Today we begin Exodus Chapter Four.
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For the King James Version, click here.
YHVH answered him, “What is that in your hand?” and he said, “A staff.” He said, “Throw it on the ground!” and he threw it on the ground. It turned into a snake, and Moshe recoiled from it.-Exodus 4:2-3
Continuing on from Chapter 3, we are still in the midst of Moses’ exchange with God at the burning bush.
I find this whole scene interesting because here we have a man engaged in an intimate conversation with the Almighty Creator of the whole universe and yet still persisting in disbelief and reluctance to take on the mission presented to him.
In response, God decides to give Moses a taste of just what He’s capable of.
What happens next is amazing.
He tells Moses to throw his shepherd’s staff on the ground.
Moses does and it instantly turns into a snake!!!
What’s important to understand is that the signs God showed Moses were symbolic and directed attacks targeting Egypt’s pagan religious beliefs.
The snake represented the patron cobra-goddess worshiped in lower Egypt and was the official Egyptian symbol of royal power and authority.
The Pharaohs also wore a golden serpent emblem on their heads.
Moses, a former prince of Egypt, whose existence had now been reduced to the life of a simple shepherd would have instantly recognized the symbolic significance of the snake God showed him.
Next, God tells Moses to grab the venomous reptile by the tail.
Now for those of you who aren’t too familiar with poisonous snakes, let me enlighten you on an important point.
NEVER, EVER, I MEAN ABSOLUTELY NEVER grab a viper by the tail, that is unless you’re on a suicide mission.
The tail is the most dangerous place to seize a poisonous snake.
When Moses reached out to grab the snake by its tail, he had to completely trust that God would keep him from harm.
Which He did.
For we’re told that the snake turned back again into a wooden staff.
The symbolism being presented here is just too awesome for words.
A humble shepherd was going to seize the serpent, Egypt, the most powerful nation in its time, by its own tail and shake it into submission.
As we move forward, note that the simple and practical staff Moses used to shepherd with will now be wielded as a powerful magician’s wand in his hand.
Indeed, God can take the simplest of things in our lives and turn them into instruments of unstoppable power to achieve His will.
Moses will now use the staff to unleash awesome miracles in both the zoological and meteorological realms and begin to lead a new flock of sheep called Israel.