“Exposing the Exodus”
The Responsibility of the Rod – (Chapter 4 Verses 1-9)
Moses is God’s representative, as such he takes the serpent by the tail, and it is transformed again into a rod (v4). The lesson here? Satan is not a free agent, as is popularly believed. He is completely under the sovereign control of God. He is even used sometimes to do the inscrutable will of God. Therefore God assures us that his servant Satan, for everything and everyone serves the purposes of God, though he may rage against us, but he is unable to withstand God. But it is a reminder that we are in the midst of spiritual warfare, it is a battle. There are demonic forces to be overcome. Therefore God’s whole armour is indispensable, we lay down the weapons of our warfare at our peril. The rod is also a symbol of Moses capacities, his gifting and training. He speaks for God, but all he has and is, is God-given talent. If Moses forgets this for a moment the rod could become a serpent again, that will endanger and destroy. But those same talents, which are gifts from God, used in faith and at God’s command will be instruments for good. They will be tokens of God’s authority yes, but to bring blessing and wholeness and redemption to God’s people. As Moses takes up this rod he is taking up God’s work, which remember he did once before and failed miserably, because he did is in presumption.
The reason for the rod remember is proof (v5). To bring the people of Israel to trust in Moses, in his leadership and that he had in fact met with God. To convince them he had met with the God of their fathers, the covenant Lord. It is vitally important that they know where Moses is coming from, to know and understand that this power is not coming from the serpent, Satan. The power over the serpent demonstrates that this supernatural power being wielded is coming from God, the ultimate source of good, and not evil. It is a demonstration of the reality that God is able, has the power to deal with Satan, the ultimate source of wickedness. It’s the very point that Jesus had to make with the Jews when they accused him of dealing with occult phenomena by the power of Satan (Matthew 12:24ff). It is demonstration of the power of God’s kingdom rule at work. Why, because it creates faith, trust in God, this is the end that God has in mind in all this. He wants the people to love and trust him, to learn to take him at his word. But remember later on in the wilderness that was the one thing they failed to do. The New Testament tells us that God was grieved, deeply offended by them. Why? Because God is always offended by unbelief. Without faith it is impossible to please him (Hebrews 11:6).
(© James R Hamilton, written Spring, 2015)