Showdown Throw Down

Exodus 4:1-5  "1 Then Moses answered and said, "But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, 'The LORD has not appeared to you.'" 2 So the LORD said to him, "What is that in your hand?" He said, "A rod."  And He said, "Cast it on the ground." So he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it. Then the LORD said to Moses, "Reach out your hand & take it by the tail" (And he reached out his hand & 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, has appeared to you."

Moses argued with God. We would probably point out that this is a dumb thing to do, except we often catch ourselves arguing with God too. Moses’ lack of faith needed some correction. God chooses to use his simple shepherd’s staff as a symbol of His own power.  

A rod is first, a crutch. What Moses would lean on as he trudged through the rocky terrain of the desert. Symbolically God is telling Moses to abandon his crutch. Willingly toss aside what he is leaning on and learn to lean completely on God.  

A rod secondly, is a weapon. Moses no doubt had used his staff to fend off predators and to separate two sheep that were battling for dominance. Rods are effective weapons of warfare. God did not want Moses to rely on the weapons of this world, but on the weapons of spiritual warfare. Willingly toss aside your weapon and let God fight your battles.

A rod finally, is a symbol of power.  In the hands of a king we call it a scepter. The shepherd’s staff had a crook in it like a candy cane. That hook is used to control the sheep by taking it by the head. God did not intend for Moses to go back to Egypt and challenge pharaoh for control. God wants us to let go of our desire to control and allow Him to be King of our lives.

Don’t argue with God. Throw down your crutch and learn to lean on Him. Lay your weapons down and say with David before Goliath, “The battle is the Lord’s.” Be willing to relinquish control of your life to Him. Throw down that rod and see it for the dangerous serpent it is.

Now… and only now… Take up that serpent by the tail. Moses need to know the danger of power, of warfare, of crutches. He was right to flee from those dangers. But now, by faith God commands him to take them up again. This time with caution, this time with purpose. What purpose you ask? That others may believe!

In Christ,
Pastor Joel Johns