Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert…
1. The whole earth is holy ground, because here God's perfections are everywhere so conspicuously displayed. Wherever I go or stay, I will think that Jesus has lived upon the earth, and that nowhere, in thought or in deed, can I sin where it is not holy ground. Besides, in the lives of every single one of us have there been holy experiences, and we have single spots on the earth's surface, which make for us the whole earth holy. Either that place is most holy to us where we first saw the light, or where our ancestors dwell or have dwelt, or where the years of our childhood glided joyously by; can we see it again, visit it, without tears in our eyes and thanks in our hearts; without looking up to heaven? Is not that place holy to us, where the most important earthly relations were formed; where we found a partner for life in marriage? Is not that place holy to us, where we experienced some good fortune we had longed for, sent to us by the Giver of all good; deliverance from danger, the safe return of relatives and friends? Alone wandered Jacob through a wild pathless waste. In weariness and grief he closed his eyes. But how completely was he comforted by the vision of that ladder let down from heaven, and of his Lord speaking to him in accents of blessing! Holy to him was that place! And should not that place be holy to us where the Lord, faithful, earnest, ay, severe, appeared to us in the purifying flame of affliction? These places we think of, as though the events connected with them happened of themselves. Shall we not remember that God is over all, and that He is near in joy and sorrow; in danger, which He allows, but out of which He delivers us? If we do this, earth will more and more become to us holy ground, the very gate of heaven; and more and more holy will be our lives from the constant feeling of God's nearness and presence.
2. The earth is holy ground, because God is worshipped upon it. As God revealed Himself to man from the beginning, there never has been a period when some of His creatures, however small the number, have not known and worshipped Him aright. The patriarchs builded altars to Him and called on His holy name. Few and small, at first, were these streams of the knowledge and the worship of God. Behold, how mightily He has extended them I And the time will come, He confidently awaits it, when the knowledge of the Lord will fill the earth, as the waters fill the sea. Perfect in heaven stands the Kingdom of God, to which our race after a long pilgrimage will attain. But because of our high destination holy is the earth on which we have journeyed thither. And is not our fatherland holy ground? Yes, so we proclaim it: and that without comparing it with any other land, Yes, ye children, holy is your home, because of the edifying life of your parents. Yes, ye residents of this city, there is within the enclosure of your own walls, outside of the churches where God is worshipped, many a spot, upon which He approvingly smiles. Look, then, at this: this earth on which you dwell and walk, is a holy place. It is so because of the worship of God; because of the faith and piety which have been displayed upon it. Recognize this fact, and let it inspire you with fervent enthusiasm, or with wholesome reverence; this earth can be made holy or profane by yourselves.
3. The earth is holy ground, because of what daily transpires upon it, and because of what will yet transpire upon it, intimately linking it to the world of spirits. What is more frequent than birth and death? Not less holy than birth is death itself.
(J. E. Rankin.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.