Serving With His Staff

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

Last week, those words of Scripture closed out our time with Moses. Moses set off on his return trip to Egypt. The purpose of the trip was God-ordained.

At the burning bush (that did not burn), God told Moses
. . .
“So now, go.  I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”  (Exodus 3:10)
With such a daunting assignment, Moses dared not proceed to Egypt without the symbol of God’s blessing and power – the staff of God.
“The idea is not that we do work for God, but that we are so loyal to Him that He can do His work through us.”  (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
Staff in hand, Moses leads the crowd of freed slaves out of Egypt.  They head East and soon Pharaoh changes his mind and pursues.
10 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. 11 They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”
13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”   (Exodus 14:10-14 NIV)

Flannery O’Connor wrote that,

“Faith is what you have in the absence of knowledge.”

That kind of faith was needed in this situation.  The Egyptian army pressed down on them and they were at a dead-end.  At this vulnerable and seemingly helpless time, what is the word of God through Moses to the people?
“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
Exodus 14:14 (NIV)
After crossing the Sea, their moments forcing trust and faith in God were not over.
The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.”
10 So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. 11 As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 12 When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. 13 So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.  (Exodus 17:8-13 NIV)

Now we see God at work in the symbol of His power on the hill – the staff uplifted; the people had to fight.

Walter Kaiser writes,
“Both elements were to be operating:  (1) the sword in Joshua’s hand and (2) the staff in Moses’ hand.  Once again divine sovereignty and human responsibility were linked in carrying out the will of God.”  (Expositors, p 408)

Have you allowed your service to point to God as He strengthens your efforts? 

What is He calling you to do?  Are you called to . . .

trust, yield, walk, or fight . . . or . . . something else?

God could have used any person to rescue His people.  Yet, in His sovereignty, He chose Moses, the shepherd with staff in hand.  When God chooses you, the requirement is not qualification but rather obedience and willingness to serve.  It will amaze you what He will do in and through you. 

Last week I challenged you to throw down your staff and surrender it to God.  This week I challenge you to pick up the staff of God and set out to serve Him with it in hand.

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