Steven Furtick - The Other Hand
I know y'all don't want to stand up anymore, but will you stay standing for this Scripture? Because God gave us a good one today. God gave us a good one today. You know how you were debating whether to come or not? You did the right thing. God gave us a good one today. I shared on this topic with our kids Tuesday night, and I was glad to, and I thought it was just for them. I went back after I preached, and a few of my friends were here. All my friends were crying, and they're grownups. They all said, "That was for me. That was for me. That was for me". Then when I prayed what the Lord would have me share with our church today, he told me to give you this. So I'm going to share this with you today from Exodus, chapter 3. Wow. Okay, okay, okay. Exodus, chapter 3, verse 19. Are you ready?
"But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him, so I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them. After that, he'll let you go". I will read this again, and you will respond more appropriately. Don't make me come through that screen. I'll come through that screen, snatch you right out of your pajamas, and make you shout. "But I know…" The Lord says this to Moses. Moses is 80 years old. I preach this to the youth because I'm hoping they can get early what it took Moses his whole lifetime to understand. He's telling Moses, the ambiance of a burning bush that isn't burning up; it's on fire, but it's not consumed. He's telling him, "I want to use you to set my people free, and I have an assignment in mind with your name on it". He says, "But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him, so I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them. After that, he will let you go".
Now if you have something in your life today, and it feels like it's got ahold of you, and you need God's help… It could be depression. It could be anxiety. It could be a situation that's out of your control. But something that's got ahold of you (like Pharaoh had ahold of the children of Israel), and you need God's help with it. If something has got ahold of you… We don't have to say what; I'm not going to make you say it on the microphone. Don't be nervous. I'm not going to ask you to name it. But if there's something that has ahold of you, and it feels like it won't let go, and you need God's help today, I want you to raise your hand right now. No, the other hand. That's actually what I want to preach to you about today. This message is called The Other Hand.
God, I thank you that your arm is not short. You can reach everybody under the sound of my voice. Do it now, Lord. In Jesus' name, amen.
You may be seated. Oh, I was thinking… Chris. You know how during quarantine y'all would stay up here on the stool so I wouldn't feel all lonely up here preaching the Word of God by myself? Can y'all come, like four of y'all? Bring them with you. Are the stools still back there. Did the YTHX steal it and throw them through windows for a segment or something like that? I don't know what they've been doing around here. Just bring some people back. You want to come, Skye? You should come. You should come and help me preach. I did it during quarantine. I don't know if y'all were watching online, but did y'all stay connected during quarantine or just watch Netflix? I would always have the worship leader stay up here. It wasn't an aesthetic; it was just survival, man. Because y'all are so good to look at while I'm preaching (most of y'all). Then I would say, "Well I can't just do this without someone to talk to. I can't talk to a camera".
So they replaced you for a little while, but now y'all are back, but I thought it'd be cool if y'all came out. So come on. We won't wait for them; we'll just get started by ourselves. I want you to go back in your mind. You're 16 years old. Close your eyes. You're 16. I do this when I'm preaching to the youth. Before I preach to the youth, I always put on the music I listened to when I was 16. Pearl Jam, No Code. Okay, so now open your eyes. So 16 years old. You're 16 years old. I like to tell this story when I speak to the students about one of the most significant things that was spoken to me when I was that age. Now the coolest thing that ever happened to me when I was a teenager is when Billy Joe Armstrong, the lead singer of Green Day, called me on stage to play his guitar at the North Charleston Coliseum. My best friend is here to verify that that really happened. That was the coolest thing, George. Your dad was freaking out.
But the most important/significant thing that happened to me (at least this would be in the top three) was… Well, it's been 25 years, and I'm still telling you about it. This is how big of a deal this is, is that somebody saw something in me. Pastor Mickey White. I called him the other day, and I said, "I'm still telling this story of when you came over to our house 25 years ago when I was 16". Because Pastor Mickey had just taken the job as the pastor of Santee Circle Baptist Mission, and they needed a youth pastor. He asked me to come work with his youth. I think my mom kind of thought that Pastor Mickey's church might be a cult. Oh, y'all have thought the same thing about Elevation. You're sitting right in a church you used to think that about, so don't even look at me like that. Pastor Mickey said, "Well, I'll come over and talk to your mom". He used to be in the auto parts business, so he was a good salesman.
