by John Fischer
“What do you have there in your hand?” (Exodus 4:2)
Anyone familiar with the calling of Moses by God to be the one to free his people from Egypt knows that calling took place amidst a long litany of excuses and objections on Moses’ part. It is such a human story full of excuses, insecurity and fear.
“But who am I to appear before Pharaoh?” (Exodus 3:11)
“How do you expect me to lead the Israelites out of Egypt?” (3:11)
“They won’t believe me.” (3:13; 4:1)
“O Lord… I’m clumsy with my words.” (4:10)
“Lord, please! Send someone else.” (4:13)
Any of these sound familiar? It’s hard to believe that with this feeble beginning, God turned Moses into one of his greatest leaders. It just goes to show that serving God doesn’t depend on great things from us; it depends on our availability to a great God.
This has been God’s strategy from the beginning – to pick ordinary, fallible people like you and me, and do great things through them by faith. I don’t know how we miss this so often, but we do. The Old Testament is riddled with people like this. We often think that we could never be like other people God is using mightily, when, if truth were known, they probably feel just as insecure as we do. Greatness, in God’s book, is not a measure of our natural abilities as much as it is a measure of our courage to believe God is with us in our weakness.
Still, God will use what we offer of ourselves, but only after we give it over to Him. I believe that is what the shepherd’s staff Moses carried around represented – something Moses had been leaning on all his life. God asked him to throw it on the ground and when he did, it immediately turned into a serpent. Then He told him to pick it up again (that would have been the hardest part!) and it turned back into a staff. (This little trick would later come in very handy when Moses was tested by Pharaoh and his magicians.)
When we give up what we have in our hand – the few things we do have that we have come to trust – then God can turn even these things into something He can use for His purposes. He can start the miracle.
What’s in your hand? What have you been leaning on all these years? Is it a natural ability? Is it a drug? Is it something you’re good at? Is it your reputation (or lack of one)? Is it your excuse or excuses (I’ve got lots of those)? Throw it down. Whatever it is, throw it down. It will most likely turn into something scary that God will ask you to pick back up, but that’s where the miracle begins.
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