You can’t listen fast. At least I can’t. Especially when listening for God’s voice.
So I appreciated extended time to listen during our Writer’s Day Away as I read my Bible. I read Exodus 4, and then I took time to notice the verses that stood out to me … and the cadence of them: 1 … 2 … 12 … 21 as though marching to attract my attention. Yes, Lord, I prayed, I want to walk in step with Your Spirit. What stands out, I recognize as God’s voice speaking. And with extra time, I prayerfully processed what I heard. Then Moses answered, “What if they won’t believe me and will not obey me but say, ‘The LORD did not appear to you’?” (Exodus 4:1 HCSB)
What if? I thought of a list of what-ifs that come from predicting, fearing, and projecting the future without God.
- What if they don’t obey me?
- What if they question my calling?
- What if they reject me?
- What if they refute me, saying, ‘The LORD did not appear to you’?
I noticed all those what-ifs focused on others, “What if they…” But there are also what-ifs based only on me:
- What if I don’t get the desired results?
- What if I can’t accomplish the outcomes?
- What if I obey You, God, and it doesn’t work out? The LORD asked him, “What is that in your hand?” “A staff,” he replied. (Exodus 4:2)
God did not necessarily rebut, refute, or reassure Moses, but instead of asking, “What if,” God asked the question, “What is…?”
- “What is that in your hand?”
- What are you holding onto?
- Perhaps, what is the truth?
- Or, what is it that you believe?
Moses knew what he had: a staff. It was ordinary, yet God transformed it into a miraculous and terrifying sign by turning it into a snake, so that Moses and the people would see it and believe God (verses 3-5).
Moses ran in fear at first, but God required him to reach out and grab the snake – that which he feared. And as Moses obeyed, the snake transformed back into a staff, useful in his hand.
- God is able to use what is ordinary for the extraordinary, including us.
- God can take our common work and useful possessions and transform them into miraculous signs so that we and others believe and worship Him.
- God helps us face our fears, and He transforms them to be useful tools to us as we place our confidence in Him.
- God required Moses to stretch out his hand, and like Moses, sometimes we would rather run from than reach for things that stretch our faith.
- God can use even what causes fear in us and transform it into something that will cause us to fear Him for the right reasons.
- God knows the end from the beginning; He is able to do what He says He will do.
- God requires us to go forward in faith, and we can overcome fear, for He is trustworthy.
“Now go! I will be with you, help you speak and I will teach you what to say.” (Exodus 4:12)
- God will prepare us.
- God determines outcomes, not us.
- We just need to obey and step out and speak in faith, trusting He will provide.
- We’re not responsible for outcomes, but for obedience.
“…Make sure you do all the wonders I have put within your power…”
- God provides the power and the wonders
- We provide the obedience in doing all He has called us to (and even that with the help of His Holy Spirit!)
Dear Father God, please help me protect time with You, trust You and obey, doing all you have put within my power – and then trusting Your power for the outcome that only You can bring, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
(This meditation was written by Lisa Walkendorf. Her graphics are from Google images, but the last four photos are hers, taken on a recent trip with her family to Israel in September, 2016. Scripture from the NIV unless otherwise noted. Thank you, Lisa!)