So he has to convince my mom for me to leave the Methodist church and come over to the Baptist church and be his youth pastor at this little church that was meeting in a Woodmen of the World building. What made it more dramatic is this big guy… Pastor Mickey is what…6'6" or 6'7"? He's in his seventies now, but he sat down on the middle of the floor. There's like plenty of seats open in the house, so I guess he got a Gandhi flow going on on the floor. He sits down, big old guy, and he tells my mom, "I've worked with youth. I've worked with kids for 20 years, and God has his hand on Steven". That was 25 years ago; I can see it. Can you? I can see him sitting on the floor saying, "God has his hand on Steven in a way I've never seen his hand on any of the kids that I've ever worked with". It did the trick. My mom let me do it, and I served as this youth pastor. I'm thinking at the time, like, "This is a little thick. You're laying it on a little thick right now. Does it really take all that"?
But what I felt when he said that… I mean, on one hand, that felt cool, but on the other hand, it was kind of scary. It felt like, maybe like I'm special, like, "Oh, God's hand is on your son". But on the other hand, I'm like, "What exactly does that mean"? And yet, when he said it, y'all, I can't exactly explain this to you, but inside, I thought, "Oh, that's what I'm feeling. That's what I'm feeling". Because I had made my personal commitment to Christ. Not the one where your parents make a commitment to raise you so that you can meet Christ but where you decide to follow Jesus for yourself. I had to make that commitment, and I sensed something was different. So here's this man who has been in ministry for many years, and he says something like, "God's hand is on Steven," and when I told this story to the young people Tuesday, I looked right at them, as many of them as I could, in the eyes, and I said, "God has his hand on you". Because a lot of them, never had Pastor Mickey sit on the floor criss-cross applesauce and say that when they were 16, and maybe a lot of them never even had anybody say something like, "I believe in you," you know?
I think what a difference would it make if they get the revelation right now. Not that they're going to be a preacher or a pastor one day. That's not what Pastor Mickey meant. That that was a part of my path, but he meant something different when he said, "God has his hand on Steven". I want you to say that out loud or put it in the chat, whatever the case may be, but say, "God…" Hold on. Don't say my name. Say your name. "God has his hand on…" Y'all said that so quietly. It was terribly unconvincing how you said it. You said it with the wrong voice inflection. Say it again. "God has his hand on…" God has his hand on Graham. One more time. This time get the name of the person next to you. This might be good for like little Starbucks after church if you're single or whatever, but I'm not using it for that; I'm using it for illustration. Get their name really quick.
Now say their name. Look them right in the eyes and say, "God has his hand on…" You needed to hear that. You hadn't been feeling like that lately. I know. You hadn't been feeling that lately. It doesn't make it any less true. He wasn't talking about a feeling. He wasn't talking about something that necessarily has a physical sensation. I'm seeing it in the chat. "God has his hand on Don". "God has his hand on Leanna". "God has his hand on Esther". "God has his hand on Sage". "God has his hand on Adam". "God has his hand on Peter". God has his hand on me. It's his hand on me. It's his hand on me. I'm glad Pastor Mickey took time out of his very busy life to sit down on my floor and say something that bold. I wonder where I would be if I didn't believe that God had his hand on me. And now, I know he was right because now I know that the things that I've seen God do through me had nothing to do with me.
