Exodus 4:2 “What is that in your hand?"
This question arises after Moses’ excuses and reasons for his unqualified position to do the task to which God had called him. When pondering on this question, it seems that God often desires of us to bring the ‘possessions’ to the altar. Whether it be the loaves & fish of the young Jewish boy (John 6:9), the widow’s two copper coins (Mark 12:41), the twenty loaves of barley bread with ears of corn (2 Kings 4:43), David’s sling and the five stones (1 Samuel 17:40), the leftover grain Ruth gleaned from the field (Ruth 2), Moses’ staff — what do you have in your hand?
Firstly, upon looking at all these examples, it’s significant how all of them are simple, ordinary things. Yet, the precious thought is that they represented the all of the person. Nothing was held back when it was presented. In a sense, it meant the giving-over of the self to a Greater Hand. How beautiful then, that God honours this act of humble surrender by blessing the very thing we give over. As Moses’ staff was used by God to display His power through a transformational occurrence of staff to serpent and the parting of the Red Sea, He will use whatever you surrender to display His magnificence in beautiful paradox: the common becomes mighty when God anoints it.
Secondly, when looking at the example of Moses, there is a point of humility and of being sobered, that had to be reached. Dr. Greg Killian of Bet Emunah puts it like this: “The midrash comments that the Lord informed Moses, ‘even if you are unwilling to fulfil My mission, this staff, inanimate as it is, is capable of executing My will.’ This sobering message should ideally assure Moses’ continued commitment despite his lingering ambivalence. It also depersonalises Moses (which may contribute to his conviction).” A part of us needs to understand that we are not the possessors of what we acquire. Just because we are holding it, doesn’t mean that it is ours. I love how David puts it in 1 Chronicles 29:14, ‘But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? For everything comes from You, and we have given You only what comes from Your own hand.’ (CSB) [Emphasis added] God is waiting to use what He has placed in your hand. Child of God, loosen your grip and trust in the strong Hand of an Almighty Saviour.
I grasp Thy strength, make it mine own, My heart with peace is blest; I lose my hold, and then comes down Darkness, and cold unrest. Let me no more my comfort draw From my frail hold of Thee, In this alone rejoice with awe— Thy mighty grasp of me. Out of that weak, unquiet drift; That comes but to depart, To that pure heaven my spirit lift; Where Thou unchanging art. Lay hold of me with Thy strong grasp, Let Thy almighty arm; In its embrace my weakness clasp, And I shall fear no harm.
- J.C. Shairp
Lord God, all I hold dear, is Yours. Help me to become aware of what You’ve placed in my hands; to give it back to You for Your glory. May I be a ‘carrier’ of what You have placed in my hands, and not a ‘possessor’ of it. Thank You, Father, for sobering me and reminding me that ‘if [I] keep quiet, even the stones will cry out [Luke 19:40],’ Amen.
Bevere, L. What’s in your hand? [Online]. Available at: https:// messengerinternational.org/blog/devotional/whats-hand/ [2019/10/28].
How often do we consider the questions God has asked us in Scripture? How could God Almighty ask a question? He could and would, because it serves a profound purpose. In this first blog post of a Devotional Series, aiming to look at ten questions uttered by God, we start by taking a look at the very first question on our list, i.e. what God asked Jacob (pre-Israel) and of what relevance it is for us today.