When Man’s Staff Becomes God’s Staff

“Behold, He struck the rock so that waters gushed out, and streams were overflowing…” (Psalm 78:20)

Wait.  I thought Moses struck the rock?  But the psalmist says that God struck it!

The staff of Moses had become the staff of God.

When God met Moses in the desert and commissioned him to go back to Egypt, Moses asked, “What if the people will not believe that You have sent me?” (Exod 4:1) 

God’s answer was interesting: “What is that in your hand?”  To which Moses replied, “A staff.”  Then God said, “Throw it on the ground.”  And you will remember that the staff immediately became a serpent.  This was the first miracle that God performed through the staff of Moses, but certainly not the last.

A quick reference to Exodus 17 gives the specific details of the event of the rock that gave forth water:

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pass before the people and take with you
some of the elders of Israel; and take in your hand your staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.”
(Exodus 17:5-6)

The staff of Moses represented his authority and leadership.  Moses was consecrated to God.  He was fully surrendered.  Forty years earlier he was zealous but presumptuous.  Now everything about Moses belonged to God. 

He had become God’s man.  His own reputation meant nothing anymore.  His plans, his property, his dreams…all were surrendered to the Living God.

When everything you are and everything you have belongs to God, everything God is and has is readily available to you.

I think that this is the missing key to great power and authority before God.  I suggest that the need of the hour is not so much for greater faith, though faith is certainly important.  But faith is not mainly about how to get God to do what we want Him to do.  The desperate need in our day is for men and women to be absolutely given over to God.  

There have been a handful of times in my life when I have seen miracles of biblical proportion.  But there have been countless times when I’ve  done everything I knew how to do to coerce one of these miracles out of God – unsuccessfully.  And I think the common denominator in the days of power has been an incredible awareness that everything I was doing was in direct obedience to what God had told me to do.

I remember an encounter I had with a mad man in a jail one time.  I was locked inside the jail cell with eight prisoners and was leading a Bible study with most of them.  Suddenly a crazy man came flying out of one of the bunk rooms, screaming at me, flailing his arms and telling the others that, “This man is lying to you.  What he is telling you is not in that Book.”  He got right up in my face and was screaming.  His body was tattooed from end to end, his hair was to the middle of his back.  He was mean and tough and I was scared.  My main thought was, “God, will these other prisoners pull him off of me or will I die today?”  My mind was racing with thoughts like, “Be sure to cover your vital organs as he beats and kicks you. You might survive if you do this.” 

I didn’t know what to do.  But I knew I was there because God had placed me in that role.  I decided to call on the name of the Lord…out loud…so the other men would know where my hope was.  I prayed out, “God, help me, I need your grace right now.  Give me wisdom….”  In the next second a strong and clear thought flashed through my mind, “Take authority over the spirit of rebellion.”

So I just opened my mouth and obeyed, “You spirit of rebellion, in the name of Jesus Christ I command you to be silent and to cease your wicked works in this place.”

I do not exaggerate any of this.  As quickly as those simple words left my mouth, every man in that jail cell saw a miracle of God’s authority.  It was like an invisible hand from heaven suddenly seized that wild man.  He shut up immediately and walked directly to the far corner of the room and crawled up into a fetal position on the floor!  

Everybody in the room looked at me with eyes wide open.  I think I was as surprised as they were (great man of faith that I am…)  I told the guys, “Well, glory to God, we see that Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth.”

We had a pretty good meeting after that.  The demon’s attempts to silence the man of God turned out to be his undoing.

My staff had become the staff of God. When I opened my mouth in words of heavenly authority, God was literally standing with me.  In a very real sense, Jesus Himself was speaking through my mouth.  And the devil knew that it was Jesus that stood against him. He was powerless to resist.

I think one of the main reasons God became incarnate in humanity in the person of Jesus Christ was that He desired a human body that would do all of His will.  Jesus has made it possible for us to be restored to a right relationship with the Father.  Through the salvation and reconciliation that is in Christ, let us therefore passionately and obediently become the kind of men and women that are fully given to Him.  Help us, oh Lord.  Amen.

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