So I don't mean to preach this early, and I plan to pace myself, but I'm excited to have some of y'all back in the room with me. My testimony that it was his hand. I didn't know what he meant. It sounded good. It sounded profound. "God has his hand on Steven". I thought that meant he just wanted me to come over and talk to the youth and work with the youth, but 25 years later, I don't have to just believe it; I've seen it. I've seen it. Sometimes it was confusing because God's hand didn't always feel like a Swedish massage. Do you understand what I'm saying? God's hand didn't always feel like… You know, I've experienced God's hand in so many different ways. Like the hymn we sang growing up, "Great is thy faithfulness, O God, my father. There is no shadow of turning with thee. All I have needed thy hand has provided…"
So many times, I've seen God's hand like this, offering me what I needed in the moment. "All I have needed". Y'all know I'm going to come out of retirement and do a hymns project one day. "Great is thy faithfulness…" I know all four verses of every hymn. Zeke, you can sing harmony; I'm going to take the lead on those. "Great is thy faithfulness. All I have needed…" Not, "All I have wanted or asked for". Thank God. One of the things I've become grateful for in the last 25 years when he said "God's hand is on you" is for what he withheld. You know, you start off thanking God for when his hand does this, and then you live a little while, and you learn to trust in him with all your heart, so you learn to appreciate when he does this too. I'm talking about his hand. Because, yes, he's provided for me.
I can tell you days (and I bet you've had them too) where down to the dollar God came through for me. Down to the dollar. I'm talking God didn't even round down. It was down to the dollar, down to the decimal. There have been times in this ministry where down to the decimal, God has provided. It's not just money, and it's not just stuff. If you still think it's about bags and sneakers, you need to be back at YTHX, because you haven't grown up enough yet to realize that some of the greatest things God will give you in your life… Y'all better not preach me on this front row. Some of the greatest things now… We're talking about God's hand, and sometimes it's like this, and he'll bring the right person into your life at the right time. You'll think, "How did God know that that's who I needed to meet at this point in my life"? Yet the same hand that did this will sometimes do this. It's the same hand. Like Job said, "He gives and he takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord".
Have you realized that God's hand that does this is just as capable when he's doing this? I was on the front row, and the Lord told me, "Make sure you tell them I'm a gardener and that the same hand that plants also prunes. Make sure you tell them that the same hand that plants the seed of all that you're meant to be and all that your life is meant to contain and do is for his glory". That's why Pastor Mickey said, "God has his hand on you". Don't think that God gave you a gift so that you could use it for your glory. It's God's hand on you, so it's God's glory through you, and it's God's purpose. But the same hand that plants… Do y'all know the Scripture, John 15? It says that every branch that bears fruit, he prunes. Same hand. The same hand. His hand does this; his hand sometimes does this. Taking opportunities that you thought, "Well, that's it right there". Then God goes, "Nah, I know stuff". All right.
So praise him how you praise him when he does this, when he gives you an opportunity. Now, come on and lift your hands like you lifted your hands earlier. Can you lift them when he does this? God's hand. Say it again. "God's hand is on…" Say your name. God's hand. That's what the Lord told Moses. He said, "I see my people suffering. It's been four centuries, and I've chosen you, the fugitive/murderer who has forgotten who he really is…" If he ever really knew. "…but I've seen my people suffering, and I know that it's not going to be easy, so I'm going to stretch out…" I'm going to show you the verse again because I learned a few things about God's hand. I learned that God's hand is provision. I learned that God's hand is protection. But I also learned that God's hand is power. He said, "I know that he will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him". A mighty hand, and the mighty hand of God in the judgment of the 10 plagues against Egypt was what God used to release his people into ultimate freedom. A mighty hand.
The Lord tells Moses, "It's not going to happen in your own strength. It's not going to happen in your own intellect. It's not going to happen in your own ability or your strategy. It's not going to happen even in the leadership gifts I've given you. It is going to take another hand". The thing about it is this is what God showed me. I was looking at the passage, and I looked at it again a few times after I preached it the other night, and the Lord said, "You missed something". I said, "What did I miss"? He said, "You missed the other hand". I said, "What's the other hand"? Look at verse 19. He said, "I know that the king of Egypt…" That's Pharaoh. "…will not let you go…" Do you see it? I didn't see it either. "He won't let you go". That means your enemy thinks he has you so strong in his grip, and he won't let go unless there is another hand that is stronger than his hand.
