider himself worthy enough to be counted as one of the meanest of servants of the Lord Jesus in even helping Him on and off with His shoes.
"whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose." - He felt that he was unworthy of the lowest office of being a slave to Christ.
"whose shoes of His feet I am not worthy to loose." - He attests that he is not worthy to perform the humblest task for his Lord.
Oh! Where is such a display of Humility to be found in our Christian churches of today?
What have we lost in our attempt to become familiar with the Son of God?
Into what paths of arrogancy, humanism, and vanity have some so-called Preachers led us?
Have we forgotten Who the Lord Jesus really is?
Have we forgotten who we are in comparison to Him?
John the Baptist repeatedly witnessed to the Greatness of the Living Christ -
Matthew 3:11 says - "...but He that cometh after me is mightier than I..."
Mark 1:7 says - "...There cometh One mightier than I after me..."
John 1:27 says - "He it is, Who coming after me is preferred before me..."
Acts 13:25 says - "...Whom think ye that I am? I am not He. But, behold, there cometh One after me..."
This Jesus - Whom John preached - "is mightier" and "preferred" before us. He was, is, and always will be. It is our job to always point people to Him and not to ourselves. We must never, ever, ever bring Him down to our level so that we can relate to Him.
Beware of such Phony Preachers - who fill the Christian Bookstores with their Best Sellers - while feverishly trying to bring God down to the level where we can relate to Him on a friendlier basis.
Pay special attention to what John is saying here.
This Jesus is "Mightier." He is the "Preferred One." Even though He was physically born after John, He was "before" him. He and He alone is the Eternal and Immortal One. We always will remain the mortal ones.
May we never, ever lose our Holy Ghost-inspired perspective of Him and our sight of Who He really is and who we are in comparison! May we never tolerate any False Prophet - stripping Him of His dignity, Excellency, and Preeminence in our midst.
This is the One Whom Moses and Joshua encountered face-to-face. Note their similar reactions -
Exodus 3:5 says - "And He said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground."
Acts 7:33 says - "Then said the Lord to him, Put off thy shoes from thy feet: for the place where thou standest is holy ground."
Remember we said that it was an acceptable practice to take off one's shoes when entering a home. Among the ancients, no one was especially permitted to enter the temple or a holy place without first removing their shoes. This was considered as an act of reverence, respect, readiness to obey, and acknowledgment of the Divine Presence.
What made the particular ground on which Moses and Joshua were standing - "Holy"? It was sanctified, dignified, and rendered sacred by the special manifestation of the Divine Presence.
Their reaction? They immediately were commanded by Almighty God to "put off" or "loose" their shoe from off their foot as a token of respect, awe, and reverence.
Besides what was already discussed, "putting off the shoe from one's foot" was also symbolic of laying aside the pollutions contracted by walking in the midst of a sin-polluted world.
Let's examine ourselves by asking two relevant and searching questions - Are we so eager to enter into the Presence of the Lord through our Praise, Worship, or Prayer - without first taking the time to remove our "shoe," so to speak - any sin, defilement of the flesh and spirit, loose and wandering carnal thoughts, distracting cares, controlling passions and lusts, etc.?
Or do we "tread softly" - being ever so mindful of the Holy Ground on which we walk?
In closing, let's meditate on the admonition of Pastor Henry to us today - "Put off thy shoes from thy feet. Enter not upon sacred things with low, and cold, and common thoughts. Keep thy foot. Be not hasty and rash in thy approaches to God; tread softly."
Today, may God, the Holy Spirit, use the simple illustration of the "shoe" to bring us to our senses of who we are and Who the Lord Jesus will always remain - "The Mighty One of Israel" - "mightier than I."
May God Bless His Word.