“What is that in your hand?”Exodus 4:2
Moses was content. He had arrived at a remote corner of the desert, married and content to settle down and enjoy his new, quiet life style as a shepherd (2:21), forgetting about his fellow Israelites left behind in Egypt.
However, those same Israelites were not content at all (2:23). In fact, they were groaning under the heavy bondage of slavery. As God looked down on their sad situation He already had a plan to deliver His people from slavery.
Many years later, He called Moses, an old man of 80 years, to leave his comfortable situation and lead His people out of slavery into the land of promise (Ex. 3-4). When Moses heard God’s call he must have been astounded. To go to a world ruler such as Pharaoh and lead his own people, few of whom would remember him, seemed an impossible task. He offered many excuses saying: “Who am I?” “They will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice.” In Exodus 4:10 he said, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”
God’s answer in Exodus 4:2 was simply to ask Moses a question, “What is that in your hand?” In other words, “You only need to use what I have given you then, through you, I will get the job done.” Well, what was in his hand? Just a wooden stick, cut from a nearby tree no doubt, to make a shepherd’s staff which he used to lead his animals. He had no special abilities or qualifications to lead a nation out of slavery. But that staff, handed over to the Lord, would be used to move a powerful potentate to release over a million slaves.
Today the world around us is full of slaves: slaves to sin; to immoral living; to alcohol; to the lust for more money; to drugs and so on. However, God also has a plan for today which He has already put into action. The Lord Jesus left the glories of heaven to go to the cross, dying for our sins and rising again, opening the way for every sinner to be saved not just from the penalty of their sins but also from the power of sin to which they are enslaved. Do you wonder why the Lord now graciously calls on us to go into all the world and preach the gospel?
The world is looking for satisfaction and we are the ones who personally know the only One who can satisfy the human heart. They are looking for peace and we know the Prince of Peace. They are looking for hope and we know the One who can give hope to the hopeless, and hope beyond the grave.
As we seek to reach others with the gospel which can free them from slavery we may well ask, “What can I do?” Well, what can you do? God says very simply, “What is that in your hand?” In other words, give the Lord control of all He has given you and you will see Him work. 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 tells us that God is not looking for highly educated people but He is looking for those who will commit to Him what little they have, to use as He pleases. As Moses did this, over one million were delivered from slavery.
The Bible has many other instances where we see God doing great things through people—often with very limited abilities—handing over what they have to the Lord. In Judges 3:31 we read about a man called Shamgar. Maybe you have never heard of him? That is not surprising as he is mentioned in only one verse in the Bible. He was a judge who had nothing but an ox goad, which is like a flimsy spear, used to prick the oxen in order to make them move. When God called him to be a judge he used what he had, killing 600 Philistines and delivering Israel because God was in control of that ox goad.
Today we have the Word of God, which can prick the heart of the toughest sinner to bring them to Christ. Hebrews 4:12 says the Word of God is “living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Furthermore, it is “the sword of the Spirit” (Eph. 6:17). We must read it, memorize it, and then use it if we want to see God at work in delivering people from their bondage to sin. Many are struggling to be free from their present lifestyles, and as we quote God’s Word or hand out His written word with a simple explanation of the gospel, we will begin to see the Holy Spirit using His sword to bring people to Christ. What should you do if someone says, “I don’t believe the Bible!” Just quote another verse. Remember it is the Sword of the Spirit. Do not argue or try to convince someone, just give them God’s Word, leaving them to the Holy Spirit to use His sword to bring conviction of sin and conversion to Christ.
What could a teenager like David do? He was just a boy when he visited his brothers and saw King Saul and his army trembling before Goliath. He may have only had a slingshot, but he also had a complete confidence in his great God. Rejecting the armor which King Saul offered him he used what he had and under God’s controlling hand the first stone hit the giant in the only available opening in his armor – right between his eyes—and down he went. He had no special training or equipment but “coming in the name of the Lord,” he used what he had and brought victory to Israel.
Consider the woman Dorcas (Acts 9:36-39). When she died a large number of people gathered at her funeral to remember this remarkable woman who had used what she had—a needle and thread—to make clothes for poor people. The number gathered at her funeral would indicate that she must have influenced many to turn to Christ as she distributed the garments she had made for her Lord.
Maybe you think you are too young (John 6:5-9)? A great multitude needed food. What could a young lad do? He handed over his lunch to the Savior—five small scones and a few fish. He could have kept it for himself but when he used what he had, giving his lunch to the Lord, he and 5000 men plus women and children were fed.
In closing let’s ask ourselves, “What is that in my hand?” An ox goad? A slingshot? A needle and thread? A lunch box? Give the Lord full control of all and see Him at work through our weaknesses.