So while you feel like the Devil has you like this… You know, let's be honest, a lot of the chains in this room are 42 years old. These are not saplings anymore. These are oak trees that go down deep. I mean there's some real deep stuff that's holding you in here. It's got you like this. I mean, by the throat. I mean, it's got you. It won't let you breathe. You try to move, you can't move. You try to move up, you can't move up. You try to step into a new opportunity, you can't do it with a free heart. It's got you like this. It's got you so strong. But God said to tell you about the other hand, and this is what Moses needed to know. It's no different for everybody in the room today, that your Father is stronger than your Pharaoh.
So like with Graham… He wrestles me. In fact, since you're here, do you want to do it really quick just to illustrate it? Come here really quick. Come here. I'm going to show you, He hates when I do this because he's strong. Graham is so strong. He's 13. He won the state championship for freestyle wrestling. It was a small tournament, but it was still a state championship. I won a state championship when I was in eighth grade too, but there was nobody else in the weight class, so I won the state championship. So we'll have battles, and I'll say, "Old man versus young man. South Carolina versus North Carolina state champions". He's so quick, and he's so good, but what I do is… I've got old man moves. I've got old man moves. I got pressure points. I can do… Right here. See right there. Right there. That spot right there. Right there. In my hands, I can stop him. All I need is this anointed 41-year-old thumb, and all of a sudden… Watch this. It doesn't matter how much youth you have; I will put my thumb in his pecs right there.
Now, I'll let him wrestle me, but if it gets too rough… Because he's getting too strong for me to play with him. I can't play with him anymore. He'll get on my legs so quick. I'm not going to go out like that. I don't know who's videoing this. I don't know if this is Instagram Live. So sometimes I have to just…pop! Put him right there. All right. You're done. Go back down there. He wants to fight right now. I saw it. I saw him getting in his stance. I'm not getting taken down in front of the world. God said, "I know where to put the pressure. See, that's why I'm God. I've been doing this a long time, and I see your enemy shooting in on you. But when I use my hand… I have a mighty hand. I have a strong hand. I don't even have to flex. I'm God".
So Pastor Mickey didn't tell me that part. He told me God's hand was on me. I thought it meant God is my provider. I didn't know that the same hand that brings provision also brings pressure and how God will use the pressure of life to bring me into freedom. I know it won't let you go unless a mighty hand… Twenty-five years later, I can tell you that God has a mighty hand. Ten plagues later, Moses and Pharaoh knew it was a mighty hand. It's a mighty hand. It's a mighty hand. It's a mighty hand. It is a hand that you can't always feel it. You can't always see it. But see, Moses was well acquainted with this hand whether he knew it or not, because when he was a baby, all the little Hebrew boys were getting killed by Pharaoh, not him. His mom made a basket and put him in the Nile River.
This is Exodus, chapter 2. The Bible says that that basket floated to the daughter of Pharaoh, and she saw the basket, and she drew it out. She felt sorry for Moses because he was crying, and she took him, and God raised him. As a matter of fact, as I thought about that basket floating down the Nile River, I thought about your life and my life, because what are the chances that a basket would float down the Nile River and miss all of the alligators unless there was a hand? I'm grateful for God saying how he guided me past certain attacks. You know, the same hand that did this sometimes does that. Sometimes God just did that with his hand. Anybody grateful for the times God did that. An anxiety came for your life. You've thought about ending your life, and the gators almost got you, but God's hand did that. We don't really even know how to praise God.
When I say, "Praise God," and I say, "What do you have to be thankful for?" you don't even know the things that God did this, and if he didn't do this, you wouldn't be here. I'm thankful that he provided. I'm thankful that he pruned, took some things out. I'm thankful that he protected with his mighty hand and an outstretched arm. God said, "I see your struggle, and I know that it won't let you go easily. So since you've been doing it in your own strength, making bricks without straw, doing everything that you know to do to be free, but never finding freedom, it's time for my hand to work in your life". In fact, the Scripture says something powerful in Peter. He says, "Humble yourself". What a thing for Peter to say. He's not exactly Mr. Humility in the senior superlatives if you read the yearbook. But he's learned now. "Humble yourself under God's mighty hand".
