Throw Your Staff on the Ground
Jul 2, 2018 1393
When I was a young man, people told me often that I should train at a seminary to become a Christian pastor. But I always said to them that if the Lord could call Peter out of his boat and stop Saul dead in his tracks on the way to Damascus, that he could also call me himself. So God planned to do just that, but there was something he had to do first in my life.
Being in business management, during much of my life I had learnt to depend on my own skills in controlling and managing the circumstances of my life. My issues I faced in my upbringing had also nudged me towards being a controlling person. The Lord knew that I had to learn to depend on him and not on myself, because I could even start to serve him in the way that he needed. It was only when my business “empire” collapsed in the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-8, and I lost everything, that God knew I was ready for his call.
God did something similar when he called Moses. He was giving God excuse after excuse about why he didn’t want to serve him, and all the while, he was clutching his shepherd’s staff tightly. This was a vitally important tool on which Moses had learnt to depend. His staff helped him guide the sheep, walk along rocky paths, and it was also his weapon, with which he could defend himself from wild animals or robbers. The more nervous Moses felt as he spoke with God, the tighter he held on to his staff. But the Lord knew what was going on:
Then the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?”
“A staff,” he replied.
The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.”
Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it (Exodus 4:2–3, NIV).
There’s a powerful spiritual meaning in this episode. Moses was making all sorts of excuses to God, because he was relying on his own strength. And so God asks Moses to throw the very item that Moses used for work, support, and protection to the ground.
Admit your weakness, and God will become your strength.
Before you can be useful to God, you must acknowledge our helplessness before him. Whatever we may have of earthly strength and pride we must throw to the ground before God. Then, and only then, can we be useful to God: only when we rely on his power alone.
When Moses threw his staff on the ground, it became a snake, and Moses ran from it. Moses saw his staff in its true form, as a deadly enemy, and he ran from it. We too would run from many the things to which we are most attached, if we could only see how dangerous they are to our souls. They are like poisonous snakes because they cause us to trust ourselves instead of trusting God.
Today, the Lord is asking you the same question that he asked Moses, “What is in your hand?” So look at your hand now. What is it that you are relying on for your self-confidence, financial security, or identity, other than God?
The Lord says to you, “Throw it on the ground.” Trust in him alone, and then you will be qualified to serve him. Admit your weakness, and God will become your strength.
– Eliezer Gonzalez