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What's in Your Hand?

Exodus 4:2 "And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod."

Sometimes instead of man asking God questions, God asks man questions. His asking is not because He does not know; His questions are rhetorical, to make a point. In Exodus 4, God did not ask Moses about what was in his hand so that He (God) would know-He asked Moses so that Moses would know.

Often we picture Moses with a striking, powerful rod, along with his flowing beard and white hair. We associate the rod with his persona from pictures and characterizations. But Moses' rod was just a plain, ordinary rod any shepherd would have had. Can't you almost hear Moses answer God? "Um, a . . . rod?"

God's question to Moses is a good question for us today. What is in your hand? Whatever it may be, it largely depends on the abilities and responsibilities that God has given you. And it is up to God to make sure both the ability and the responsibility are balanced. You will never be a good steward of that which is in your hand until you know what it is. Likewise, if your abilities and your responsibilities are not balanced-that is, what you can do and what you should do-you cannot be a good steward of God's gifts.

What was in Moses' hand? A rod with significance, not because of Moses, but because of the God of Moses. The rod would not later part the Red Sea, nor would Moses. God parted the sea, and He did it through Moses and through a rod.

Notice the progress in the chapter. God first asks Moses about what is in his hand, and Moses calls it "a rod." In verse 17, God tells Moses to take "this rod," and then in verse 20, the Bible says, "and Moses took the rod of God in his hand." Was Moses' rod the rod of God? It was now!

The rod was in some ways a metaphor for Moses himself. God was teaching Moses about Moses by using his rod. You can either use what is in your hand, or you can abuse it. Later on, God used this same rod in Moses' hands to give water from a rock (Exodus 17). What happened later when Moses was the one using the rod, and he struck the rock instead of speaking to it? When he was obedient, God did what only He could do. When Moses rebelled, he abused the rod and only bad things happened.

Today, what is in your hand? It is not "a rod," nor is it "this rod," but it is God's rod!

The story is told of a master violinist who was to play a great concert with a very expensive European violin. The concert hall was packed as the crowd stirred with anticipation and excitement. The master violinist finally emerged from backstage and began playing his first arrangement. It was beautiful, stirring, moving, and exciting. When he was finished, the crowd erupted into applause-an ovation like none other.

After several minutes, when the crowd finally settled down, the master violinist promptly took the violin, stepped to the front of the stage, and smashed the violin against the stage! The crowd gasped and sat stunned-until the master violinist went to another violin case on the stage, pulled out the $5000 violin, and finished the concert. The violin he smashed was purchased at a pawn shop for $20! You see, no one came to the concert hall that night to hear a $5000 violin; they came to hear the master violinist.
With God, the ordinary things are made extraordinary; the natural are made supernatural. May God help us to realize what is in our hand today and let the Master use it.

The Bible's Most Misused Verse

"...Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." Matthew 25:40
The Bible is very clear that Christians should help those in need. However, many verses in the New Testament admonishing Believers to feed and clothe widows and orphans can be interpreted numerous ways in our modern society.

I came across an article written by Marvin Olasky who examines how Matthew 25:40 is used to justify both massive welfare programs and Church-focused ministries that meet the spiritual and physical needs of those in need. He explains:
Helping widows, orphans, the sick, and others who temporarily cannot help themselves, is fine, but anything more than that is an anti-biblical trap into which some evangelicals are falling.

Since the 1960s, Christians have debated the lure of the secular socialists to support Big Government welfare programs to help the poor, widows, and orphans. Unless we are careful, support of these programs can lead to a worship of government over God.
When looking at verses on this subject, Olasky notes that the Bible must viewed in its entirety. Arguments for expensive welfare programs are easily justified by picking one or two select scriptures. However, when all scripture is considered, particularly verses in Proverbs, Christians should be wary of secular socialist welfare programs.
Read the entire article of Marvin Olasky's view of The Bible's Most Misused Verse.

"I AM"

Exodus 3:14"And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you."

What would you ask God if you could ask Him three questions today and receive straight, clear, immediate answers? The truth is, you would probably ask the wrong questions. You are better of to let God answer the questions you should have today-and He already has.

Moses asks a good question in Exodus 3:11. "Who am I, that I should. . . ." Stated in a declaration, Moses says, "I cannot do this, God." And that was true; Moses had no power, no influence, and no way to execute God's plan. Previously to this, Moses had seen two Jewish men fighting, and he could not even get those two men from his own country to follow him, much less a whole nation.

But God never answers Moses' question; He does answer the question that Moses should have asked. In verse 12, God says, "Certainly I will. . . .", and in verse 14, He says, "I AM." Whatever may be your question of "am I", God's answer is "I AM." You may wonder today, "How am I _____?" God's answer is, "I AM." What am I to do about _____? "I AM." When am I _____? "I AM."

It is not about us; it is about God working through people like us. "Who am I?" or "Look at me" will both lead you astray. It is not as though you will impress God with what you have-He gave you everything you have.

For everything you are not, and for everything you need, God says, "I AM." That means He is the Eternally Existent and All-Sufficient One, the Creator of the universe. And you can trust His answer to your questions today!

Valuing Disposition Over Position

The following is excerpted from the sermon “Real Answers for Fundamentalists” by Jim Van Gelderen, March 2005:
“[It is said that young fundamentalists ‘value disposition as much as position.’] I have heard folks say of previous generations of fundamentalists that they had the right position but the wrong disposition. An unpleasant disposition could be Word-based and Spirit-led or it could be carnal and fleshly. Let me look at some unpleasant countenances that are Spirit-led. I want to ask you a question: what is the wrong disposition? A frown? Anger? Proverbs 25:23 says, ‘The north wind driveth away rain: so doth an angry countenance a backbiting tongue.’ When somebody comes to you, talking about your pastor, what God wants you to do is really look mean. Just put a huge frown on your face. You will be biblical! Do you see that, folks? Look at Mark 3:5, ‘And when he had looked round about on them with anger...’ Who are we talking about there? Jesus. Look at Revelation 6, ‘And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb.’ What kind of a disposition do you think His face will have that day? ‘And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away...’ Can you imagine Jesus cleansing the temple and afterwards his disciples said, ‘Man alive, that was a wonderful disposition’? Do you think He was smiling? Now folks, all I’m pointing out is that the dispositions are not the real issue. The issue is, did God lead you? Have you ever frowned at your kids? This may shock some of you, but I remember times where my father disciplined me and he wasn’t smiling. He was one of those old fundamentalists that had the right position but he had the wrong disposition. Isn’t that ridiculous thinking? When I stand in the pulpit I’m not thinking about disposition; I’m thinking, ‘Am I being led of the Spirit?’ Granted, God’s not going to give you an angry disposition for the rest of your life; it will probably be a very small percentage of your life; but there are times that an angry disposition is led of the Lord. A pleasant disposition can be compromise or it can be Word-based and Spirit-filled. The focus should be on God’s will and not on what disposition we have.”