What’s in Your Hand?
“1 Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The LORD did not appear to you’?”
2 Then the LORD said to him, “What is that in your hand?”
“A staff,” he replied.
3 The LORD said, “Throw it on the ground.”
Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. 4 Then the LORD said to him, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.” So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand. 5 “This,” said the LORD, “is so that they may believe that the LORD, the God of their fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has appeared to you.” …
“10 Moses said to the LORD, “O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”
11 The LORD said to him, “Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD ? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”
13 But Moses said, “O Lord, please send someone else to do it.”
14 Then the LORD’s anger burned against Moses and he said, “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and his heart will be glad when he sees you. 15 You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do.”
Exodus 4:1-5, 10-15 NIV (emphasis mine)
When God gave Moses an incredible calling to go and free His people from slavery, Moses’ reaction was not one of a courageous superhuman saint who was easily willing to follow everything God said. Moses came up with questions. Questions about how people would respond, about his own abilities and eloquence, and finally by rejecting God’s offer and telling God to use someone else.
It is interesting that God could easily have fixed all the circumstances for Moses’ life. He could have made the people of Israel and Egypt stand at attention to Moses’ words. He could have snapped His fingers and made Moses instantly become an eloquent leader and speaker with the voice of James Earl Jones. But He didn’t. Instead God kept pointing Moses back to what Moses already had. Verses 1 and 2 summarize it. Moses comes up with the “what if’s?” “What if they don’t listen? What if they don’t believe me?” God responds to Moses’ plea for answers by pointing Moses right back to what he already had. “What is that in your hand?”
When God spoke to Moses, He revealed that all Moses needed, he already had; a shepherd’s rod, a mouth to speak God’s Word, a brother to help him lead, and most importantly, God’s presence in his life. Throughout scriptures, it is easy to see that God likes to use what His people already have in their hands.
God used what was in David’s hand (5 stones and a sling) to overcome a giant.
God used what was in the widow’s hand when she was with Elisha to multiply oil for her family.
God used what was in Samson’s hand to overcome a Philistine army.
God used a sack lunch in the hands of a young boy’s to feed 5,000 hungry people.
Jesus used mud on the ground and spit from his mouth to heal a blind man.
God answers the plea of His people the same way today. When I cry out for God to all-of-a-sudden, immediately change things, He points me back to what I already have. He points me back to my own gifting, my own resources, my own family, and my own work. He wants me to use and to be a good steward of what I already have in my hands. I have a tendency to think of the answers that God gives me as something outside of my control, but throughout the scriptures God uses His people most greatly when they allow Him to have access to what is already in their hands. Someone once said, “Where God leads, He feeds and where He guides, He provides.”
As I write this journal today, I feel like the Lord is saying to me, “Look in the mirror today. Maybe you will find the answer to your prayers looking right back at you.”