2 Then the Lord asked him, “What is that in your hand?”
“A shepherd’s staff,” Moses replied… 20 So Moses took his wife and sons, put them on a donkey, and headed back to the land of Egypt. In his hand he carried the staff of God.
– Exodus 4:2, 20
We often tell God that we want to be used by Him, and even offer some trade-off — like an “If… then…” statement — hoping that we can just get thrown into doing some big-time, successful ministry. (God, if you just take away all my debt, all my problems, and give me just $100,000, then I will go anywhere and do anything for you! Heck, I’ll even go to New Jersey! And then I’ll save one million people!)
Moses was called by God to lead His people out of slavery. He was very reluctant, and made many excuses as to why he just could not do it. God already had His mind made up, though; and He made provisions so that no matter the excuses, there was nothing he could do but simply give-in and obey the Lord.
We see how Moses was used by God, and tell ourselves, “I would love to be used by God to do the great things Moses did!” But there are two key details we tend to easily overlook.
- Moses first lived forty years in the “backside of the desert” tending sheep.
- God used the simple things that Moses had to prove God’s power.
The times when God is doing the most work and preparation in us for His plans, and the simple things that he provides us with, are often the places and possessions that we deem the most intolerable and insignificant. The feelings of being put on the shelf, or stuck on the sidelines, or not having the necessary tools to effectively fulfill His call on our lives are all near-sighted and, well, excuses.
God asks Moses, “What do you have in your hand?” I think God knew what was in his hand — He is God, after all. God was about to take something that is associated with poverty, and humility, and was going to rebrand it to represent the greatest calling anyone could have. This shepherd’s staff was now going to represent leading God’s Chosen People from slavery to freedom! After God shows Moses the miracle he would perform with the staff, Moses’ view of that simple, ordinary, reminder-of-past-mistakes changed. Verse 20 reads, “In his hand he carried the staff of God.”
- What’s in your hands?
- Have you ever let frustrating, “insignificant” times lead you away from God’s plans for you?
- What have you done/are doing to allow God to rebrand you?
God desires that we serve Him now, even if we feel as though we don’t have what we need. God may have given you a great vision for something, but you need to start somewhere. The Bible encourages us to “not despise the day of small beginnings.” It’s in the simple, small days of obedience when God can shape us into the great warriors He will need; and it’s also in those times when we show Him He can trust us with that great calling. This is also the time when he trains us to use the simple tools in our hands to confound the wise as they are used to perform great miracles (see also: David and Goliath, Joshua and the City of Jericho, Samson and the donkey’s jaw bone, Jesus and water, etc.)
Striving to obey in the small things first…