2020 has been a wild year. As we mourn the injustice of systemic racism, navigate through unemployment, and fight the ongoing battle of COVID-19, my heart, at times, has questioned the Lord’s sovereignty. In the midst of so much tragedy, I keep coming back to the same question with the Lord.
“What are you up to?”
Throughout the last few months, He keeps bringing me back to Exodus 4. That’s where I want to camp out in today.
But first, I want to recap Exodus 2 and 3. God has divinely encountered Moses through a burning bush in the wilderness. He tells Moses that He is going to free the Israelites who have been enslaved by the Egyptians for 400 years. Through signs and wonders, He promises to lead them back into the Promised Land of Canaan. In Exodus 3, God tells Moses to return to his homeland and make a petition to Pharaoh, requesting that the Israelites be allowed a three days journey into the wilderness to make sacrifices to God.
In Exodus 4:1-5, Moses responds to God,
“Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?” Then the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” “A staff,” he replied. The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.” Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. Then the Lord said to him, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.” So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand. “This,” said the Lord, “is so 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.”
This is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible because it’s the moment that God took a mundane, ordinary object, and breathed life and power into it. This same staff turned the Nile River into blood and produced water from a rock. It transformed into a snake at God’s command. When held up, the Red Sea parted and the Israelites were victorious over the Amalekites.
Moses’s staff is arguably one of the greatest power objects of all time, but it didn’t start out this way. As I meditated on this chapter, I was struck with a realization:
Moses had his staff for years. He used it in his occupation as a shepherd to guide and steer the sheep. When wild beasts approached, it became a defense mechanism to protect the flock. Up until the burning bush encounter, it was just an ordinary stick serving an ordinary purpose.
But when the Presence of the Lord entered the scene, He took what was ordinary and made it a weapon of righteousness. He didn’t give Moses a new weapon, or spiritual gift. He told Moses to take what he already held in his hands, and surrender it for kingdom purposes.
I find this same concept to be true in our own lives. More often than not, God’s desire is not to give us something new, but to ignite the skills and gifts we already possess.
We each hold a staff that we’ve carried inside of us our entire lives. And just like Moses, I believe it lies dormant until an appointed time. If you study revival history, you’ll find that spiritual gifts are activated and unleashed during times of great crisis. I believe the moment of activation is upon us now.
The world needs your staff. You possess gifts hidden inside of you that God wants to unleash right now in 2020. Over the course of time, God has revealed to me that my staff is my voice. Maybe your staff is music, healing, mercy ministries, public speaking, or spiritual warfare. Perhaps your staff is as simple as having influence over small pockets of people.
I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of referring to revival like its future tense. If we really want to see the manifest Presence of the Lord sweep our country, and heal our land, we must fan into flame the gifts of God right now. We must ask the Lord to show us what our staff is and fan it into flame. Paul says to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:6,
“For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.”
Timothy didn’t feel qualified to lead the church in Ephesus, but Paul gently reminds him that he already has everything he needs through the power of the Holy Spirit. The only thing Timothy needed to do was fan it into flame.
Further on, in 2 Timothy 2:14, Paul tells Timothy, to guard the good deposit entrusted to him. How incredible is it to be entrusted a sacred gift from the Lord? But what are we doing with that gift? Are we putting it on the shelve in false humility, or are we fanning it into flame in total expectancy?
As the giant, open wound of racial injustice bleeds across our country like the Red Sea, we cannot back down from engaging in social reform and systemic racism conversations. We cannot look upon the Red Sea of COVID-19 and turn our backs and ignore it.
Each time I ask the Lord what He’s up to in 2020, and how I can play a part in ushering in the next Great Awakening, I hear Him say these simple words.
“Take up your staff, and do my wonders.”
God wants the Church to act. He wants us to barge right into the midsts of violent waters, and call raging seas to be still by the power of His healing Presence. As we feel the tremble of revival sweep across our land, His arm extends towards us, and in His hand is a staff. Placing the staff in our hands, He invites us to raise it up and use it as weapons of righteousness in His Holy War. Today you have an invitation to respond. Will you let Him turn your ordinary into His extraordinary?