Say that phrase: God's mighty hand. How is Pharaoh going to let you go? God's mighty hand. "How in the world is it going to happen this time? You don't even know the mess I'm in". I know you feel like Moses right now, but God came to reveal to you that his hand… What is it? It's a mighty hand, God's mighty hand. Pharaoh has a strong hand; God's is stronger. God's mighty hand. How many praise God for His mighty hand? God doesn't try to do anything. God does not intend to do anything he can't do. God's mighty hand. But that's not what I came to preach about today. I want to preach about the other hand. See, it seems like Moses didn't have a lot of trouble believing that God was mighty. He didn't argue with God at all.
God said, "I am the God of Abraham, the God of Jacob," and all Moses wanted to know is, "What's your name"? God said, "I am". I'm sure Moses waited around for a little bit more detail. But God said, "You better leave it blank because I'm going to do so much that you will not be able to quantify me by one word. Not an adjective, not a verb, not an adverb, not a…" So the Lord, the very essence of true presence and being, says, "I am". After he gets done telling Moses what he's going to do and how he's going to set the people free and the mighty hand and all of that, Moses doesn't argue with God about what God can't do. Now here's where I need to just talk to you. Can we just talk like we've known each other all our lives? How many of y'all feel sometimes when I'm preaching like we know each other? I feel that too.
So I was praying about this message, and God said, "It's not me they doubt most of the time. They believe I'm big. They believe I'm powerful. They believe I can do great things through others". Moses didn't say, "How will I know your hand is strong? How will I know you're great? How will I know you're stronger? How will I know"? No, he didn't doubt God at all, and that's what I want to preach to you about. Because after God told Moses what he would do, Moses answered… I'm only sharing this with you because I relate to Moses. Not in the sense that I can deliver a nation or anything like that. I don't want to change jobs with Moses. I'm just saying how he feels, I've felt. Because you can know that God's hand is mighty, but watch this. He answered (Exodus 4, verse 1), "What if they do not believe me or listen to me? And what if they say, 'The Lord did not appear to you?'"
Let me give you a hint. When he's talking about they, it's not really their doubt he's dealing with. A lot of times when we try to identify what the obstacles are of us being who God called us to be, because look what the Lord asked in verse 2. The Lord said to him, "What is that in your hand"? Whose hand? We talked about God's hand. We shout about God's hand. We need God's hand; it's a mighty hand. See, for me, it's not that hand that gets me in trouble; it's the other hand. My hand. The mighty hand? I like that one. My hand? That's a different story. Because watch this. Moses said, "How are we going to do this"? And God said, "What is that in your hand"? So now after God tells him what he's going to do with his hand, he points to Moses' hand. I think this is where we should spend a little time today talking about the other hand. "Oh, God is awesome, and he's so great, and how great is our God. Sing with me, how great is our God. And all will see how great, how great is our God". That's not the part I have a problem with. Because 25 years ago, when Pastor Mickey said that God's hand was on me, he only told me half of it.
You know, God's hand can be on you in a great way, but if you don't believe it, if you don't receive it… You know, God can put you in position. That's one thing about his hand. The Bible says if you humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, he will lift you up in due time. You don't have to do it yourself. You don't have to position yourself. You don't have to show off what you can do. God will do amazing things through your life if you stay under his hand. Yet the hard thing for me has not been God's hand. I can trust his hand. I can believe in his hand. I can see the evidence of his hand. Listen to me. I'm from Moncks Corner, South Carolina. The things God has done for me in my life, the places he has taken me, are so far from where I started, I know it had to be him. In fact, even the people who mistreated me, they didn't know it, but God was using their hands to get me where I needed to be. Y'all don't believe me?
