Sermon:
What's in your Hand
Exodus 4:1-4 NASB
Then Moses answered and said, "What if they will not believe me, or listen to what I say? For they may say, 'The Lord has not appeared to you.' " [2] And the Lord said to him, "What is that in your hand?" And he said, "A staff." [3] Then He said, "Throw it on the ground." So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it. [4] But the Lord said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand and grasp it by its tail"-- so he stretched out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand--

An exile from Egypt, Moses had adapted to the life of a nomadic shepherd watching the flock of his father-in-law. When God interrupted his mediocre existence with a special appearance, (a theophany) in a burning bush that burned but was not consumed. I often hear Christians speaking about hearing God or following God's will, but I've never heard anyone with a story like Moses' story.
The King Eternal, God Almighty spoke directly to Moses. God instructed Moses to take off his sandals because he was standing on Holy Ground. Moses listened to the direct word of God and then what did he do? He argued with God. To paraphrase his argument he said, I can't do what you're calling me to do! Though Moses didn't feel he could eloquently convince people he took a shot at arguing with God. What irony.
Have you ever noticed that God often calls us to do things we're not comfortable doing? It is a simple principle–God often wants to stretch us. We saw it on our recent mission trip to Lake Village, Arkansas. God took a stucco man, an engineer, a preacher, two Intel employees, and a couple of teenagers and had us drywall an auditorium. In the kitchen was a master teacher while our teenagers struggled to teach a classroom of unruly children.
Why? God often calls us to do something to see if we trust Him enough to obey Him, even when it doesn't make sense to us. By the way, we taught the children, cooked the meals and did the remodeling and along the way, each of us grew closer to God because we did what He told us to do!
Bottom line, God doesn't need our abilities, but He does demand our availability. He asked Moses a question I want to ask you today, "What is that in your hand?" For Moses, it was his rod. God told him to throw it down and when Moses did, it turned into a snake. Showing good judgment, Moses turned and ran. I hate snakes, don't you?
Then God told Moses to pick the snake up by the tail. Everybody knows you don't pick a snake up by the tail, instead, you grab them just below their jaws so they can't strike you. But God told Moses to grab it by the tail, and Moses followed the command of the Lord. When he did, it turned back into a Rod.
God used Moses and that Rod to get the people out of Egypt.
• With the Rod, Moses struck the Nile river and it turned to blood (7:17),
• brought a plague of frogs out of the waters (8:5),
• struck the dust and turned them into