Moses is out shepherding the flocks and God appears to him in a burning bush. God commands Moses to remove his sandals, calling the place where He has appeared holy ground. In his pronouncement from the midst of the never-consuming fire, I feel a sense of holiness that is not characteristic of any worldly thing. Moses feels it and hides his face. He is ashamed to meet God face-to-face. Yet, despite Moses’s shame, God invites him onto holy ground. The imagery is powerful. Holy God invites unholy people into His presence without consuming them with the fire of His wrath. Such is true for all those He has chosen.
God has seen the affliction of His chosen nation in Egypt and has “come down” in order to deliver them from the land into the promised land, the land promised to Abraham in Genesis 12 and 15. While God’s chosen people, despite their shame, will not incur His wrath in judgment. His enemies, here the Egyptians, will. Just as with Sodom and Gomorrah, God’s “coming down” is a statement of impending judgment upon a nation. The New Testament uses this prophetic language to pronounce God’s judgment on Jerusalem—though many often miss the meaning because they do not know that New Testament authors are employing Old Testament language to pronounce judgment and not necessarily the second coming of Christ in glory. Here it is in the Old Testament. God “comes down” to judge.
Not only do we take comfort in the fact that God intentionally and intimately takes notice when we feel oppressed or are in the heat of tribulation but also in the fact that God judges oppressors and “comes down” against them. He does so in His own timing according to His perfect plan. So, we take courage.