Joseph told his brothers, "You intended to harm me, but God meant it for good. You sold me, but God sent me". How is that possible? Even what their hand did, even what they did to you or did not do for you has to pass through God's hand by the time it's over. It's not his hand I struggle with; it's the other hand. Are y'all really, on my second week back from vacation of the summer, going to look at me like you don't have another hand? "I don't know what you're talking about here, Pastor. For me, it's pretty like, just, you know, I am called, I am chosen, I am anointed, I am blessed and highly favored". You've got another hand. You've got it in your pocket right now. Jesus went to church one day. You all know this. Matthew, chapter 12. Jesus went to church one day, and while he was there, he noticed something nobody else saw. This is an amazing Scripture. I'm bringing it right now because I think that represents how a lot of us came to church or logged on this morning.
It says, "Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue". Next verse, please. "And a man with a shriveled…" Some versions say withered. "…hand was there, and looking for a reason to bring charges against Jesus, they asked him, 'Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?'" "He said to them, 'If any of you has a sheep, and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out?'" So Jesus is saying that just like you would take your hand and something that was valuable, you would pull it out, that's what he wants to do for this man. He wants to take you where you are, in the place that nobody else can see that you struggle… Because here's the problem: All of us have one hand that looks just fine. All of us have one hand… It's an amazing miracle because Jesus skips over the hand that's working to get to the one that won't work. He said to the man… This is such a crazy thing to say to somebody. "'Stretch out your hand.' So he stretched it out, and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other".
The Lord showed me something in this sermon. It's kind of warm to wear a jacket, but I needed it to show you this. A lot of us walk around showing people the hand we want them to see. I am coming for your other hand today, the one that won't work. And don't feel bad about it, because everybody you're sitting next to has another hand. There's the one they show you, and there's the one they know about and God knows about, but they learned how to keep it very carefully contained so nobody other than the ones who live with them know about their anger issue because they're nice to the server at the restaurant. The other hand. Nobody knows about the thing they struggle with in their own emotions because they make a lot of money. Nobody knows about the tears they cry over the things they can't get straight in their mind. because in their life, everything looks fine. But Jesus didn't want that hand; he wanted the other hand. When the man stretched his hand out, the Bible says that it was completely restored. This hand has always been on you. It was his hand.
How you just all of a sudden felt like you could stand after thinking you had collapsed, and something picked you up. It was his hand. That was his hand. It was his hand. But now it's time to stretch your hand, but you still don't believe it. You still don't believe that you're the one he chose for that situation. You still don't believe you have what it takes. You still don't believe that he in you is more than enough. You still don't believe that you have a spirit without measure. You still don't believe that the gifts you have are the ones you're meant to have, and if you will grow and develop those, you will be able to accomplish everything God has called you to accomplish. You still don't believe that. You're still looking at the other people's hands, but you're looking at their good hand and comparing it to your bad hand. The way this works in Scripture is that Jesus is healing a man (on the Sabbath, which is work) who has a condition that renders him unable to work. His entire identity has been consumed by this one issue, and God did a miracle for him. Can't he do the same thing for me? The other hand.
The other hand, I said, "Lord, let's talk about the mighty hand," but then he told me to talk about my hand. Because to sit here and tell you, "Oh God has had his hand on me," that makes it sound like God just makes it easy. Like he just… No. You know how many times I've almost called Larry Brey on a Saturday night to tell him, "I hope you have your backup sermon ready"? And you think like, "Oh, well, you don't have much faith. You don't trust God". I trust God. This was in my hand. I'm so glad y'all are up here. They're real judgmental. They're on Judgment Level 10 today. "What's that in your hand"? He said, "A staff". I'm kind of going back and forth between the man in the synagogue and God. I know it's kind of confusing as I'm moving here, but you have to see Moses on the far, far side of the wilderness, tending sheep for his father-in-law named Jethro with a staff in his hand. God said, "What's that in your hand"? And he said, "A staff". But when he said it was a staff, there's more symbolically contained in this answer than on the surface because this is more than a stick.
