"Then the Lord said to him, 'Take off your sandals; the place where you are standing is holy ground.'"
If someone told you to do something -- what would determine whether or not you took it as a recommendation, advice or an order? For me the determining factors would include the person's authority, knowledge, maturity, experience, and perspective. For example, what if Amanda (my six year old daughter) were to give me directions on how to get to a friend's house -- who lived miles away -- I might want to call the parent to get directions before starting. What if instead of a child, it was a police officer; or while boating it was the Coast Guard; or a boss at work? Clearly, my acknowledgement of the order giver's authority would determine and influence my decision to follow direction -- and whether or not I took it as a recommendation, advice or an order.
This first order of God's to Moses -- "take off your sandals; the place where you are standing is holy ground" -- was a test. It was the beginning step of obedience -- the first building block to following God in difficult things -- follow God in something simple by acknowledging the authority and majesty of God.
The further and deeper meaning in this order to -- "take off your sandals" -- was symbolic: "Remove the world's influence or insulation (the sandals) from our relationship."
So in summary, I think these are the two distinct points to observe:
* First -- have the proper "respect" by removing your sandals;
* Second -- have the proper "perspective" -- don't let anything get in the way of your relationship with the Lord (not work, ambition, insecurity, money, family, friends, etc).
What is getting in the way of your relationship with God? Do you not have the proper respect? Are you acknowledging God's authority? What influences are hurting your relationship? What do you need to remove?