“‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.’ ...Then the LORD said to him, ‘What is that in your hand?’ ‘A staff,’ he replied. The LORD said, ‘Throw it on the ground.’”?—EXodus 3:5 & 4:2-3
At the burning bush, God first told Moses to take off his sandals and minutes later, asked what was in his hand. Moses replied, “A staff,” and God told him to throw it on the ground. Both these instructions were followed by acts of obedience that are representative of what we are called to do if our Christian lives are going to be fruitful.
For 40 years, Moses had herded sheep in the Midian desert, and his staff would have been indispensable to him. It represented his livelihood, but was also a constant reminder of how far removed from his people he was, and how any effort he had made to free them from slavery had failed. But once he had thrown his staff on the ground, relinquishing it to God, what was the staff of Moses then became the “staff of God.”
God instantly turned the staff into a snake, fearful enough for Moses to run from it. Then He told Moses to reach out his hand and pick it up by its tail. To grab hold of a snake by its tail would leave its head free for attack. After years of living in the desert, Moses would have known better, but he trusted God and picked up the snake by its tail. God then showed Moses by turning the snake back into the staff in his hand that He would look after the difficult, dangerous parts. Before leaving the burning bush, He said to Moses, “But take this staff in your hand so that you can perform the signs with it” (Exodus 4:17).
Before Moses could perform miraculous signs with the staff, he first had to be willing to allow God to walk in his shoes. It would be God’s working, God’s direction and God’s empowerment—God walking in Moses’ shoes that would lead His people out of Egyptian bondage. Moses took the staff, and thus began the miraculous work of God to free His people.
Whatever it is we hold precious—our jobs, our money, our talents or even our families—are we willing to give it up to God in order to serve Him? Do we trust Him to turn it into the staff of God and allow His divine power to accomplish His purpose through us? At God’s instructions, the staff was placed in the Arc of the Covenant and it budded, blossomed and produced almonds. The work of God always gives life, and in our obedience to Him, allowing Him to walk in our shoes, we too can have a staff like that.