what is that in your hand? // Exodus 4:2

Originally published Monday, 06 June 2016.

The Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” He said, “A staff.” And he said, “Throw it on the ground.” So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent, and Moses ran from it.  But the Lord said to Moses, “Put out your hand and catch it by the tail”—so he put out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand— “that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.” Exodus 4:3-5

Moses was concerned if the people would believe him, and God responded to his doubts with His own question:

“So, what’s that in your hand?”

What an interesting exchange. While Moses mulled over the what ifs, God directed his attention back to the present and the practical – the staff held in his hand.

This was an ordinary staff, a peasant shepherd’s staff. No longer was Moses a prince with a fancy scepter. Just a shepherd.

But, this image is beautiful, with the marks of a sovereign, purposeful God all over it. After all, God had Moses train as a shepherd forty years in Midian, then asked him to round up his people and take them to another land, a task familiar for a shepherd.

And now, how would this divine work be proven to the masses and to Moses? With the very common, everyday instrument already in Moses’ hands.

Are you wondering today about your calling and your purpose? Maybe you’re looking too far past the obvious. What have you already been trained in? And, what’s in your hand?

Sometimes we expect something more spiritual, perhaps. We might feel we need to trade out our staff or spreadsheets or stethoscope in order to really be used in God’s great purpose.

It’s hard to imagine that an infinitely glorious God would commission the common in us and around us for His purpose. But He does.

The mundane and messy and miraculous are equal tools in God's sovereign hands.


Dear Jesus, thank you for your glorious ways that are so above us - yet you consistently meet us where we are. Thank for your how you train and mold us for your purpose, not asking more than what you've already provided or promise to provide. Help us to trust you as we step out in faith. In your name, Jesus, amen.

31 Days of Purpose: Devotions from the early life of Moses

From a boat-basket to a burning bush, Moses’ call to leadership is filled with everyday people and situations, all divinely orchestrated for God's divine purpose. As we study the early years of Moses, we see a consistent theme of God raising up the unlikely and transforming the average with His anointing. That's me, and that's you - common people, yet commissioned for a high calling. Let's step into it this month, together. Click here for the whole series.