God had appeared to Moses as he was shepherding the flock of his
father-in-law Jethro in the wilderness. He had spelled out the
commission He had for Moses. God had chosen Moses to deliver His people
from the slavery of Egypt and to lead them into the promised land, a
land promised years before to Abraham. It is an awesome task and Moses
was reluctant. Forty years before he had impulsively come to the aid of
a Hebrew slave who was being beaten by a taskmaster. Then he fled for
his life when he realized it was known that he had killed the Egyptian.
Now the impulsive self confidence of youth is gone.
“Then Moses answered and said, ‘But suppose they will not believe me or
listen to my voice; suppose they say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to
you.’” (Ex. 4.1 NKJ). It is a reasonable question. His earlier attempt
to deliver one of them was rejected and he was scorned. Moses did not
relish a future rejection by his brethren. How could he convince them
that God had really called him?
The Lord asked him, What is in your hand?” It was a common shepherd’s
staff. God commanded him to cast it to the ground. Moses complied and
it became a writhing serpent as it hit the ground. He instinctively ran
from it. But God commanded him to pick it up by the tail. Instantly it
became the familiar staff he used daily. It was an amazing miracle but
God gave him two other signs to convince the people.
Moses was told to put his hand into his bosom. When he pulled it out it
was leprous, a fearful sight. When he put it back into his bosom it
became well and healthy once again. God gave him a third sign if they
were still unconvinced. He was to take water from the Nile River and
pour it on the ground; it would turn to blood. These three miracles
should be convincing to them.
But Moses doubted his ability to lead the people. Although he had the
best education that Egypt could offer, forty years in the solitude of the
desert had not sharpened his oratorical skills. God promised to be his
mouth. When Moses persisted in making excuses, God said he would send
him Aaron to speak for him.
God calls each of us to serve Him. We are all gifted differently.
“Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us,
let us use them.” (Rom. 12.6).
What is in your hand? What gifts do you have? Use them; stop making
excuses. Be thankful for the gifts God has given you. But be realistic
and do not think more highly of yourself than you ought to think (
Rom.12.3). And then God wants no excuses.. One day we will all stand
before the Lord and He will ask us, “What did you do with the gifts, the
talents, I entrusted to you?” May we hear Him say, , “Well done, good
and faithful servant.”
Donald L. Norbie
March 29, 2006