Moses was tending sheep when God called to him from the burning bush, commanding him: "Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground" (Exodus 3:5).
Holy ground is not a physical place, but a spiritual one. When God commanded Moses to take off his shoes because he was on holy ground, he was not referring to a two-by-four piece of real estate—he was talking about a spiritual state. A holy God must have a holy man on holy ground; in fact, God can't use a man until he gets him on holy ground.
The place was holy! What place? The place was the spiritual condition Moses had finally come to, a place in his growth where God could get through to him. He was finally at the place of reception, ready to listen, mature enough to be willing to respond to the dealing of a holy God.
Please don't think for a moment that Moses alone was on holy ground. So was all of Israel, even though they were at the end of their hope. I have never believed God would keep an entire nation under slavery just to give Moses time to mature into a gracious leader. Our Lord is no respecter of persons. God, in those forty trying years, was preparing Israel as well as Moses. By way of loving judgment, the Lord was driving Israel back to holy ground—back to a hunger for Jehovah.
While Moses was on the mountain being stripped of all his rights—because that is what was meant by the removal of his shoes—Israel was in the valley being stripped of all human strength. Moses would have no rights; Israel would have no strength. God could prove himself strong on their behalf in no other way. The great I AM was being revealed!
We will have to go the same route to usefulness. That is, stripping of all self-pride and self-confidence.