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What am I Holding

Pentateuch Principles   •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  40:17
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A calling is the place where your gifts, abilities, desires, and feelings of worth all meet. —Mike Yaconelli
INTRO - I am really enjoying this series. Last week we spoke about the nobleness of Joseph and God’s provision for those in his service.
This morning we’re moving into the second book of the Pentateuch to discover more of God’s principles for his people.
Our story begins where God is calling to Moses to be the great emancipator of Isreal and lead them from their bondage in Egypt.
Moses is reluctant and offers excuses for not wanting to be the leader of Isreal.
Countering Moses, as we will see, God asks what is in Moses’ hand.
This is a heart searching question with present-day lessons for you and I.
EST - God will ask Moses what is in his hand and Moses will tell God it is a staff.
ESS - Our message will note God’s call to all of us, call us to examine what we bring, as well as inquire if there is something we must let loose.
OSS - Our time will conclude with an opportunity to recall God’s grace and his reassuring voice in our life as we seek his face in our daily lives.
TRANS - Let’s travel with one another to the days of Moses and listen in to hear God’s principles that transcend all of time.

What does it say?

Exodus 4:2 ESV
The Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” He said, “A staff.”

What does it mean

3 things

An Appeal “What is that in your hand?”

God calls you to his service.
He wants all of you and will use all of you.
Listen to God’s appeal to Moses - 2 things.

An appeal to surrender

“What is that in your hand?”
God wants all of us.
Do you give God everything?
He may ask:
for your time
for what is in your billfold
you share your story
or to start a fellowship in your home
God wants us to trust and submit.
Trust him for needs and submit when he asks “what is that in your hand?”
God wants our all, but never leaves us empty handed.

We must never forget that the word persevere comes from the prefix per, meaning through, coupled with the word severe. It means to keep pressing on, trusting God, looking up, doing our duty—even through severe circumstances.*

God puts you and I into his community of grace.
God loves you BIG TIME.
Sure, Jesus calls on us to give everything, but once we answer “yes” in faith, he gives us so much more.
Luke 12:28 ESV
But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!
God is not asking because he lacks anything.
God asks because he wants to give us everything.
God wants people to know his crazy, super, radical, and amazing love for us.
Yet, the only way we can receive all God has for us is by surrendering, in faith, all we have to him.

An appeal to submit

“What is that in your hand?”
God wants the very thing Moses is holding, what he possesses.
God does need what we hold, our possessions.
God wants wants our will.
The appeal to Moses is to his will, to submit to God.
Submission to God is obedience to God.
Many years ago in Russia a regiment of troops mutinied. They were at some distance from the capital, and were so furious that they murdered their officers, and resolved never to submit to discipline; but the emperor, who was an exceedingly wise and sagacious man, no sooner heard of it than, all alone and unattended, he went into the barracks where the men were drawn up, and, addressing them sternly, said to them: “Soldiers! you have committed such offenses against the law that every one of you deserves to be put to death. There is no hope of any mercy for one of you unless you lay down your arms immediately, and surrender at discretion to me, your emperor.” They did so, there and then. The emperor said at once: “Men, I pardon you; you will be the bravest troops I ever had.” And so they were. Now, this is just what God does with the sinner. The sinner has dared to rebel against God, and God says: “Now, sinner, you have done that which deserves My wrath. Ground your weapons of rebellion. I will not talk with you until you submit at discretion to My sovereign authority.” And then He says: “Believe in My Son; accept Him as your Savior. This done, you are forgiven, and henceforth you will be the most loving subjects that My hands have made.”
We’ve discussed God’s appeal to Moses to surrender and to submit.
Now let’s consider Moses’ response.

An Appraisal “A staff.”

That is Moses’ reply to God, “A staff.”
The staff is simply a shepherd’s crook, nothing more.
2 things

Appraisal of depravity

“A staff.”
Moses does not see anything special about a staff that it might serve the Lord.
Perhaps you don’t have some special ability that God can use?
Perhaps you are short on talent, not a gifted speaker, or not a teacher.
Some even go as far as thinking they seem useless, worthless, and work out ways to disqualify themselves.
The appraisal of sinful people is not what God recognizes in the one he fills with his Spirit.
Okay, so we see Moses’ appraisal.
Now, how does God see things?

Appraisal of Deity

God works on a different scale.
He makes us of things in ways we may not expect.
This staff, for example, has a great work ahead:
It is called the “staff of God” Ex 4:20 & 17:9
It is stretched toward Heaven and over Egypt in a prominent way during the miracles of a snake in Ex 9 & 10
We note it’s presence in the opening of the Red Sea in Ex 14:16
It’s used to strike the rock to provide water for the people in Ex 17
It is noted as lifted in the hands of Moses during the victory over the Amalekites (Ex 17)
Sure it’s just a staff, but yielded to God is can become great and powerful.
Do you recall the story of the boy with the few fish and little bread?
Too often the problem is not a matter of having enough, or what it takes, but a lack of surrender and submission.
Okay, so God is saying surrender and submit and I can do much more with that staff than you can ever imagine.
Now, the staff is not anything special.
It’s just a staff.
But, say it were something wicked?
Does that change the story?

An Admonition “What is that in your hand?”

This sounds the the question of an inquiring mother to a big-smiled son holding his hands behind his back.
It could be phrased, “are you holding something that you shouldn’t be holding?”
To and adult, it could even be, “Are you holding something unholy?
Things such as:
porn magazines, that includes internet
some drug or intended booze to make drunk
an intimate hold on someone other than a spouse
What does the Bible teach about holding onto evil things?
As the palmist relates:
Psalm 24:3–4 ESV
Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.
The Christian must let loose of all things unholy that defile us and dishonor God.
Now, back to what is really going on here.
God is asking Moses to give him everything, to surrender and submit without reservation.
We discussed both Moses’ & God’s appraisal of the staff.
Lastly we noted how God wants us to have clean hearts and minds.
No matter what angle we look at this verse, God wants us to give Him everything.
And, what is even more amazing, God says don’t even think of holding onto that wicked thing.
That, friends, is grace.
We may think God will not be happy with something we’re holding, thinking, or doing.
Let’s get this straight.
God is crazy in love with you.
He wants, more than anything, to show you his mercy.
So, don’t hold back any part of your life.
Don’t think it’s too small, not good enough, or not up to someone’s standard to be used by God.
You see, there is a Bible verse that brings this all together.
Romans 8:28 ESV
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
You see, God wants all of you and uses “all things.”
The little things, even the things that keep us away from Him.
Will you your surrender all?

What is God asking from me?

God is crazy in love with you and there is nothing to fear in giving him everything.
Is there a part of your life that seems too difficult to surrender?
The principle in our story today about the staff says God uses even the most insignificant to to the incredible.
Can you imagine God using you to to something huge in eternity because He can.
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