When God called out to Moses from the burning bush, Moses “was keeping the flock of his father-in-law.”1 It was here that God told Moses to go back to Egypt and lead the Israelites out of their bondage. But Moses had his doubts about the mission. He answered God with, “Who am I?”2 and then proceeded to have a lengthy discussion with God regarding his qualifications. Finally, God asked Moses this very important question: “What is that in your hand?” 3 It probably seemed like an irrelevant question to Moses and perhaps to humor God, “he said, ‘A staff.’”3 And God instructed Moses to throw it on the ground. I imagine Moses might have rolled his eyes 🙄 and perhaps again to humor God “he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent, and Moses ran from it.”4 That part makes me laugh! 😁
Moses had been walking with that staff for 40 years. He used it for guiding the sheep, and he used it to keep his feet steady on the rugged terrain. Now, with God’s command, the staff was no longer just a staff! And it scared him. But God told him to reach out and “catch it by the tail—so he put out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand.”5 But I imagine he did it with fear and trembling! 😯
From that moment on, however, Moses’ staff became a very powerful tool, one which he would use for the next 40 years—not to guide sheep—but to guide the Israelites to the promised land. The original intent of the staff was transformed to achieve something much greater. God had a divine purpose for that staff.
The same is true of us. God will use whatever is in our hands to perform incredible things for his glory. And so, I think we need to pause here and ask ourselves the question: “What is that in your hand?”
And, oh my! 😯 As I write those words and look at what is in my hand, I can hardly believe what I see: I have a cane . . . an actual cane 😯 . . . that looks very much like a staff! 😲 . . . that I am walking with as a result of a recent car accident! I have incurred significant damage to my knee, and I now require the assistance of a cane to simply get around. And I must admit that I have been . . . 😒 well . . . let’s just say that I have not been happy with my cane. But here it is. In my hand.
So. I must repeat (primarily for myself) that God gave Moses a staff for a reason. We, therefore, must conclude that what is in our hands is also there for a reason. And at some point in our lives, God might give us the same instructions—to throw it down (at his feet) and then pick it back up again (though trembling) and see what God can do with it. Whatever we find in our hands—whether temporary (as in my case) or familiar (as in Moses’ case), God can use it. Whatever we find in our hands—whether something we cherish (as in Moses’ case) or something we despise (as in my case), God can use it.
Scripture is full of stories where God uses whatever is in the hands of his servants to achieve miraculous things—a trumpet for Gideon, a slingshot for David, a donkey’s jawbone for Samson, five loaves of bread for the disciples. These things all seemed quite ordinary until God declared, Not anymore! 😉
So, the question remains. “What is that in your hand?” 😏
1Exodus 3:1 2Exodus 3:11 3Exodus 4:2 4Exodus 4:3 5Exodus 4:4