January 13 I Wednesday
“So Moses took his wife and sons, put them on a donkey and started back to Egypt. And he took the staff of God in his hand.” —Exodus 4:20
Many of the miraculous events throughout the book of Exodus were implemented by the use of a staff. Plagues that fell upon Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, the supply of water from a rock in the desert at Horeb and the defeat of the Amalekites were instigated when God commanded Moses to use His staff in a particular way.
There had been nothing inherently special about this staff. It was an ordinary tool that Moses used after fleeing Egypt and becoming a sheepherder in the backside of the Midian desert. He would use it to walk the rugged terrain, to haul in sheep and to check for insects nestled in the wool. It represented his livelihood, but it was also a constant reminder of how far removed from his people he was and how any effort he made to free them from slavery had failed.
But at the burning bush, this symbol of Moses’s livelihood was transformed into a symbol of the extraordinary work God would do in freeing His people from Egyptian bondage. He instructed Moses to throw the staff on the ground, and it immediately became a snake, fearful enough for Moses to run from it. This previously harmless tool suddenly became dangerous. God then commanded Moses, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail” (Exodus 4:4).
To grab hold of a snake by its tail would leave its head free for attack, something Moses would have known, 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 Moses’s hand that He would look after the difficult, dangerous parts in freeing His people. What was a symbol of Moses’s livelihood now became the staff of God, a tool of supernatural power. Before leaving the burning bush, God said to Moses, “But take this staff in your hand so that you can perform the signs with it” (Exodus 4:17).
We might look to our families, careers and abilities to give us purpose and fulfillment, but to place our dependency on these things can become dangerous. This is why God asks us to relinquish all that we are and all that we have up to Him. Whatever it is we hold precious—our jobs, money, talents or even our families—are we willing to lay it down in order to serve God? Vital to our understanding of how God works is that it has nothing to do with natural, logical or systematic strategies, but everything to do with the supernatural intervention of God Himself. We can all have a “staff of God” when we surrender to Him all that we hold precious and trust Him to accomplish His will and purpose for us.
Prayer: Lord God, I know You are all I need. Help me to relinquish everything I hold precious over to You, so that You may use it for Your purpose. Thank You, Lord.