This is an excerpt from Dana's journal he wrote a few years ago.
"And the Lord said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod." Exodus 4:2
On the surface this question that God asked Moses seems so unimportant and out of context when you consider what was taking place.
Moses is standing atop Mount Sinai looking into a bush that is burning but is not being consumed, having an audible conversation with Holy God! And this conversation was not your normal everyday chat, not that any with Almighty God is, but this was a divine appointment which God had set up to tell Moses of His will for his life.
This is where Moses would learn of God's plan to use him as His instrument to return to Egypt, free the captive Hebrews and lead them to The Promised Land. And as Moses stands there barefoot and shaking, God explains to Moses how all of this will unfold and how He will not only cause Pharaoh to let His people go, but that He will also place it in the hearts of the enslaved Hebrews to recognize Moses as God's messenger and follow him.
So for the readers or hearers of this great event some might say, "What does it matter what Moses is holding in his hand at a time like this, he's speaking to God!" But for Moses he understood the depth of the question. He knew God was about to change his identity again, and the thought of this shook him to his core. As Moses considered this piercing question I believe there was a pause in his answer, and I can see in my mind's eye his rough and weathered hand grip that shepherd's staff ever so tightly as a thousand memories flooded his mind, and he must have thought, "Oh no, not again!"
Moses was no stranger to change, he had been through several in his lifetime and each event was radical. To help us understand the identity crisis of Moses, here is a brief summary of his life that leads up to his face to face encounter with God.
He was born a Hebrew, placed in a basket in the river to avoid being killed by the Egyptians, only to be discovered by the daughter of Pharaoh who wants him as her son. She then tasked Moses' own mother, a slave, to raise the child as an Egyptian in the house of Pharaoh. As an adult he observed a soldier mistreating a slave and killed him and hid him in the sand. At this point he's thinking this slave is grateful and sees this slaying as a noble deed of one Hebrew to another and that his secret is safe, but not so! Moses discovers word is traveling fast and that it is just a matter of time before he is arrested and prosecuted by the Egyptians.
He now realizes he is not welcome or accepted by either the Hebrew children, who are his natural ancestors, or his adopted Egyptian family. So he flees the country to avoid execution and finds himself in Midian where he meets his wife and becomes the shepherd of his father-in-law's herd.
...And you thought your life had taken some strange twists!
This was now the life and identity that Moses would embrace for the next forty years. He was content to be known as the husband of Zipporah, father of Gershom, shepherd of Jethro, and to live out his life here in this foreign land.
But God had other plans.
...Stay tuned until tomorrow...
I love you & He loves you more!
Lord, Thank You for change. I have had many an identity crisis in my life and I know Your not finished with me yet. Help me to be obedient to serve You and be who You would have me be. In Jesus' name. Amen.