John McDowell, Australia
What is that in thine hand? God put this question to Moses in Exodus chapter 4 verse 2, after he made the objection, "they will not believe me." His experience recorded in Exodus chapter 2 verse 14, gave him an insight into the hearts of the people, who as Stephen traces their history in Acts 7, were characterized by disobedience and opposition to Gods purpose for them. They rejected Joseph, they rejected Moses and finally they rejected Christ and silenced the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking through Stephen.
Firstly, let us briefly notice Gods answer to Moses in the signs which He gave him. The rod became a serpent, which Moses took by the tail as commanded. The leprous hand from his bosom was healed, and the water became blood, teaching Moses that the One who sent him, was in complete control and can give power over the Serpent, the Devil, can cleanse the depraved flesh and can change the course of nature. Although we have the same threefold enemy, the world, the flesh and the Devil, God is all sufficient and enables us to overcome.
Let us consider the question, "What is that in thine hand?" How slow we often are to recognize that God is able to use just what we have. Many of us may seem to feel if we were more gifted, or if we were in different circumstances or if we had greater resourses then we would be able to serve God better. How good to know that God takes up the weak things, base things, things which are despised, even foolish things and things which are not, to bring to nought the things which are. The question is, are we willing? We all know the necessity of clean hands. The priests must wash their hands, both as they went into the sanctuary and as they return to approach the altar, and the Apostle reminds us of the lifting up of holy hands. Those same priestly hands which were washed, are full of sweet incense in Leviticus chapter 16 verse 12, and that washed hand was to take the fine flour and place it upon the altar. We remember on the day of their consecration, blood was placed upon the thumb of the right hand and the oil also. How significant that those hands were also filled on the day of their consecration. Those ten items placed upon the hands of the priests, Leviticus chapter 8 verses 25 to 27, would remind us that they could not handle other things. Too many are trying to handle Divine things and at the same time handle worldly things, which is impossible for one who is truly consecrated. Sometimes I marvel at how much some men, like the Apostle Paul, can handle for God. When you read of his prayer life you might ask how had he time for anything else? When you read of his travels, how did he find time for other things? He certainly must not have spent much time sightseeing! When you read of his preaching and the assemblies he saw planted, how did he put so much into so few years?
The answer is, he was truly consecrated to God. May we realize that if we are going to leave our mark for God, then we must be completely devoted, fully consecrated, our hands filled with divine service. There are too many with divided allegience and divided affections and divided interests.
Gideons men had their hands filled, each man had a lamp in his left hand and a trumpet in his right hand. They had already been tested at the water and it was evident they were not consumed with their own interests. How different these men were from those described in 2 Timothy chapter 3 "lovers of their own selves" whose interests were their own interests. Isnt it lovely to read of Paul, Timothy and Epaphroditus in Philippians chapter 2, who like their Blessed Lord, were completly devoted to Gods interests.
May the Lord help us to follow the example of Gideons three hundred men who went out to battle. There is no record of a sword in their hand, but holding high the lamp of testimony, in faith they blew the trumpet and God gave the victory.
Joshuas victory over Amalek was attributed to uplifted hands.
Is one reason for defeat today that our hands are hanging down? May we search our hearts before God; are our hands clean? Are our hands filled? Are our hands uplifted? Are we willing to put at Gods disposal that which we have in our hand?