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What Is In Your Hand?

What is in your hand?

Exploring the idea of Obedience as Key to Divine Provision

Through the years my dad has shared many stories of how God had practically provided for him in strange and interesting ways.  He told me about once when he and another pastor-friend of his had to drive from Johannesburg to speak at a conference in Zimbabwe. They would leave early one morning, in a time where there were neither cell phones nor GPS’s. He drove to John Cooksey’s house, they put his suitcase in the car and they were off. As they took the first turn, John startled him by saying: “Turn back, turn back please, I forgot something!” My dad turned the car around without asking what he had forgotten, stopped at his house and his friend jumped out of the car, opened the garage door, scratched around for a bit and came out with a piece of rubber pipe. He put it behind his seat and they drove off. My dad decided it’s probably better not to ask what all that was about, put it behind him and they drove to the conference. Several days later, after a very successful conference had run its’ course, they were on their way back. They cleared the border in the afternoon and somewhere on a deserted road about 200km from the nearest town, the car broke down. My dad got under the car and found the cause of the problem: The fuel supply line had broken off completely and fuel was streaming out of it. He managed to stop the flow with his thumb and shouted to his friend that this is a huge problem as they were going to lose all the fuel and they had no way of fixing the pipe. Lying there he realized they were going to spend the night right there until someone stopped the next day and even then the probability of them having anything to fix it with was small. John shouted back: “Wait wait, just hold your thumb on it, we’re going to fix it.”  He opened the back door, scratched behind the seat, and found the piece of rubber pipe, handed it to my dad and said to him: ”Use this.” The silly piece of pipe which they turned around for when they left John’s house was the exact right size and after cutting it to the right length with a pocket knife, they joined the two ends of the broken supply line with the pipe. It was a very tight fit but they managed to get it on. They started the car and drove approximately 600km home, without a problem! John later told him that he had a very strong impression as they drove off that first day, that he needed to go back and take that specific piece of pipe with. God works in very practical ways, He knows what we need and if we can learn to recognize and obey His voice we will experience much more of His provision in our lives.

Jesus was never phased by the problem at hand. There were times when He was moved with compassion (Matthew 14:14-21), but I don’t read that He ever became anxious or fearful because of any given situation. His confidence was based on His access to the Father, who has unlimited resources.

The disciples were worried

When He was teaching the 5000 people, His disciples became worried about the logistical problems and knew that soon the crowd would become hungry. They wanted Jesus to send the crowd away so that each person would have to look after himself.

Jesus simply asked the disciples to bring what they had to Him. He knew that they didn’t have enough for the crowd, they probably didn’t even have enough for themselves, yet Jesus asked them to bring what was available at that moment, and He blessed it! Their obedience coupled with His blessing resulted in the miracle of 5 small barley loaves and two fish feeding more than 5000 people!

The Word of God is clear about the fact that sacrifice in itself does not impress God. He is much more interested in us hearing and obeying His voice.  In 1 Sam 15:22, we read: “And Samuel said,  ‘Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.’ “

Jesus knows exactly what you need and He knows what you have available to meet that need. All He asks of you is to recognize what you have and to bring that to Him.

And God is able to make all grace abound to you so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8 (ESV)

Moses was afraid

When Moses had to speak to the Egyptian Pharaoh, he was flustered and fearful and didn’t know how he would approach this mighty ruler. He asked God for a sign of the power of God and God asked him a simple question, as He asks you today:

What is in your hand?”

To Moses, it was merely a staff, a walking stick, a rod; unable to perform any special function. However, as Moses obeyed God, this staff became the instrument of God through which the red sea parted, the 10 plagues were brought on Egypt and by which water came out of the rock. (Exodus 4:20)

When we face problems which we don’t have solutions for, the question is often: What is in your life, your personality, your home, your skillset, which God wants you to bring to Him? It could be life-changing advice you give someone, it could be love and care to someone who needs it, it could be financial assistance to someone in need, it could be as mundane as two loaves of bread and five fish. Yet, when God blesses it – something supernatural happens and what you thought was mediocre could be the catalyst for a divine encounter! We sometimes think that spirituality is disconnected from practical daily living. Nothing could be farther from the truth. That is exactly the stage which God uses to show  His wisdom, His power and His love for us.

“Do not despise these small beginnings for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.” (Zechariah 4:10)

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.” (Ecclesiastes 9:10)

The widow was desperate

Another interesting example of God using what we have is in 2 Kings 4: 1- 7; where the widow of a prophet was in debt and had no means of paying up. She went to Elisha for help and he asked her the pivotal question, What do you have in your house? She replied “Nothing, just a little oil.” To her the oil was nothing, but God used it to meet her current need. Elisha gave instructions, she obeyed, the little oil filled multiple barrels and was sold to cover her debts.

What you regard as a casual conversation could be the catalyst to bring healing and restoration in someone’s life. When you bless someone in need it could bring hope and strength to carry on. Your words can bring life and even when your words carry with it a warning or practical instruction on how to navigate business, jobs, family or finance – it can make a massive difference and can end up feeding multitudes. Everything you have in your hand is a potential staff of Moses. It could be a song, a painting, a design, even a plate of food. Nothing is wasted when given to God in obedience.

The requirement? Simple obedience. Not doing anything out of duty or obligation, but listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit and obeying instantly, without questioning. One of the easiest ways to find out what God wants you to do is by reading and understanding His Word. We don’t need a special revelation of the basic principles Jesus taught, we simply need to obey those:

  • Love God
  • Love your neighbour as yourself
  • Forgive others who have wronged you
  • Love your enemies
  • Repent and ask God to forgive your sins
  • Don’t be hypocritical
  • Don’t judge others
  • Explore the Word of God (the Bible) and learn the principles of His Kingdom

On top of the written Word of God, we have the benefit of the indwelling Holy Spirit who can guide us in any given situation, as He did with John Cooksey and the rubber pipe.

The result? Divine provision! Not only for you but for everybody around you.

What an amazing prospect! Let’s live in anticipation of following the next instruction from the Holy Spirit. I can’t wait to see how He turns the ordinary into Divine Provision!

 

Writing this reminded me of a song by Keith Green many years ago, “To obey is better than sacrifice”.     I include the link for your enjoyment.

https://youtu.be/GS7vml271Ts

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