“WHAT’S IN YOUR HAND?” By Pastor YAU
Text: Exodus 4:1-6 September 2, 2007.
1) Something you shouldn’t do: Zookeepers who handle snakes as part of their job will tell you that you should never grab a snake by its tail. It can coil around in a split second and sink its fangs into your hand. The right way to handle a snake is to grab it by its hand. (Either way, you shouldn’t try this at home.)
wanted to do: Picking up a snake by
its tail is exactly what God wanted Moses to do. (Exodus 4:4) Moses who must
have encountered snakes many times in the
THE BACKGROUND OF THIS STORY:
1) There is an urgent need: The good days Joseph, his father Jacob and all the people of Israel enjoyed in Egypt had came to an end after these patriarchs had died and a new Pharaoh came to power in the land who didn’t know Joseph and the good things he did for his country. This new king was so jealous on the Israelis and had treated them with cruelty wanting to eliminate them from his land. The Israelis suffered so much under their job-masters and they cried to God for relief. These were God’s people, descendants of Abraham to whom God had promised to increase as many as the starts of the sky. There is an urgent need to bring relief to these people. God won’t allow His people to suffer any longer. (1:8-22)
There is an
urgent call: In a burning bush in the
3) There is no other choice: Having witnessed with his own eyes the suffering of his own people in the hand of the Egyptians, () Moses was very much aware of the terrible situation his people lived in. When he ran for his life after he killed an Egyptian, the once the hopeful for the Israelis became a family man, married, had children and lived a quiet life by tending the flocks of his father-in-law. At this time when life is peaceful and easy, God has a new assignment for him: go to the Pharaoh and to lead the people of Israelis out of the land of oppression. God has created ways to preserve his life and has put him in the Egyptian courts to be raised with the princes of the land so he may be the man God needs to carry our His plans of rescue. There is no other choice.
4) There is a hardened heart: With all the preparation God has put in his life, Moses was determined to decline the call. Five times he used many questions, statements and excuses to rebuff God’s call. He didn’t argue the need of calling such a person. He didn’t argue the authority of God in calling someone to do this much needed job. But he argued in many different ways that he was not that person for this job. He even suggested that God should know there must be someone else better suit for this job. It is in this situation God showed him His power in 2 different ways so he would know that this is the God who would supply him all his power and needs to carry out His plans. (4:6-9)
THE LESSONS OF THIS STORY:
1) God knows all our hurts: The fact that the best seller book, Where Is God When It Hurts, written by Philip Yancey, sold millions of copies is because many of us doubt if God knows when we are hurting. In the first few chapters of Exodus, God shows us He knows all our hurts and He has a plan to deliver us from those hurts. Just as the Israelis cried to God in times of great hurts and needs, many of us have that same experience. When God told Moses He has seen the suffering of His people and has heard their cries, we are reassured of God’s all-knowing power of our needs and hurts. No one and his/her hurts is beyond God’s knowledge.
God has a rescue
plan: In the late hours of yesterday,
August 1, one of the bridges crossing the
God has prepared
someone: God in all His power and
knowledge will never be surprised with anything that may happen in history. He
always has a plan and an agent prepared for the job. He raised Moses in
miraculous ways, trained him in the courts of the Pharaoh and the
4) God wants a willing heart: With all the preparation God has done for a job like this, Moses won’t take the job God assigned him. He has a family, a good job, has children, lives an easy life in friendly neighborhood and is too old for the challenges of the job. Moses gave God all kinds of reasons he just couldn’t do what God wanted him to do; from the nature of the job to the suspicious nature of the people, to the fearful Pharaoh to his inability of speech, he told God he was not the right person for the job. In fact, he was so afraid of the job. He didn’t want any change of his life. Isn’t his arguments are our arguments when God calls us to meet a certain need or to fill a position of service? What God needs from you is a willing heart. He will provide all the power you need to do His job.
WHAT IS IN YOUR HAND? (Exodus 4:1-5) Instead of a shepherd’s staff in the hands of Moses, we have many other things in our hands God wants to change into something more dramatic and useful. God used that little miracle to show Moses His power and evidence of His presence. God can also use the things in our hands to show His power our lives.
1) You have your life goals: Most of us have our life goals. We form or dream of life goals even when we were still small children. We wanted to be someone important, useful and to live a life that matters to us and others. These goals are in our hands. We can hold them fast. We can change them from time to time. We also can add things into the goals to make them more effective and meaningful. What part of your goals of life reflects the purpose of God in you? Which way you steer your life so it may impact the pursuit of God’s Kingdom besides your own benefits? It is your life and it is in your hands. You have the opportunity to make it better, reaching further and create much more lasting effects.
2) You have your calls of God: As Paul stated in Ephesians 4:11, God has called different people into different positions with different gifts so they may accomplish the different tasks God has given them. What is the call of God in your life? What are the gifts God has given you so you may use them in His ministries? The call of God and His gifts are in your hands. You may ignore them, hide them or even bury them as did one of the servants entrusted with treasure of their master. Or you may use them wisely and diligently to bring results to the Master and receive praises of the Master and enjoy His lavish blessings. The choice is yours because they are in your hands. Answer the call and use His gifts for His glory.
You have your
opportunities: The way people choose to use opportunity
determines the kind of people they will become. Most of us are ordinary people
and have only few opportunities to expend the measures of our lives. When
opportunities come our way, they are in our hands. Whichever way we choose to
use them or to allow them to slip through our fingers will determine the outcome
or usefulness of our life. Suppose Moses insisted on refusing God’s call to
lead the Israelis out of
You have your
resources: The only resource Moses
had is his shepherd’s staff. When he obeyed God to let go of his staff, God
performed a miracle to assure him of His power and call. What do you have as
resources God may use to accomplish His purpose? Your time? Your talents? Your
energies? Or your possessions? Moses used that same staff to accomplish God’s
purpose to divide the
1) See what’s important: Many people have difficulty in making important choices. These people end up spend their life in unimportant things they regret. Choose what is in God’s will for your life and trusting His power in carrying you through. He will make you a blessing to many people.
2) See what’s in your hand: God has given each of us many resources. Do an inventory list and see what you have and how you may use them to serve God and people. Do not make excuses or decline God’s call to accomplish His purpose. Do something with what you have for lasting value.
3) See who may help you: Few people have the wisdom or opportunity to do great things. But God can make anyone a hero if he will trust Him and His call. Ask Jesus to enter your heart and make Him Lord of your life. He will show you the right path to a meaningful and successful life.