By Richard Lodwick
Exodus 4:1-8 (KJV) And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee. And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod. And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it. And the LORD said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand: That they may believe that the LORD God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee. And the LORD said furthermore unto him, Put now thine hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow. And he said, Put thine hand into thy bosom again. And he put his hand into his bosom again; and plucked it out of his bosom, and, behold, it was turned again as his other flesh. And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign.
Exodus 6:1-10 (KJV) Then the LORD said unto Moses, Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh: for with a strong hand shall he let them go, and with a strong hand shall he drive them out of his land. And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the LORD: And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them. And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers. And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant. Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the LORD. And Moses spake so unto the children of Israel: but they hearkened not unto Moses for anguish of spirit, and for cruel bondage. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Here we have a sign to Moses, and the rod would later be shown as a sign before Pharaoh and his wise guys! A quick thought: IF Pharaoh WAS truly a god, why didn’t HE do what he commanded his wise guys to do? WHY, as all of these plagues unfolded didn’t HE STOP them… OR his wise guys? A little ahead of ourselves but a good thought to hold on to! See the battle & hardening of his heart? In our text, God was preparing Moses for what was ahead.
Now, see Ex. 7:1-13. Note well V1. See the theme? Look at 12:12. NOW look at 4:20. See Whose rods it is? Previously it was Moses’ rod, NOW it is the rod of God!
Now, in 7:8-10 the first confrontation with a miracle. Pharaoh is naturally going to challenge the God of Moses and his gods. Right on schedule.. he does. The rod of God becomes a serpent just like God showed and said! Note now the wise guys duplicated the miracle (V11-12a). Much has been written about how they did it. I’m not interested in that, but I am interested in the fact that God ALLOWED them to… for a reason. It’s known that there was MUCH sorcery and black arts at that time. Hollywood doesn’t call it that, but that is what it is. GOD is now revealing that what THEY did, He will consume! Such things were huge in the lives of the Pharaohs. What a sight, to see his wise guys have their magic taken away WITH the rods which they used to perform it. (V12b-13) Now, in Egyptian history (the King Khufu period) is this recording.
During the reign of King Kheops, there was told him of a living magician who could perform miracles… AND tell the future! (Moses would later tell of plagues to come… in the future) Bible words used for such things is “enchantments” (see 7:11 & 22, 8:7 & 18). Note also in our readings the word “sorcerers.” This has to do with witchcraft. One of the other associations with the word magician, is the word horoscope. Enchantments has to do with all of this devilish magic, that God’s people are NOT to be involved with. See where some things today… came from?
I closing, the people were afraid of these guys and Pharaoh was to even be above them. WHY didn’t Pharaoh handle this? Lastly, as Aaron’s rod swallowed up theirs (all of them) can you imagine what they thought? Their anger? There was NO WAY they were prepared for this defeat, and neither was Pharaoh! Mission 1, accomplished!