“Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them. And I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen.” -Exodus 14:16-17
Although this is difficult to catch at first glance, I want to show you something interesting that comes to light when verses 16 and 17 are carefully scrutinized.
Recall earlier when God told Moses that when he spoke, it would be as if God Himself spoke and that God would grant Moses the authority to act on His behalf.
In fact, the power Moses would wield would be so great, we are told he would be as a “God” to Pharaoh and his court.
Using his staff at the Red Sea, we will see Moses exercise his awesome God-given authority to perform one of the greatest miracles of all time.
Notice God commands Moses to “raise YOUR staff” and “stretch out YOUR hand”.
He is telling Moses, “go ahead and use the authority I have entrusted to you!”
Now contrast this with verse 17.
“But I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians”.
Notice anything interesting?
The point I want to make is that although we are told God entrusted Moses with the authority to act on His behalf, he didn’t give Moses 100% authority to make decisions and take actions in His stead.
We can see here there are some things the Father has reserved strictly for Himself.
And one of those things is the ability to control or change a man’s heart.
We also see this same dynamic between Yeshua and the Father as Yeshua Himself said many times there are some things that were out of His hands that only the Father knew or controlled.
There are three important lessons I can glean from this.
First, as believers, we have been entrusted with awesome authority to do great works for the Father and the Kingdom.
However, just as God had to in a sense remind Moses to raise up his staff so he could perform a great miracle, I think we too sometimes forget and need to be reminded of the super power we’ve been given to accomplish the mighty plans God has for us during our short time here on earth.
Remember, we have not been given a Spirit of fear, but a Spirit of power and boldness.
Second, although God mightily empowers us for whatever tasks He has assigned us, He never gives us no more and no less than needed.
Or to put it another way, He will supply you with all your needs but not necessarily all your wants.
Although you might prefer a Lamborghini to get to work, you might have to make do with a 4-door Toyota Prius.
Finally, and I consider this to be one of the most important factors crucial to a successful walk with the Lord.
It is important to understand what God has given you authority over and what He has reserved for Himself alone.
This takes discernment and wisdom but not knowing the difference between what’s in your hands and what’s in His Hands can save you a lot of heartache and pain.
For example, in our study about how the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, we learned that the ability to change a man’s heart rests with the Lord alone.
God never has and never will empower us with the ability to change, soften or harden a human heart.
And because He hasn’t given us that ability, we don’t have to feel guilty or overly concerned if somebody doesn’t respond positively when we share God’s Word with them.
Our duty is NOT to convert anybody.
Our duty is to simply speak and demonstrate with our lives the truth of God’s Word and God’s Messiah, Yeshua.