The only reason Moses is even holding a staff to begin with is because of what he did 40 years ago when he killed an Egyptian for beating one of his brothers. Because God's hand was on his life then, but he did not handle it yet. Do you understand that when God wanted to show Moses who he was and what he could do, he points to something that is in his hand? That is a symbol of the mistake that he made that landed him in this place. Watch what he does, because this is the hand we need to talk about. You're holding on to stuff so tight. Some of you have such a death grip; your knuckles are white holding on to your staff, holding on to your identity. You've told yourself, "This is who I am. This is who I'm going to be. This is what I did". Yeah, you did it. Nobody's hands are clean in here. None is righteous. No, not one. Nobody lifted their hands because they don't have any blood on them. I lifted my hands because his blood will cleanse me of all unrighteousness if I confess it and own it and give it to him.
So it's not about God's hand. You've got more than enough aptitude. You've got more than enough experience. You've got more than enough height. You got the right feet, the right inches. You got the right genetics. It's all right there. It's never been about his hand. Before you were born, he knit you together. Before you were conceived, he set you apart. It's never been about his hand. God said, "What's in yours"? Before God could use him (I really wanted to use him), he had to do what we all have to do. He had to take what was in his hand. Not God's hand. God's hand is already cocked. He's already got the plagues loaded. He's already ready to unleash. That's not the question anymore. But when Moses said it was a staff, God told him what to do. "Throw it on the ground". He threw it, and it became a snake, and he ran from it because he wasn't an idiot.
I've heard preachers here say, "And Moses ran because he still had not recognized the sovereignty of God". No, he ran because it's a snake. You run from snakes. How stupid do we have to be to think that? Now this makes it even more powerful with what God tells him to do next, right? So he has to release what's familiar, and then he has to (watch this) reach out. Whose hand? Come on, y'all. I put it on the screen. "Reach out your hand". I know you're praying about God's hand, but God is saying, "Reach out your hand". Do you know there's nothing God's hand can't do, but there are some things God's hand won't do? God did not pry Moses' fingers from the stick. He didn't do it. He won't do it. It's in your hand now. There are some things that need deliverance. There are some things that need discipline. God will let you use your hand to lift a spoon with ice cream on it, or you can curl a dumbbell. It's in your hand at that point.
There are some things God will not, "Come on Moses! Ahhhhhh"! No. He throws it down, and then after he releases what's familiar… This is the process for me, for me, because God has his hand on me, and I know that. That's not the question. It's a mighty hand, but my hand, sometimes what's in my hand… Now you have to release what's familiar. He has to reach for what he's afraid of. And then in whose hand (Moses' hand) a miracle happens. "So what are you telling me, Preacher? You said the other hand. You said God's hand, then you said my hand". All right. Well, the Lord said everybody in here is going to need both hands in order to move forward, but the problem is you won't bring God what's really wrong with you. You keep stretching out that good hand.
You know what I never noticed? After Moses' stick became a serpent, and then the serpent became a stick, and all these awesome things that happen when we let go and God transforms our greatest fears into instruments of faith, that he would go on to part the Red Sea with that staff. I know all that. I've preached that before. But watch what God told him to do next, because he's saying, "What if they don't believe me? What if I don't believe me, God? I believe you. What if I don't believe me? What if they don't believe me"? Look what the Lord said in verse 6. Watch this. Moses was holding the staff. Remember, it was a snake a minute ago. It's a staff now; it's going to part waters. Wow. Watch what God can do. He can change your greatest mistake into the instrument of your greatest miracle.
"I know, Pastor. I've heard these cliches before. Your setback is a setup for… All this stuff". No. I'm telling you what daily I have to experience in my life is picking up the thing I was afraid of after releasing the thing I was familiar with. "What is in your hand"? But then he tells Moses, "Put your hand inside your cloak". So how's he going to do this? He's got the staff in his hand. How's he going to…? Oh. The other hand. The staff represented what he did, but the other hand represents who you think you are. "Put your hand in your cloak," he said. "Moses put his hand in his cloak, and when he took it out, the skin was leprous". What do you know about leprosy? If you isolate it, it makes you ashamed. Just like Moses has been for these 40 years because of what he did. The other hand.
