“He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a STAFF -no bread, no bag, no money in their belts”
I recently heard multiple pastors and theologians explain the use of the staff in ancient days. Nomadic peoples and shepherds relied upon the staff for protection, for relief, and stability while navigating treacherous terrain. The staff would be something personal as far as size and feel, but also carved into the staff would be the family history, the stories, and events that marked an individual’s life. The moments God showed up in battles, in seasons of drought, and in impossible situations. These memories were always at arm’s length to remind them of the faithfulness of God. Having heard that, brought new life to old scriptures.
Moses, when confronted by Pharoah and his magician’s dark magic, rather than being afraid, I wonder if faith rose up as he held out his staff? Did he see the carving of being rescued from the Nile as an infant or the burning bush experience in the desert? What we do know is that Moses’ staff swallowed up the staff of Pharaoh’s magicians.
Moses and the Israelites are trapped between the Red Sea and the oncoming Egyptian army. No way out and no way forward. Panic sets in, and what does God command? “Lift up your staff.” I wonder did Moses see the carvings of the 10 plagues or of the Passover? Did faith begin to rise as he lifted up the staff? Regardless, another carving would surely be added to his staff as God split the Red Sea and brought them through on dry ground.
David is going through a very dark season of life. He refers to it as ‘The Valley of the Shadow of death.’ Yet he is confident he is going THROUGH it to greener pastures and still waters. Why? God’s staff comforts him.
Jesus, in Mark 6, is preparing to send out the 12 disciples for mission and ministry. It’s fascinating to see the only necessary thing they must bring. Not a bag, not money or even a cloak. Bring only a STAFF. It’s all you need to get you through!
You see, the reminder of all God has done for you in your past, might be all you need to carry you through to your future. What are some memories you can carve into the ‘staff’ of your heart?
Moments of your past when God made a way when there was no way. Maybe little moments, nobody else noticed, but you knew God was at work. Carve out your very own staff.