Summary: When God needs a tool for service, He uses common tools.


“Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. Then Moses said, ‘I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.’ So when the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, ‘Moses, Moses!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ Then He said, ‘Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.’ Moreover He said, ‘I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God. And the LORD said: ‘I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt’” (Ex. 3:1-7, 10).


1. When God needs a tool for service, he uses common tools. “Moses a shepherd” and “what is in thine hand?” (4:2) a shepherd’s rod. God doesn’t use worldly manufactured tools; He prefers to hone His own out of rough elements.

2. God didn’t use the golden scepter that was Moses’ inheritance, God made the shepherd’s staff into the rod of God (4:20).

3. The rod was used to protect or kill (?) the slave master, drive away the bully harassing Jethro’s daughters (2:16-20), kill snakes, protect sheep . . .

4. Faith is obedience to God’s word. “Cast it on the ground” (4:3). God demanded absolute obedience. “Pick it up” (4:4).

5. The serpent was the central object in Egyptian temple worship. Is this a sign that the central object of pagan worship would become a tool in God’s hand?

6. Obedience involved a simple act that was dangerous and ridiculous.

7. Moses used the rod to defeat Egypt, not a conqueror’s sword (7:9, 20; 8:5, 16; 9:23; 10:13; 14:16). The rod of God turned the Nile into blood, opened the Red Sea, brought water out of a rock and defeated the army of Amalek.

8. When God’s authority is misused, the rod/serpent bit Moses. When told to speak to the rock, Moses hit the rock. As a result He never entered the Promised Land (Numbers 20:7-13).

Other Things God Used

Shamgar’s ox goad, David’s sling shot, Gideon’s pitcher, Barak’s ram’s horn, a common manger, 5 loaves and 2 fish, an old rugged cross.

9. Moses’ symbol of authority was a bent, gnarled and scarred piece of wood that had been used many years in service. He didn’t walk to see Pharaoh with a sword or scepter – a king’s authority – but authority shaped in the common place.

10. No human leader is perfect, but arrives in ministry with all kinds of scars. God can strike a straight blow with a crocked stick.

11. Moses didn’t dress or act like the others following Pharaoh, but he was conspicuous and out-of-place. His authority was in the God of the shepherd staff. God wants leaders not followers.

12. A second thing God told Moses, “Put thine hand into thy bosom . . . behold, his hand was leprous” (4:6). God can heal the leprosy of sin, and God can forgive Moses’ act of murder.

13. Every leader needs a desert experience. God used 40 years in the desert to change Moses. “We have this treasure in earthen vessels (clay pots) that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us” (2 Cor. 4:7).

14. Moses never hung his head in shame over past sin. God can change a murderer’s heart as easily as He can change a serpent into a shepherd’s rod.

15. When Moses left the burning bush, he was a man under authority. “I will send thee to Pharaoh . . . bring forth my people . . . out of Egypt”

(Ex. 3:10) but He also had the rod; God’s authority.

16. God honor’s simple things done for Him. The person must do what needs to be done, pay the price regardless of the cost, put his hand to the plough and not turn back.

17. The one who constantly wishes for better circumstance, seldom achieves spiritual authority. Personal big dreams for ourselves block our accomplishing what God demands.

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