Nobody touches lepers. Remember the leper in Scripture? Everybody would tell him, "Six feet back, six feet back, six feet back". But one day when Jesus walked up, it was the first time that he saw this. See, because nobody touches lepers. That's what I see God doing. We're all standing at a distance from what God gave us to do. I don't know if it's raising your kids. I don't know if it's fully entering into the life God has given you right now or being content, but God said, "'Put your hand back in your cloak and pull it out.' And when he pulled his hand out, it was restored like the rest of his flesh".
God wants to restore your other hand. Your other hand. You know the one? Nod at me if you know the hand and hope I don't mention your specific issue in front of this whole august body of believers. You know the one. Stretch that one forth. I see God restoring your hand today, because his hand has always been on you. Holly preached an amazing message about the voice of God last night to our youth. But let me tell you something that she said that I really believe. I wrote a song about it when I was 16. It was the first Christian song I ever wrote. Before that, I was writing some songs that… Well, let's just say we won't be singing in the arena tour and putting it on a project on Spotify. It was some songs that never need to be heard by anybody. But I wrote one that said out of Psalm 139, "If I take the wings of morning or dwell within the sea, even there your hand will lead me, and your right hand will hold me fast". Who is it for today, that the Lord said, "I want to restore your hand, and I see what you're grabbing onto that you identify yourself with"?
The signs that God gave Moses were for God's glory, not for Moses. But before God's glory could be revealed, Moses had to release something, and so do you. "And when he brought his hand back out, it was restored". God wants to give you your hand back today. God wants to give you your hand back today. God wants to enable you to do by faith what you can't do in your own effort. God's hand is still on your life. And in case you have something in here that is bigger than you, I want you to know that is a job for God's hand. But God has given you a hand, and symbolically right now I want you to see the hand of God that has always been on your life in your hand that is holding on to what if you don't let go of it, you are never going to receive what you need for the season you're in.
All over this auditorium, I want you to lift your hands to God. Both of them. In fact, stand up on your feet.
We started this way; we're going to end this way. "What is that in your hand"? We could stand here the rest of our lives on the far side of the desert, Lord, or clutching onto mistakes we made and things we did, but like you did for that man who was mentioned in Matthew, chapter 12, I believe you want to do it for men and women under the sound of my voice today and restore their hand just like the other one. I thank you for the signs of your provision and faithfulness and protection on my life today. But I believe God, that there are some people who, because of shame, are hiding in isolation. They feel like a leper themself. They don't feel like they can do it. In fact, they've considered giving up. Today you sent your Word to heal them and restore their hand.
With your hands lifted, just pray it out loud:
God, restore my hand, restore my hand. I'm stretching it out now. I'm stretching it to you. No other help I know. I need your hand, God, for what has me in its grip. I need your hand, God, for what I can't get away from. From the memories and the thoughts and the fears. God, you know what they are, but I need your hand. Here's my hand. Here's the one I don't show anybody else. Here's the resentment I can't let go of. Here's the thing I can't forgive. Here's the thing for which I can't forgive myself. That hand.
Stretch it out right now in God's presence. I believe God is restoring hands. He's going to give you the ability to take hold of your calling again. It looks like a snake right now, but it's going to turn back into a staff in your hand. I'm telling you, man, I'm telling you, if you reach out and take that by the tail and you trust him, and you're going to watch it transform in your hand. The miracle is in your hand. Not the good hand. Not the "Look how great I am, how smart I am, how together I am" hand. That other hand. That weak hand. The one that hasn't been able to do it. God said, "Today I'm touching that hand. That hand".
Thank You, Lord. When you showed me this message, I cried, God, because you showed me that somebody is going home with the other hand working. I don't know who it is, but you do. You brought them here today. You wanted them to know they don't have to hide their hand. You wanted them to know your hand is still on them; you're not afraid to touch them. You wanted them to remember that you have a mighty hand, and that even if their hand is withered, if they will stretch it out, it'll be made whole. Oh God, I feel so stupid crying in front of these people right now. Oh God, I know what it feels like to believe that your hand is strong but to know that my hand is weak. And yet you've taught me that what Pastor Mickey told me is true: God's hand is on my life.