Kick Off Your Shoes

Then the Commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, ‘Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.’ And Joshua did so.”—Joshua 5:15 (NKJV)

All necessary preparations had been made. The spies had been sent to scout out the Land. The Jordan had been safely and supernaturally crossed. The men had been circumcised according to their covenant with God. The Passover had been kept. On the eve of Israel’s first conquest, all was in ready . . . except one final thing.

In what we believe to be an appearance of Christ several centuries before He was incarnated (called a “Christophany”), the Lord reveals himself to Joshua in the form of a man holding a sword. Joshua approaches Him, realizes who He is, falls down to worship Him, and asks what he should do.

Notice from the above passage what the Lord commands Him to do, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.” We can’t miss the fact that Joshua’s predecessor, Moses, was given the very same command four decades earlier (Exodus 3:5). Both men were commanded by God to take off their sandals because they were in His holy presence. This reveals a couple of things to us.

First, it reveals how utterly unique God is among all else. Because He is different from everything else, we are to respond to Him differently than we do everything else. That includes taking off our sandals as a sign of respect for the sacred and special place occupied in His presence. In other words, because God is so holy and one of a kind, He is worthy of reverential treatment.

But it also shows us that God didn’t want there to be any barrier between His presence and His people. How it must have felt for Joshua to know that the soles of his feet were in direct contact with the ground that radiated with God’s holiness! How incredibly intimate! And that is just how God wants it to be with His people, He wants them to feel His touch and know that nothing is between Him and them.

No doubt, this experience had a grounding effect on Joshua, literally! Because it was an unforgettable reminder of God’s glorious greatness and that this same God was with Him. Those are two things you want to know before going into battle!

As we enter into our own spiritual battles, we can be grounded in the same assurances. Our God is utterly unique and greater than all else in this life so He is worthy of all praise, and He is in constant contact with us through the presence of His Holy Spirit who dwells inside of us.  

DIG: What did the Lord command Joshua to do?

DISCOVER: What effect did this experience have on him?

DO: How can this example also serve to ground you as a Christian?

About the Author

Pastor Dan Hickling

Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.