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  • Writer's pictureElpidio Pezzella

What You Have

So the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” He said, “A rod”. And He said, “Cast it on the ground”. So he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it.

(Exodus 4:2-3 NKJV)

When he received God's call, Moses raised a series of objections in an attempt to break free. First, he highlighted his condition as an old man and a lonely man. God encourages him not to base on his abilities, but on the fact that he would be with him. Then he wanted information on who was sending him. Despite the answers, he remained uncertain and doubtful. How far can we doubt clear divine declarations? Moses continues to object. While God, with patience and grace, carries out his purpose without discarding the fugitive. In our passage, in fact, he presents another one, namely that the people would neither believe nor obey him (v. 1). To strengthen Moses' faith and strengthen his self-esteem, God gave him three signs, that is, three miracles to perform, to show that he was really sent by Him. The first sign was a double miracle: by throwing the staff to the ground, this became a snake. Then, taking the snake by the tail, he returned to the state of a stick. As a second sign, Moses had to put his hand under his clothes, at chest height. When he took her out, he was covered in leprosy. Putting it back in and out, his hand was completely pure. Finally, the third sign was to turn the water of the Nile into blood.

Each of these wonders could inspire different reflections. God never reveals himself in the crowd, but he goes in search of "lonely" people, without conditioning or distraction. I like it so much that He goes out to meet those who have no one, those who flee ... who do not yet have the strength to do what torments them. Like me, like you, like us !? On this occasion I would like to dwell on the objection described in our text. God does not ask Moses to look around him or away, but to focus his gaze on himself. We are looking for a solution when it is already in our possession. "What do you have in your hands?" A lonely man, leading a flock, what can he have? A rod, a dry branch, on which to lean and with which to touch the sheep and defend oneself from some fair. Nothing in particular. Simply insignificant and lifeless. But what is small for you, God takes it and transforms it, manifesting all a potential hitherto ignored. That stick will be the trusted friend, the one to lean on in the moment of weakness. It will also be the arm of God at work, the one capable of manifesting a supernatural power.

The moment he threw him to the ground and saw him transform into a snake, the shepherd's reaction was to run away. The encounter with the unknown arouses apprehension and fear, and when we are unable to discern what is happening we prefer to escape. Instead, God challenges us to take matters into our own hands. In fact, in verse 4 we can read that the Lord said to Moses: "Stretch out your hand and take him by the tail". I don't dare to imagine what must have gone through his mind at that moment. I am glad that he did not hesitate, but in a determined and convinced way he obeyed: "He stretched out his hand and took it, and in his hand it became a rod". Both actions bring about an event. A stick is a piece of dead wood, incapable of doing anything in itself, but the moment it is thrown to the ground, in obedience to the divine word, it comes to life. Moses too, like each of us, was without strength, unable to do anything, a dry stick, but in the hands of God he would take life and power. Jesus asked the same question to the disciples who were frightened in front of the hungry crowd. And the few loaves and few fish were sufficient and abundant. I want to encourage you to give proper value to what is already in your power. Probably what you are looking for is already in your possession and you just have to use it.

Weekly Bible Reading

Plan # 45

November 01, Jeremiah 24-26; Titus 2

November 02, Jeremiah 27-29; Titus 3

November 03, Jeremiah 30-31; Philemon

November 04, Jeremiah 32-33; Hebrews 1

November 05, Jeremiah 34-36; Hebrews 2

November 06, Jeremiah 37-39; Hebrews 3

November 07, Jeremiah 40-42; Hebrews 4


Photo by Christer Rønning Austad,

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