Let’s consider the staff of Moses. Here’s a useful tool to a shepherd, something no one would want to climb the mountains without. It’s dependable, reliable, and doesn’t really change — ever. That’s Moses’s experience. He’s had that staff, most likely, for many years. He’s certainly carried one for the four decades he’s been tending to Jethro’s flocks. He may have carried one before that while he was in Egypt. Regardless, he’s used to one thing: a staff is a stick, and it stays a staff. Yet that’s not what God had in store for Moses.
Now, let us think about the snake. Now, snakes are not my favorite part of God’s creation. You may love them, but if you’re a desert shepherd, you know that snakes are a major threat. Snakes in the desert are often venomous and are never referred to positively in Scripture. Moses was right to run from the serpent in Exodus 4:3. He’s scared and probably just a bit stunned.
Our experiences can be like that. A simple, comfortable life is rolling along and we’re happy. Wives and husbands are happy, kids are happy. All is well and peaceful, but then God calls. It may be a call which we’ve heard before, but walked away from. Moses, after all, had taken some stumbling steps toward liberating the Hebrews—that’s how he got into the desert in the first place! It may be a call that we have not considered. Whatever it is, though, we have something else that we’re leaning on. We’re leaning on our successful career: “Lord, I can’t go on missions! I’m pastoring this church and they need me!” We’re leaning on completed tasks: “Lord, you can’t be calling me to more study. I’ve got one degree and I barely got it!” We’re leaning on stability in life: “Lord, you can’t be calling us from our good schools and familiar routines!”
What happens then? We find that what we hold in our hands has to be let go of. Consider how Moses would have felt had the staff turned into a snake while he held it? You may have to drop what is in your hand, because the snake in your hand is more to be feared than the snake you can run from. And often times, we hold on to what we have when God speaks, even as He says to drop it. We should see the danger and flee from it.
Now, as a caveat: obedience to God’s Word isn’t going to be a snake. If you are married, don’t run from your spouse; if a parent, don’t abandon your children!
What is in your hand? Is it something that needs to be thrown down? Do it quickly. Because God, in His wisdom, may just restore it to you so that you have it to use later. It may become the mark of who you are in your service to God. Keep the staff of Moses in your mind here and remember all of the times that God directed him to use it. The staff stretches over the Red Sea, it strikes the rock, it is the continual companion of Moses. All of which come after he throws it down and lets God transform it.
What have you got in your hand? Let the Lord God transform it and use it.