Summary: God’s question to Moses regarding the staff. This sermon focuses on "Little is much when God is in it."
It happened several times a week, almost without fail. Whether they lined up against the wall of the gymnasium, the local ice rink or the snow bank for the back-roads hockey, it was always the same.
He got picked last.
Last for basketball because he was too clumsy; in hockey he was not coordinated; Baseball - he couldn’t swing a bat never mind hit the ball.
If just once in a while he could be the second or third last person picked but it never happened. He stood alone, and finally he ended up on a team by default, rushing to the team’s side before his eyes broke with a flood of tears in response to the embarrassing experience of being last yet again.
All too many people have experienced similar type realities in adolescence or young adulthood. It wouldn’t be so bad if the experience faded into the background. That seldom happens though. It generally carries into adulthood and well through most of life so that she’s always the last one picked; he’s the last one recognized; the last one asked; or so it seems.
Sometimes we feel “little” (e.g. insignificant) because we have “little” to offer. No matter how gifted we are there is the all-too-frequent tendency to idolize another person who seems more talented and confident. It can consume us to the point that we are so busy focusing on what we would like to be, we fail to recognize how wonderful we are.
If you have been where I’m talking about, there is good news for you – Moses was there! You mean that man who saw a burning bush, heard the voice of God, saw the face of God, and was radiantly transformed with the glory of God? That Moses?! YES to all of the above!
The adopted son of Pharaoh who killed an Egyptian and fled for his life, spending forty years in a desert looking after stinky, smelly, stupid sheep, has a one-on-one with the Almighty! The Prince of Egypt who became the prince of a desert would become a prince among men for God!
This would not come without its challenges however. When God outlined the plan He had for restoring His nation through His dejected chosen leader, Moses was concerned about the people not trusting or embracing his leadership, an issue that God takes very seriously in satisfying Moses about His call and position in it. God acknowledged the challenge of peoples’ slowness to follow and obey (verses 8-9)…
When God calls you to a task He is open to the same dialogue for consultation and confirmation.
We begin @ this point, where Moses was feeling
Moses’ reality - from a scepter of authority to a staff to govern docile animals
E.g. House of Commons – the Mace before Parliamentary process. (SLIDE) “The Mace symbolises the authority of the House of Commons. It is a sign that the King or Queen has given the House of Commons the authority to meet and decide on the laws which govern the country.” (Library of Parliament August 2001)
Scepters – symbols of authority and ruling power. Moses’ doubts and inadequacies would be addressed by God so he would know that what he held in his hand, when surrendered to God, would be a scepter of power and authority.
Verse 2 - “What do you have there in your hand? – “A shepherd’s staff.” - the symbol of his failure, disgrace – I imagine him handling it many times and for a moment he would remember the scepter of authority of Egypt and catch the glint of the sun as it moved in his hand.
I can almost hear Moses: “Great way to start things off there God. Remind me of the painful past. Throw up the ugly truth and watch me throw up my regret, disgust and shame. You force me to face what I am, against what I use to be.”
This step was necessary though. If Moses was to accomplish anything great for God, step one was dealing with the past.
One of the most powerful weapons in Satan’s arsenal is regret for past sins and failure.
Had he messed things up? For sure. More than once? Without a doubt. Should he expect to mess up again? Who doesn’t? But God wanted him to see past all that and realize he was liberated and empowered because he recognized his inadequacy and shortcomings!
When we realize we can’t it is then we lean on that Someone who can!
First, Moses had to face his “staff” issues – perception that people would not listen; if people won’t listen then I doubt God’s ability; I have a speech impediment; I tried before and failed (how familiar is that!)
Some would suggest Moses had low self-esteem issues. Our society is so adamant about putting ourselves on pedestals where we don’t belong that we fail to see the truth about who we are. Because we don’t face that truth in the name of self-esteem, God is restricted in his ability to make us effective and useful because sin hasn’t been dealt with. We’ve handled it by thinking as the world thinks which is finding a way to justify it by redefining it. We live the lie to which John warns us in his first epistle 1:8, If we say we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and refusing to accept the truth.