Surrender Your Staff

In the hands of Linus, a blanket strengthens, assures and comforts.  In the hands of Jordan Spieth, a golf club connects, lifts and directs.  In the hands of Moses, a staff declares, stuns and signifies.

I invite you, over the next three weeks, to explore “The Tale of Moses and His Staff.”

If a picture of Moses resides in your head, it probably displays the leader holding either stone tablets or a staff.  Let us focus on that staff

Near the beginning of the Old Testament book of Exodus, we find Moses, the refugee, “alone with his sheep in [a] desolate wilderness.”  (Nahum Sarna, Exploring Exodus, p 39)  There, while demonstrating His power and control by setting ablaze a bush that did not burn, God speaks to Moses.  God reveals His plan and details the facts of events to come that will free the Israelite people from the hands of Egypt.
After seeing this miracle and hearing God’s plan, how do you think Moses responded to God?
Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?”  (Exodus 4:1 NIV)

“What if they don’t believe me?”

Have you asked a question like that?

  • What if they don’t like me?
  • What if I look like a fool?
  • Why don’t you use someone better?
  • Why me?
  • What do I have to offer?

Far too often, when God calls, we succumb to self-doubt or fear, or a mixture of both.  If you will rewind with me, it is important to note some of the words that God spoke to Moses during the bush experience.
“The elders of Israel will listen to you.”  (Exodus 3:18a NIV)

God already answered Moses’ doubt before he asked!

Moses heard a word from God, yet he did not believe that word enough to trust. 

In honesty, we must admit that we do the same.  Recall with me, the myriad of promises from God that we find in Scripture which we doubt.

For Moses’ sake and for ours, I am glad that God extends His grace and answers our doubts rather than turning a deaf ear.  Listen to His response to Moses.

Then the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?”
“A staff,” he replied.
The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.”
Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. Then the Lord said to him, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.” So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand. “This,” said the Lord, “is so that they may 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 4:2-5 NIV)
At the beginning of this divine conversation between the Creator and a shepherd, I am sure that Moses was thoroughly confused.  He might have said (to himself, of course), “'What is that in your hand?’  What kind of question is that?!” 

At first glance, it appears that God was trying to change the subject.

Quite the opposite, however.  God addresses the doubt head-on and provides Moses with a faith-booster.

God instructs Moses, the shepherd, to take his simple, yet only, tool of trade and throw it to the ground. 

What is that in your hand
What tool, talent, skill, gift, passion, or ability do you hold that God wants to use?  Explore that in prayer this week.  Can you identify the staff in your hand?  Do you recognize your staff’s potential to impact the lives of other people to the glory of God?  Discover your staff.

Compare two phrases with me.
Exodus 4:2b – “’A staff’ (Moses) replied.”

Exodus 4:20b – “And (Moses) took the staff of God in his hand.”

Something extraordinary occurred!  What happened?  Nothing in the staff’s material composition changed.  Yet, a staff once known as “a staff” became “the staff of God.”

Today’s challenge is for you to identify the staff in your hand so that you can throw it down and surrender it to God.
  For it to be of any lasting good, you must throw it down; you must throw it down!  Throw it down!

If you have been following my blog for a while, you may remember my post from May 24th when I referenced the American Women’s Bible, released this year by Thomas Nelson Publishers.  They have provided me with an extra copy to give away.  Share this blog post on Facebook and/or LinkedIn for a chance to receive this Bible. 

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