We can cling to our own preferences so tightly that they can keep us from serving God. Moses fell into that trap. He had been a shepherd for forty years and he became comfortable in that role. God had a major assignment for Moses but Moses didn’t want to leave his comfort zone. Moses had convenient excuses for why he could not serve God,
Then Moses said, “What if they will not believe me or listen to what I say? For they may say, ‘The LORD has not appeared to you.’” (Exodus 4:1)
Can you identify with Moses? There are always detractors out there. There is no shortage of people who people who will criticize you if you do something new. Moses was more concerned about his comfort than carrying out God’s will. God however, has a way of getting to the heart of the matter,
The LORD said to him, “What is that in your hand?” And he said, “A staff.” (Exodus 4:2)
Moses had been carrying a staff for forty years. A staff was the primary instrument of a shepherd – it readily identified him as a shepherd. God would help Moses make a break with his past and start something new,
Then He said, “Throw it on the ground.” So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it. (Exodus 4:3)
God was literally asking Moses to lay down his identity for His sake. Your identity is the sum total of who you are encompassing your beliefs, personality, and actions. Your identity may be based upon your performance and we often find our identity in our occupation. Others may find their identity in what they own and their possessions define them and unfortunately, their possessions may own them. There are others find their identity through validation from others and they rely on popularity to define them. Who are you? Are you willing to lay down your identity to carry out God’s assignment?
Moses’ staff not only represented his identity but it was his source of prosperity, that’s how he made his livelihood. If Moses laid down his staff how would he survive – a person needs to make a living. Moses would discover if he followed God’s will then God would take care of the bill. God provided for the Israelites for forty years in the desert by providing manna for them to eat and their sandals did not wear out. Do you believe that God can take care of you?
For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? (Matthew 6:25-26)
Finally, Moses’ staff represented his security. Moses was keenly aware of the dangers in the wilderness – how could he defend himself without his staff? Moses would learn his ultimate security was from God. Where do you find your security? Is it in your retirement account or is it in your relationship with God?
What is that in your hand? Are you willing to lay down your staff and find your identity, your prosperity, and your security in God?
Associate Pastor – Discipleship. The Church at LifePark
Professor of Discipleship, Columbia International University
Follow me on twitter: rickhiggins5