As I was pondering what to write for this blog, a question came to mind. I believe the question is from the Lord and He speaks it to every single one of us. He asks, “What is in your hand?”
I immediately went to read the scripture that this question comes from. It’s found in Exodus 4:1-17, but its verse 2 that the question comes to Moses and echoes out to you and me.
I feel prophetically God is asking, “What is in your hand?” And then asks if we will obediently and faithfully use those things to serve Him, His church and the city.
Perhaps, for some, it might mean letting go of something/s. For others, it might mean picking up new things. Maybe for someone else it simply means accepting your God-given call and living it out courageously; instead of running away or fighting that call. Once you have settled that, you will need to know how you can use these things to serve the Lord here at NBC and in Nelson. He has called you and I for such a time as this, to live here in Nelson and to be a part of Nelson Bays Church, serving Him with whole-hearted devotion and with everything we have.
Yet, like Moses, you and I may require more confirmation or Holy Spirit prompting to let go of something/s or to pick up new things and live out our God-call. And so what does the snake, the leprosy and the blood (from Exodus chapter 4) mean for you and I as we work this all out?
Firstly, the snake! God takes the stick Moses has in his hand and turns it into a snake. He then tells Moses to pick up the snake by the tail. Moses obeys, but instead of biting him the snake turns back into a stick. What’s the lesson here? Our God-call requires total dependence upon God. Whom He calls, He anoints and equips. It’s not about us and its never us when we achieve success in living out His call. It’s all Him! And to successfully live out your God-call requires that you press into Him fully so that He can use you fully. We need Him, He doesn’t need us. He chooses to use us to achieve His purposes and reach this world. What a privilege!
Secondly, God tells Moses to place his hand under his cloak and bring it out, which he does. To his shock and horror his hand is full of leprosy. Having leprosy was a stigma you couldn’t run away from. You were isolated and rejected. In Moses’s day, lepers were sent outside the city to die. If you didn’t die, you came back with a part of your body missing. Now Moses has leprosy and he is afraid of even more rejection and isolation. But God tells him to put his hand back under his cloak and when he does, he pulls it out totally healed. What’s the lesson for us here? I believe that God wants us to remember that once we were sinners in need of a loving Saviour, and like us, many others in our city need to meet Him. I believe He is teaching us that no one is unclean or so sinful that we can’t reach out to them. I believe He wants us to lay down our prejudices and pre-conceived thinking about different sectors of society (and deal with our fear of contamination or our fear of a particular type of person); and He wants us to deal with any hidden racism or favouritism (we all have our preference of person we would rather spend time with). He is reminding us that we have a city full of people, like us and very different to us, on their way to an eternity without Him; unless we find the courage to let go of our issues and pick up His call to “Go and make disciples of ALL people.” And, all, means all. All people need Him! And you and I have the answer to that need, JESUS!
Thirdly, what about the blood? What’s the lesson for us? Blood was spilt so that we could be saved and brought into relationship with Jesus. To me, blood speaks about sacrifice! It speaks of paying the price to live out the call of God for our lives and not choosing convenience or comfort. The blood speaks to me about making every effort (blood, sweat and tears) to ensure that I stay the course. That I start strong this year and I finish strong. It means that I am disciplined (dying to self every moment of every day) and I spend time with the One who refreshes me, renews my strength, envisions me, and empowers me for every task He calls me to. That means I set a daily portion of my time to sit in His presence, reading the Word, praying, worshipping etc. It means I prioritise life group and church and say no to the things that will distract me from that. Whilst these things don’t make me a Christian, they make me an effective Christian because of all the encouragement and support I receive in those moments. As a result, I am better able to reflect Jesus to my city, to my co-workers, to my family and friends; and I am better equipped to share my faith with others.
I hope in 2018 you and I will respond to our God-call with renewed discipline and faithful obedience. I pray that at the end of this year it won’t be self-doubt, self-recriminations, disobedience, sin, growing anxiety or a sense of failure that defines us; but rather we will hear these beautiful words from heaven resounding loud and clear, “Well done! Well done my good and faithful son/daughter. You heard my call and you used what was in your hand faithfully and obediently for me. I am well pleased.”