Matins Devotion: March 29, 2023
In our reading from Exodus, we find the Lord reassuring and giving comfort to Moses that his mission to liberate Israel from Egypt will succeed not because of his own strength or eloquence, but because of the Lord’s power, the Lord’s presence, and the Lord’s word. The Lord shows Moses his power through this demonstration of signs. He asks Moses, “What is that in your hand?” The answer, of course, is nothing special. Just a staff. An ordinary piece of wood.
Yet, by the word and command of God, Moses is told to cast his staff to the ground. There it becomes a serpent. Moses is told to grab the serpent by the tail and, when he does, the serpent becomes a staff again. The point is clear. The mission will not fail. Moses is going to walk into Pharaoh’s kingdom and plunder him not because he holds a mighty weapon, or commands a mighty army, but because the Lord is with him, and because, through the power of the Lord’s word, something as ordinary as a shepherd’s staff becomes an instrument of deliverance.
This evening we will baptize one of the precious little ones in our congregation. This baby will be brought here to the font. The shepherd of the congregation will meet her there. Holding nothing special in his hand. Just some ordinary water. And yet, by the word and command of God he will pour that water out on the head of that child in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. There, it will become a life-giving flood, a washing of regeneration, a burial and a resurrection. At that moment, this precious child will be set free from the tyranny of sin and death. The devil’s kingdom will be plundered—not because the shepherd holds a mighty weapon, but because through the power and promise of God’s word, something as ordinary as water will become an instrument of deliverance.