Moses was shepherd, tending the flock of his father-in-law Jethro. He has been living such a life for 40 years when the Lord suddenly appeared before him in a burning bush. God spoke to him, and called him to serve Him.
7 The LORD said, "I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering.
8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey....
9 And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them.
10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt."
Moses was unprepared for this. He felt he was not capable enough for it. He argues with God. In the midst of these interchanges, Moses said (Exod 4:1): "What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ’The LORD did not appear to you’?"
Moses was a man struggling to trust God. He worries that God might have made a mistake in choosing him. And so he looked at all the possible problems. WHAT IF...
We struggle with that... what if this did not work, what if that failed to work, what if they got angry when I share Christ, and the list goes on.
Many times, this WHAT IFs are not real but it kills our faith in God. Does God know what will happened? Yes. In fact, in the conversation with Moses, God revealed His knowledge of things to come.
· v.12 - God knows they will eventually come out and worship Him on this mountain (Horeb), where He was speaking with Moses.
· v.18 - ’cos Moses was worried whether the Israelites will listen to him (v.13) God told him "the elders of Israel will listen to you..."
· v.19 - God even told him that "the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him."
· v.20 - after all the wonders I will perform, "he will let you go."
When God calls us, He will provide the resources, because it is His work. Whatever task we are doing in church, whatever ministry, we are His servant, doing His work. It is not our work. Psalm 127:1 "Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labour in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain."
And then we see God assuring Moses... not with one but 3 miracles. He asked Moses a question I want to ask you today, "What is that in your hand?"
For Moses, it was his staff - an ordinary shepherd staff which he might have used for the past 40 years. God told him to throw it down and when Moses did, it turned into a snake. The bible says, Moses ran from it. Naturally.
Then God told Moses to pick the snake up by the tail. We know we 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 staff.
Moses experienced the trustworthiness of God’s Word. What God says is true and will come true. Moses experienced that personally. God is helping him grow in his faith.
And we see God working miracles with what is in Moses’ hand. It was just an ordinary staff that he might have used for many years, shepherding the flock. God asked him to offer it up and God manifested His power.
Look what God has done with this staff:
God used Moses and that staff to get the people out of Egypt.
• With the staff, 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 gnats (8:16),
• stretched it toward heaven to bring down fire, thunder, and hail (9:23),
• brought a plague of locust (10:13),
• divided the Red Sea (14:16),
• struck a rock with it and got water (17:6)
• and when he held it high in the air, his warriors prevailed in battle (17:9).
And what is that thing - Moses called it "a staff!"
If we look at the staff today it would look the same as any ordinary shepherd staff. But placed in God’s hands it was used to do the miraculous.
So, what do you have in your hand?
· Miriam (Moses’ sister) had in her hand a tambourine, and she used it to lead the people to praise God after crossing Red Sea. So what do you have in your hand?
· David had a sling in his hand, and the giant Goliath fell when he used it. So what do you have in your hand?
· All the widow had was enough food for one more meal for her and her son, but she offer it up for God’s prophet Elijah first and God feeds her family and the prophet throughout the famine. So, what do you have in your hand?
· All the little boy had was a sack lunch, but Jesus used it to feed 5000. What if the boy had held on to his lunch? Will thousands be blessed? So, what do you have in your hand?
· All that Mary of Bethany had was a jar of precious perfume (Matt 26:7-13). Her offering became a blessing to Jesus and a lesson to all generations to come. Jesus praised her and said her act will be remembered wherever the Gospel is preached throughout the world. So, what do you have in your hand?
· Two copper coins were all that the poor widow had in her hands. God honours it and it was precious to Jesus. So, what do you have in your hand?
God can do great things today with what we have. Notice something:
§ God cannot use anything we’ve got until we let go of it. He will not force us to give up anything, but when we willingly offer it to Him, He can do great things with it.
§ God did not ask Moses to use something he does not have. God uses what we have, and has never demanded from us what we do not have.
We will never know the full potential of what can be done until or unless we are willing to offer it to God... Our corruptible wealth can bring eternal consequences. In the hands of man, this staff is just a rod. In God’s hand, this staff "can perform miraculous signs" (v.17); God reminded him to take the staff with him.
Whether you are educated or not, rich or poor, young or old... does not really matter. What do you have? Offer it to God. None of us have the same things, but all of us have something that can be used of God - time... knowledge, skills, talents, gifts, etc. God can accomplish great things through us.
God did not expect Moses to be perfect. He has his weaknesses... he has to learn to be a leader. Jethro, his father-in-law has to teach me to delegate his work. In his weakness he strike the rock twice when God said he was to speak to it.
But God is not looking at abilities. He is looking for availability - whether we are willing to serve Him. When we do, God’s purposes will be fulfilled and we’ll bring blessings to millions of people.
Following Christ, participating in the purpose of God, being used by God begins now. You need not become better; you need not develop perfect skills; you do not have to know all the answers to life’s hard questions, not even all of your own answers. God accepts you as you are and begins to use you where you are... NOW.
God loves you. He sent His only Son Jesus to look for you. We are supposed to live in fellowship with God who made us. When you know Him, you’ll love him and you’ll want to serve Him. God has a wonderful plan for your life. But you need to believe in Jesus today. He came, He died and rose again to life... all for your sake, so that we can be reconciled with God, who is our heavenly Father. Accept Jesus as your Saviour today, and you will have an abundant life.