Apr 23, 2008, 8:11 AM
When God commissioned Moses on his first assignment, He said to him: "So, now go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt," (Exodus 3:10) Moses tried his utmost to dodge by making all kinds of excuses - the kind we all make when we are not willing to do what we've been asked to do. Who am I? Who are you? What if they don't listen to me? I've never been a good speaker! I know you can find someone else! None of these excuses was going to let him off the hook anyway. It was for a time like this that God had set him apart, groomed and equipped him.
To the question "what if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, "The Lord did not appear to you?" (Exodus 4:1) God answered Moses with "What is that in your hand?" (Exodus 4:2) "A staff," Moses replied. Then God said to him: "Throw it on the ground." He did and the staff became a serpent.
"Reach out your hand and take it by the tail." (Exodus 4:4) When Moses did, the serpent became a staff again.
A staff is a useful tool for shepherds in the wild. It is some kind of support or lever when climbing mountains, the hook on its head serves as a means of reaching out to sheep in difficulty.
It can be used for fending off wild animals. Certainly Moses could never have thought it could be used to perform miracles. God did not ask Moses to use what he did not have. In fact He used what Moses had in his hand to show him the possibilities and potentials of what was already in his possession - what was immediately available.
Henceforth Moses was going to use that same staff for several operations to carry out God's assignments. That sign God said was for the elders of Israel to "believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers - the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob - has appeared to you." (Exodus 4:5)
Indeed when Moses returned to Egypt to accomplish his assignment he performed that same miracle before the elders and they believed. "And when they heard that the Lord was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshipped Him." (Exodus 4:31)
Moses' staff was intended to acknowledge him as an approved leader, chosen by God; not one that was self-made out of nothing. Remember Moses had tried unsuccessfully to solve the problems of the Children of Israel counting on his own strength and ended up committing murder and had to flee. (Exodus 2:11-15) Now apart from being commissioned what he had in his hand was going to empower him to carry out his functions without hindrance.
Moses' brother Aaron who accompanied him throughout his assignment used his staff when they had their first encounter with Pharaoh. To show that they had authority from God to undertake this mission Aaron used the staff as God had asked Moses to do and the staff became a serpent. That however was nothing to impress Pharaoh's magicians who did the same at the instant. However what made the difference is that Aaron's serpent ate up that of Pharaoh's magicians. (Exodus 7:10-12)
Moses was no ordinary messenger but a worthy one, backed by God's authority. At the end of their tribulations when they were finally released by Pharaoh to their well-earned freedom, the Children of Israel were on their way to the Promised Land when Pharaoh had a change of heart and gave chase. Confusion set in in the camp of the Children of Israel as they panicked.
Once again God asked Moses after the latter had appealed to Him for help. "Why are you crying out to me? Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground."
(Exodus 14:15-16) "Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into a dry land.
The waters were divided and the Israelites went through the sea on dry land with a wall of water on their right hand and on their left." (Exodus 14:21-22)
The staff at work, and the waters parted. What a miracle! God is asking you and me today "What is in your hand?? What has He endowed you with? God is asking us to use it subject to His command. Use the staff that He has given you to solve the problems of this world.
Never think that you are worthless, that there is no good in you. A young boy gave up what was in his hands to Jesus. That was all he had in a situation where five loaves of bread and two fish amounted to nothing. But Jesus multiplied what he offered and five thousand people were fed not counting women and children. (Matthew 14:13-21)
When in difficulty, perplexed, overwhelmed and you turn to God, listen attentively to what He has to say to you. You do not know what you have until you make it available to God to use. You do not know the worth of what you have in your hands until God uses them to glorify His holy name.
Start looking. Probably you have a pen in your hand, a shovel or a hammer, fishing net or fishing line. Those long fingers of yours could work miracles with the piano, that sweet soft voice can change the hearts of those who do not know the Lord. It is the anointing that God puts on those gifts that will make the difference. It is not our individual efforts. God can use anything if we only humble and submit ourselves to His bidding. The outcome of our obedience would be our joy.
In whatever station you operate or whatever the function you practise be assured you can be useful in that domain if only you commit it all to Jesus, the miracle-worker. We need to acknowledge Him as Lord over our lives and Lord of this universe to access the manifold blessings He wants to bless us with.
Make available the staff in your hand. God is asking what is that in your hand?