Exodus Devotional | Day 3: What Has God Already Given You?
The Book of Exodus
The Greatness of God to His People in Need
A Hand Against the Throne and a Raised Staff, Day 3
“Then Amalek came and fought with Israel at Rephidim. So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose for us men, and go out and fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses' hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this as a memorial in a book and recite it in the ears of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” And Moses built an altar and called the name of it, The Lord Is My Banner, saying, “A hand upon the throne of the Lord! The Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.” - (Exodus 17:8-16)
What is it about Moses’ staff? Most great heroes have their weapons, right? Luke Skywalker and his lightsaber. Tony Stark and his Ironman armor. Lion-O and the Sword of Omens (bonus points to you Gen X-ers for knowing that one!). King Arthur and Excalibur. The hero needs a totem, an item or weapon of mystical power in order to tap into their greatest power and complete their quest. Except, that’s not what’s going on here with Moses and his staff…
There is something special going on here, no doubt. It’s God himself who tells Moses to use that stick over and over again. From Mount Horeb in Genesis 3, to the confrontations with Pharaoh, to the bloody Nile, to parting the Red Sea. Moses had to strike the rocks with the staff so that water would pour out. Now, in Exodus 17, Moses is to hold his staff above his head--whenever his hands grew heavy with the staff and lowered, the battle would turn for the enemy. When his hands kept the staff up high, the battle would turn against the enemy. It seems like the power’s in the staff, right? If someone wanted the power God gave to Moses, they’d just need to sneak into Moses’ tent and steal it, yes?
In some ways, this works like Dumbo’s feather. The poor little elephant with the big ears, remember? Dumbo, you can fly if you hold this magic feather. At a critical moment, Dumbo had to learn that the feather wasn’t special--it just gave him the faith to believe in himself. Dumbo could fly on his own, all along. He didn’t need the staff.
Well...Moses’ staff is special--because God said it was. No, Moses couldn’t have done any of those things without the staff--the power doesn’t lie in Moses to tap into. God had consecrated this unspecial stick--he’d set it aside for his own purposes with Moses. The stick was still just a stick, except when the Lord decided to use it for something special in Moses’ hands. In a way, sure, Moses could have performed these miracles without the staff--if God had decided to make it work that way. But, the power of the miracles lay in the hand of the Lord, and not ultimately in the hands of Moses.
In Genesis 3, Moses is worried about not being powerful. How am I going to accomplish the liberation of your people, Lord? How could I ever stand up to Pharaoh? God asks Moses, “What’s that in your hand, Mo? A staff? That’s what you’ll use.” See, God had made Moses a shepherd and God told Moses to use what he’d already given him. Not a sword or a lightsaber or a ray gun.
We’re always looking for something we don’t have before we can go out and do what the Lord is telling us to do. I need more money, I need a special degree, I need something powerful in my hands that I don’t yet have...Often, God is telling us, “What’s that in your hands? That thing I’ve already given you? Use that. Get going.”
What godly obedience have you been delaying because don’t believe you have what you need? What is it you think God hasn’t given you yet?
It may be that God wants you to start with what you already have. Take the time to see what God has already given you and commit to obedience. If there is something else you need, trust that the Lord will give that to you when it’s necessary.
Spend time in prayer, asking the Lord to show that the power you need isn’t in a staff or instrument--it’s his power, coming from the Holy Spirit who lives within you.