What Is In Your Hand?
Last Christmas my family was privileged to visit the Sight and Sound theatres in Pennsylvania, USA, to watch the “epic” Story of Moses. It began with Moses’ mother, Jochebed, weaving a basket for Moses and letting him down into the Nile River. Soon afterwards, Pharoah’s daughter pulls the basket out of the Nile and saves him. Moses grows up in the palace while his people, the children of Israel, are oppressed. He realizes his Hebrew heritage and feels uneasy in the palace. Finally, he chooses to be with the slaves.
I began to wonder: What would I have done? Would I have renounced the royal throne? Would I have left the walls of the comfortable palace to struggle in the desert feeding sheep?
For forty years, Moses had lived as a prince of Egypt. Then one day he intervenes on behalf of a Hebrew slave and kills an Egyptian slave master. Now a murderer, Moses flees for his life to the desert. In one day, he transitions from a prince to a wanted fugitive.
As I sat through the presentation, I began to wonder: What would I have done? Would I have renounced the royal throne? Would I have left the walls of the comfortable palace to struggle in the desert feeding sheep?
Then the Lord spoke to Moses from the burning bush (Ex. 3:7-10) telling him that He cares about the suffering of His people and wants him to deliver them but Moses understood his flaws. At least four times, Moses tells God that He must be mistaken. “Who am I for such a task?” “How can I convince them?” “Nobody will believe me! Please, send somebody else.” Moses found good reasons not to go (Ex. 3:11, 13; 4:1, 10)
“What is in your hand?” the omniscient and omnipresent Lord asked. Sarcasm? No. He wanted Moses to acknowledge who the true God is.
“A shepherd’s rod,” Moses replied.
"Throw it down,” said the Lord.
“Throw it down?” (Ex. 4:2, 3).
Once a Prince holding a scepter, now a shepherd tending sheep, the staff was all he possessed. It was his new identity and his sole income. It protected him from danger. It also represented Moses’ potential. Given to God, He would use it to perform miracles.
Moses could not become the man God wanted him to be until he agreed to throw down the staff, his prized possession and trust God. Showing Moses that He was more powerful than any Egyptian god, the Lord told Moses to pick up the snake by the tail. That day in the desert was a decisive moment for Moses. What about us?
If we would like the Lord to change the course of our lives and mold us, we must release what’s in our hands.
If we would like the Lord to change the course of our lives and mold us, we must release what’s in our hands. We may never meet God in a burning bush or free a nation from slavery, but He is calling us to drop what’s in our hands and allow Him to shape us for His service. This call is for all of us.
Unfortunately, some find it hard to let go of all they possess. Returning only a portion of their income to God often seems difficult enough. It is easy to focus on our needs and neglect to trust Him. If only we would believe that our heavenly Father can supply all our needs according to His riches in glory!
Ivan the Great, the 15th century Russian Czar, did not have time to start a family. His comrades encouraged him to get married and found him a wife—the daughter of the king of Greece. To marry her, Ivan had to be baptized as “Greek Orthodox”. On the day of the ceremony, Ivan and his soldiers stood, in full armor, in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea, ready for baptism. The king of Greece realized that they couldn’t have two identities—being both warriors and Greek Orthodox. So they hastily settled on a solution. As the priests immersed each one, they would keep just their sword arm above the water! The ceremony was nicknamed “the unbaptized arm.”
Jesus made it clear, “No man can serve two masters” (Matt. 6:24). Many Christians today also have an unbaptized arm. Some have not totally surrendered their all to God. What is in your hand?