It was a Monday, some weeks ago, I was in church for Bible Study. The service went on smoothly and there was no air of anything strange about that day. Just before the message for the day, we had a brief period of Bible reading. In the church I attend, at the time for Bible reading, the audio Bible is usually played, while the congregation follows by looking into their Bibles.
That day, the reading was from
the fourth chapter of the Second Book of Moses, called Exodus. The speed with which Alexander Scourby read hardly gave anyone the time to underline a verse without missing the next. However, I do take my time to pay attention to important word(s), phrase(s) or verse(s) that appeal to me, leaving the rest for later digestion. He had not read too far before I got stuck, for he was just on the third verse. And here, dear reader, is the discovery I made.
Let me give a quick background to the story.
God had just called Moses, and here was he, advancing all possible reasons he could to disqualify himself and prove to God that he was unworthy of this calling to bring the children of Israel out of Egypt. But God, Who never gives up on anyone, punctured all his excuses.
Moses, after his flight from Egypt for fear of incurring the Pharaoh’s wrath on his murder of an Egyptian in defence of his fellow countryman, found himself in Midian as a Shepherd. In both Bible and contemporary times, one important possession of every shepherd has been a rod. Among other uses, the shepherd’s rod was primarily an extension of the holder’s right hand. It is mainly used to guide the straying sheep or protect the flock. Every trained shepherd is usually skilled in using his rod as a weapon, and also to comfort. (Psalm 23:4).
Such was Moses. He was going about his animal husbandry business when God called him. Estimating himself as incapable of performing the task before him, he sought to be excused. Perhaps he was thinking: To bring the children of Israel out of Pharoah’s hands, I need a trained army with sophisticated ammunition. Yet God saw something that he was not seeing, his rod.
I cannot forget the effect that the first three verses of Exodus chapter 4 still has on me. I was ‘arrested’, and I mean, arrested! Moses had just advanced another reason why he felt the people would not believe him. Isn’t God’s response strange to you? I would have expected God to just dish out instructions to Moses and order him to go, but He didn’t, instead, He asked a question.
Pay attention! There are times we miss out so much in the place of prayer because we don’t care to listen to God. When we read the Bible, God speaks to us; when we pray, we speak to Him. However, God does not always ask questions. Most times, he simply gives encouragement, instruction or a word of guidance, or correction. On rare occasions, when God asks questions, He is calling our attention to something very important. Let me focus on God’s question for Moses: “What is that in thine hand?” That sounds like a question He asked Jeremiah: “Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Jeremiah, what seest thou?” (Jeremiah 1:11).
Sit back. Relax. Breathe deep. Do you hear God asking you: What is that in your hand? What do you see in yourself? Have you discovered the talents I deposited into you? Do you realize your position in Christ? Do you know the awesome power that resides in you by virtue of the baptism of the Holy Spirit that you have received? Do you understand what it really means to be called a child of God? Have you unraveled the mystery of the Spirit of adoption? Have you tapped into the depth of potentials I gave to you? And more…
God’s question was not what startled Moses. At least, his answer did not show in any way that he was surprised. He answered, probably, almost without looking at his hands: “A Rod.” God’s response:
“And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent…” (Exodus 4:3).
I’ll point out another important point here: obedience. As you begin to respond to the question(s) God asks you, be ready to obey. Moses was in an encounter with a ‘Strange Personality’. For all I care, the voice Moses was hearing could be that of an enemy, hiding in the dark and trying to kill the Moses so he could have his flock, since God was invisible. Telling him to throw His rod on the ground was like stripping him of his armour: “Summit your weapon!” Yet, Moses obeyed, throwing his weapon on the ground, becoming defenseless and vulnerable.
If, and when you eventually identify what you ‘carry in your hand’, God may tell you to take some step. Those steps, in human reasoning, may appear foolish and illogical, but never doubt or despise it. Take the leap of faith, stretch yourself beyond your reasoning, think outside the box (if there is any at all), and just do it! That is what led to Moses’ breakthrough.
“… And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it.” (Exodus 4:3).
“And MOSES FLED FROM BEFORE IT.” This the one of the greatest discoveries Moses ever made in the course of his ministry. He was carrying more than just a rod. It was a serpent too. This discovery startled Moses, so he ran for his life.
Pay attention again! When you truly discover who God created you to be, it will startle you. When you really realize the potency of the gifts, talents and potentials in you, you cannot but be taken aback. When you acknowledge the possibilities that are hibernating in you, you will definitely be amazed.
Dear reader, have you observed what happens when you pick you pen to write or your pencil to draw? Have you observed the aura that surrounds you when you stand to sing or preach? Has it ever occurred to you that you could accomplish more with what you have at your disposal, than you are accomplishing now? Do you sometimes feel like you are under-utilizing your abilities? Have you discovered that you are more than who you think you are? The day you make this discovery, your life begins to change.
At first, Moses fled from his ‘rod-turned-serpent’, but eventually, he picked it up, troubled Pharaoh and Egypt, parted the Red Sea and brought out water from the rock with it.
Go in this your might! Discover something that God has put in you, lay hold on it and do exploits with it!