No one likes to be pushed out of his comfort zone. Face it: we’re all chicken at various times when asked to do something new, challenging, or uncomfortable.
While in high school, I was a pianist in musical groups, recitals, and musical extravaganzas. Even though I knew the music well, when I began playing the grand piano on stage, my leg would shake uncontrollably as I used the pedal. I couldn’t make it stop, and it was in full view. Perish the thought that at the same time, my hands would sweat, and the cornstarch my piano teacher encouraged us to use rarely worked to keep my hands dry—it just yielded a powdery, slippery keyboard. Acceptable performance with a freak show on the side, I thought, though no one said anything.
Confidence isn’t always a certainty. The most eloquent speaker can have butterflies in his stomach before walking to the podium. Brilliant surgeons, professional race car drivers, influential world leaders, renowned singers, and celebrities are not exempt from feeling anxiety and insecurity before performing their skill or speaking. No one is outside the realm of being a chicken.
It’s encouraging to learn that Moses, the mighty leader of God’s people, was a chicken at one point in his remarkable life of faith and power. In Exodus 3:10–4:10, God gave Moses a challenging assignment to return to Egypt and free the Israelites from the oppression they suffered at the hands of the Egyptians. Moses turned chicken and lost all confidence in himself. An amusing conversation followed…
The Lord said, “Go and gather the elders of Israel together and say to them, 'The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has appeared to me, saying, I have observed you and what has been done to you in Egypt, and I promise that I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, a land flowing with milk and honey"' (Exodus 3:16-18 ESV).
Then Moses answered, "But behold, they will not believe me or listen to my voice, for they will say, 'The Lord did not appear to you.'" The Lord said to him, "What is that in your hand?" He said, "A staff." And he said, "Throw it on the ground." So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent, and Moses ran from it. But the Lord said to Moses, "Put out your hand and catch it by the tail"—so he put out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand—" that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you" (Exodus 4:1-5 ESV).
What extraordinary divine intervention occurred when Moses turned chicken! We cannot limit God and His creative, supernatural resourcefulness! He supercharged the shepherd’s rod that Moses carried daily as he tended sheep. The rod was so ordinary—probably Moses grabbed it without a thought before leaving his tent, just as we put on our shoes before leaving the house.
It became the instrument the Lord used to display His power, and every time Moses wanted God to move, he stretched out the rod. Consider these four instances when he stretched out his rod, and God sovereignly moved:
during the ten plagues against Egypt (Exodus 7:14 to Exodus 11)
at the parting of the Red Sea (Ex. 14:19-31)
at the defeat of the dreaded army of the Amalekites (Exodus 17:8-16)
in striking a rock in the desert to produce water (Exodus 17:5-7)
The rod represented the power and authority of God. It commanded results every time Moses needed divine help.
But I don’t have a magic wand to wave, you say. It wasn’t a magic wand. If Moses wanted a platter of figs, a more colorful robe, or some such frivolous whim, he couldn’t just wave his rod and have it appear. When he extended the rod and sought to do something that agreed with God’s will, the power and authority needed were released.
The Bible is our rod. It includes the living, active words God has spoken, and men inspired by the Holy Spirit have recorded. When we say what the Word of God says about a situation, Jesus backs us up. He listens to our confession of faith, and when we use our knowledge of appropriate scriptures for situations and confess them, God’s power and authority are released into the situation.
Confession in this respect comes from a word meaning to say the same as. We are saying the same with our mouths as God has said in His Word. If we make a wrong confession (I’ll never be healed; God doesn’t love me; So-and-So will never change), or if we make no confession at all, we do not have God’s backing (Derek Prince, The Power of Proclamation).
So God has given each of us a rod, too, just as he gave Moses. The Bible is an ordinary tool we should use every day—with extraordinary potential. We can accomplish “God things” by using this instrument of power and authority.
A prayer for today: Lord, help us become increasingly more skillful in using Your rod, the Bible, in every situation that challenges us and brings out the chicken in us! When we face challenging tasks that make us anxious, lead us to a promise from Your Word that we may confess, as we stretch out the rod of Your supernatural power and authority. Thank you! Amen.
© 2023, Chris Custer Werre