Holy Ground | Exodus 3

Welcome to Real Life. Where do we find holy ground?

Pochvalen bud Pan Jezis Kristus! 

“Praised be Jesus Christ!” my father would proclaim in Slovak as he entered our childhood home.

Na veky vekov. “For ever and ever,” we replied.

“Amen!” he concluded. So be it!


Nowadays, upon entering our house, we remove our shoes. Our home is our sanctuary. It is an intimate, private space and not a common thoroughfare. Some cultures consider this an act of respect.

“Take off your sandals,” the Lord told Moses, “for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”

At the time, the Israelites were cruelly oppressed as slaves to the Egyptians. “Save us!” God’s people cried. God heard. He cared. He chose Moses to deliver them. One problem. Moses didn’t know God. So, God introduced himself. He manifested in a bush aflame, yet not consumed.

As Moses drew near to investigate, the Lord called out, “Take off your sandals.” Moses was standing on holy ground. He was not in church. He stood on a mountainside. The day before, the place was not holy. However, in that moment, God's presence transformed the place where Moses stood into holy ground.

“I’m sending you to bring my people out of Egypt,” the Lord told Moses.

“Who should I say sent me? What’s your name?” Moses asked.

“I am who I am.” 

I am. I exist. I am here. God is real, present, and active in our world and in our lives. This spiritual reality, however, is often veiled. That is, until we acknowledge, invite, and proclaim his presence. Then, the veil lifts. The place transforms into holy ground.

Traditionally, we sense God’s nearness in church. And rightly so. For we set aside this location to seek, acknowledge, and praise our God. However, holy ground is not limited to a church sanctuary.

This morning, praying at my desk, I took off my slippers. God’s presence transformed a common place—my well-worn desk—into holy ground. I am. When my father entered our home with God’s praise on his lips, a common dwelling transformed into holy ground. I am. Driving down the freeway, belting out praise to my Lord, my humble Kia transforms into holy ground. I am. God inhabits the praise of his people.[1]

God's presence not only transforms the space. He transforms us! Just as mild-mannered Clark Kent became Superman, Moses changed from disgraced desert nomad to Powerhouse Prophet-Deliverer. But even better, Moses became a friend of God.

God is the friend our souls long for. In his holy presence, we find significance. We are seen, known, and fully loved. We are forgiven and clean. Fear wilts. Joy blooms. We discover our purpose and the passion to live it. The horizon stretches endlessly before us. Everything is possible!

Wherever we go—home, school, work—whenever we pray, praise, and acknowledge our Lord, his presence transforms the common. Not just the place, he transforms us. Slip off those shoes. We’re on holy ground! 

Dear Lord God,
We praise your holy name!
You are God, there is no other.
You are real and present with us in this moment.
Transform the common,
Both us and the space we occupy.
We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Take it further…
  • Read the account of God's introduction to Moses in Exodus 3.
  • Welcome God’s presence with praise: “10,000 Reasons” by Matt Redman. 
[1] Psalm 22:3
Image 1: St. John's Cathedral, Cleveland, Ohio


  1. I wonder if we remove our shoes to signify there should be nothing between our bodies and the holy ground. As in...I wonder why removal of the shoes is how we show reverence (other than the OT reference). Great post!

    1. Wow! What a perceptive thought, Kelly! I always thought we remove shoes so as not to defile the holy ground with dirt/road dust. I love the idea of closer contact. Thanks for sharing it.

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