THE ROD FOR SHEEP, SNAKES, AND THE SEA – Final Part

shepherd staffWe see that after the much drama that took place in Egypt, Pharaoh eventually released the Israelites to begin their uncertain journey, which even Moses did not know the route. He kept on telling Pharaoh that God wanted His children to go and sacrifice to Him in the wilderness, a case that the Bible didn’t mention in Moses’ several conversations with God. Moses got a release order with a cloud of uncertainty as to the real direction he was to lead the multitude through. However, he didn’t have much to worry about, as the one who had performed extreme signs was capable of leading them out and taking them into their promised land. I can imagine the air of discomfort that hovered over Moses every time he went to his kinsmen and boasted that there is a promised land which was their final destination. Did someone ever ask him for a map of the route they were going to take? Did people ever wonder where he appeared from forty years after he disappeared from Egypt with no clues to his whereabouts? Let’s face it! It surely was not that easy for Moses to wake up and stand before this people who have known no other place than Egypt for over 400 hundred years. To convince them that they will have to leave their present zone, no matter how uncomfortable it was, to move to a location he called the Promised Land was a tough task. Moses Himself had never been to the place, neither anyone he was leading. So he not only had to lead the people, he had to lead himself.

Fast forward. They are now exited from bondage and breathe the air of freedom. They are not just laden with their properties, but with much wealth as God had promised. Now was the important task of where to go and what direction was the course. The story clearly tells us that God did not lead them through the shortest distance to the Promised Land; a route that ran through the territory of the Philistines, a belligerent people. He directs them instead towards the Red Sea. The story shows that Pharaoh suddenly woke up from his slumber and wondered how on earth he let those Israelites escape. He began pursuing them and the children of Israel heard about this. How on earth will Moses convince them that their lives were not in danger? They have lived in the constant fear of Egypt that suddenly every knowledge of the display of God’s power suddenly fizzled from their memories, and fear overcame them. Yet Moses was again called to task in delivering the word from God to a people that we railing invectives accusations against him. Moses just stood there and wondered how he was just doing his business and got intercepted by God. For no fault of his own the people had turned against him and his prophecy for a moment seemed to fall through and his ability to conjure up something strange again had ebbed. He had successfully found a profession, was diligent at it, and was made to stand before a king. He was successful as he swallowed up the thing that could have had him swallowed up, all by the rod. Now what?

It may interest you to know that the Red Sea was a salty sea just over 190 miles (300 km) across at its widest point, and about 1,200 miles (1,900 km) in length. There’s a measured maximum depth of 8,200 feet (2,500 m), and an estimated average depth of 1,640 feet (500 m). So this was not a stream or some lake they were going to confront, it was something huge. Moses himself had not confronted that kind of challenge before and he only follow God’s plan to this point. Where were they going to get boats that will transport over 600, 000 men alone, then their families, their cattle, and all their goods? They probably needed something like over a thousand ocean liners to begin the journey and how could that be. Well my modern mind may never comprehend appropriately what the nature of the challenge was, but believe me that it is not as sweetly sung as we often read it to be. Imagine the children crying, the mothers wailing, and the fathers downcast. Moses had real trouble in his hands. But something else was in his hands; something he was already familiar with.

In front of the red sea, Moses reassures the people about God’s deliverance. But deep down within this amiable leader, I am not so sure about his confidence on the next move. He knew God would do it, but like any of us, we want the details of the plan way before hand. We search for the answers without and hope to gain foreknowledge of what to do, and this usually makes us insensitive to what we carry in our hands. When Moses turned to God, He replied him “why are you crying unto me?” This was a surprising answer from God. As usual He could have told Moses what to being his servant. But this time, it was Moses’ problem to solve, as God had already equipped him for that challenge. He faced God, but God says He wasn’t the problem, the Red Sea was. And like the Sheep and the Snake, the Rod is sufficient for them all. God had always told him to take the Rod wherever he went, and could this time be different? Not at all! The Rod was ‘the stuff’ that was sufficient for his profession, his enemies, and his challenges. Just a stretch of that Rod parted the Red Sea and the people went on dry land. I usually walk 4km in one hour. But this walk was about a 300km walk, which means it will take an average of 75 days to cross over. We look at this lightly because we read it over a sentence in the Bible. But this was an enormous challenge they overcame by the move of the Rod.

This is where I am heading. Whatever you lay down before God, He will use it to give you victory in three areas of your life: your work, your enemies, and your challenges. I have come to liken Moses’ Rod, or staff as some may call it, to my will. The one thing which cannot be encroached upon by God and man is our will power. We will always have to cast it down before God if He is going to use it. Moses had to cast it down. It took some faith to do that because he was in an insecure place. What if something bad was going to happen to him at that instance, and the burning bush dazzle was just a hoax. He had lost his one thing so defense. But with God you lose nothing, but gain mastery over all situations. Every time I lay down my will in a tough place, I may not always see clearly what the next move will be, but I have never suffered defeat. From the work of my hands, to the things that hate me and want me down and out, and to every challenge I meet, I am always victorious over them all. Why? I’ve got a Rod in my hand. I gave it to God, and He gave it back to me, but this time with power in it. The Rod signifies to total commitment to God, and your total dedication to Him. When you cast your Rod before Him, it means you have given Him everything, and it is that very thing He will use to see you through to His promise for you. The is much more that Moses did with his Rod, like striking the rock for water, but that is a discussion for another time. The question I simply want to pitch to you is: What’s that you have in your hands? God can use it when you turn it over to Him.

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