Summary: It was only with a shepherd’s staff that Moses parted the waters of a great sea, that he commanded natural disasters and demanded water from a rock. It was in the great lesson of a simple stick that when anything is given to God it wields mighty power!
“What is that in Your Hand?”
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.
The leaders picked him 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 again.
It wouldn’t be so bad if the experience faded into the background. Sadly, it 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.
People who face such experiences feel insignificant. No matter how gifted there is the all-too-frequent tendency to idolize another person who seems more talented and confident. It can consume you to the point of being so busy focusing on what you would like to be, you fail to recognize how wonderful you are.
Moses was there! The same Moses who saw a burning bush, heard the voice of God, saw the face of Yahweh, the same Moses whom God radiantly transformed.
The adopted son of Pharaoh who killed an Egyptian and fled for his life, spending forty years in a desert looking after stinky, smelly, sheep, had a one-on-one with the Almighty! The Prince of Egypt became the prince of a desert and would become a prince of God among men!
This would not come without its challenges. 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 treated seriously to help Moses trust himself and believe he could lead. God acknowledged the challenge of peoples’ slowness to follow and obey (verses 8-9)…
1. Moses felt ‘Little’
Some people tend to define their worth, value and significance through status, influence or position titles; links to “significant people” or having the corner office. There are sad stories of people who retire and feel worthless because the external factors that gave them identity don’t exist anymore.
Such was Moses’ reality – his leadership slipped from a scepter of princely authority to a crooked stick to govern docile animals – sheep no less. E.g. House of Commons – the Mace before Parliamentary process. (SLIDE) (Library of Parliament August 2001): “The Mace symbolizes 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.” We can appreciate Moses’ struggle. From his perspective the shepherd’s stick was a slip in status. Moses not only struggled with status but with value. Moses had doubts that he could do a good job.