What’s in Your Hand?

  • Pete Johnson

Exodus 4:1-2

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.” 

The 1978 Orange Bowl pitted the number two ranked Sooners of Oklahoma, coached by Barry Switzer, and the number sixth ranked Arkansas Razorbacks Coached by Lou Holtz.
The Sooners boasted an impressive running attack that annihilated opposing defenses, and their swarming defense made it difficult for opposing offenses to make gains on the gridiron.

When the Bowl matchup was announced, Arkansas was immediately an eighteen-point underdog. Ten days before the Orange Bowl, Coach Holtz announced he had suspended three of his starting offensive players, including running back Ben Cowins, the Razorbacks all-time leading rusher at that time. When that news hit the media, the Razorbacks were considered to have no chance of even playing with the Sooners, much less winning the game. Betting odds were now Arkansas was a twenty-four-point underdog! To cap that off Arkansas’s All-American offensive lineman Leotis Harris injured his knee and would be unable to play.

Practices leading up to the Orange Bowl were less than stellar. Players didn’t have the focus, intensity, or belief that they could compete with such a powerful adversary without their best players. It was reported that Holtz called a team meeting to discuss the issue.

He challenged them to think about what they had instead of what they didn’t have. He reminded them that one of the reasons that they were 10-1 was because of their great defense. They had one of the best quarterbacks in the country and they had one of the best kickers, if not the best kicker in college football. As the players began focusing on what they had instead of what they didn’t have, attitudes began to change, it motivated and inspired them.

The Arkansas Razorbacks defeated Oklahoma 31-6, one of the greatest upsets in Bowl History!

Moses was called in the backside of the desert to do something great for God, to lead the Children of Israel out of the bondage of Egypt. Forty years earlier Moses had attempted in his strength to be the people’s deliverer yet failed.

Perhaps Moses’ thoughts were, what has changed? He offered up several excuses as to why he was not the man for the job. I don’t have what it takes to lead these people, please send someone else!

God asked him one very simple question:

What is that in your hand?

It’s just a staff, Moses replied.

Yet what Moses had in his hand, a simple staff, God would use in a mighty way.

Moses’ staff was just a piece of wood, and Moses was just a man, but He had God’s power.

Too many of us are hindered from doing something for God because we focus on what we don’t have instead of what we do have.. the Power of God through the Holy Spirit which dwells within us.