Bible Society of South Africa

The Question is: What is that in your hand? – 11 July 2022

By Louise Gevers

Bible text(s)

God Gives Moses Miraculous Power

1Then Moses answered the LORD, “But suppose the Israelites do not believe me and will not listen to what I say. What shall I do if they say that you did not appear to me?”

2So the LORD asked him, “What are you holding?”

“A stick,” he answered.

Exodus 4:1-2GNBOpen in Bible reader

My little granddaughter is two and a half and boggles my mind asking questions, in her seemingly endless quest for knowledge. Sometimes, even after I’ve answered her thoroughly she will again ask, “Why?” questioning my response, and will repeat this process with each subsequent response.

We know that God doesn’t have grandchildren, but, like Audie, His children never cease to ask Him questions, which never confound Him – no matter how brilliant or weak. From the time He called Moses and said, “So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt,” (Exodus 3:10) He had questions from a reluctant Moses.

“Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11) and “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” (Exodus 3:13) are reasonable questions, but clearly evoked by Moses’ a sense of helplessness and self-doubt while contemplating this overwhelming task; he is a shepherd tending his father-in-law’s sheep.

Fear of an audience with the mighty Pharaoh and the audacity of wanting to remove his labour force, added to his ignorance of his credibility with his own people, dominated him. What God was asking of Moses seemed a mammoth task – a lifetime commitment. Also, he didn’t really know God.

God’s wise answers bring everything back into perspective – He is “I Am”, with full control, and with everything in place to ensure the success of His well-devised rescue plan – except the leader. God cuts to the chase with His question: “What is that in your hand?”

Making a snake out of the shepherd’s staff in Moses’ hand focuses him on what God can do; it’s not about Moses’ weakness and his inability, but about surrendering to God’s powerful ability and willingness to let God use him as he is – the first tiny step.

Aren’t we so like Moses? Human and full of self doubt, we shy away from answering God’s call to us, but when we offer what we have in our hand – that symbol of whatever God has given to us to make us who we are – He will fulfil His purposes and we His mission for us.

A hungry little boy offered what he had – five loaves and two fishes – and Jesus performed an astounding miracle of feeding five thousand and growing the faith of the people. (John 6:9)

What God asks of us is what He asked of Moses: to make available to Him to use, what, by His grace, we have from Him, to be used magnificently for His Kingdom. Through the ages, God has made His power known through surrendered people and continues to do so today.

He now asks us: “What is that in your hand?”

Prayer: “Who among the gods is like you, Lord? Who is like you – majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?” (Exodus 15:11) May Your power work and Your glory shine through me. Amen.

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