Exodus 7:8 And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
9 When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Shew a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast it before Pharaoh, and it shall become a serpent.
10 And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the LORD had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent.
11 Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments.
12 For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods.
13 And he hardened Pharaoh’s heart, that he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.
An important question that each person should seek to answer is: “how do you determine truth?” Moses and Aaron were going to be put to the test on this matter. Pharaoh failed the test as did much of the nation of Israel.
We are reminded again here of the importance of a true and vital relationship with the true God. We have already noted before that God cannot lie. We have also noted that His name LORD speaks of the fact that no one nor anything will ever interfere with His plan. His plan is moving forward according to the way He has laid it out. Within that schedule, He has given room for each person to turn to Him in repentance and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. The Bible is also clear that most people will not believe in the true God. That does not in any way support the heresy of Calvinism. It supports the fact that God knows everything and He knows who will be broken and who will not. God knows our hearts better than we do. That is why the Psalmist was directed to write:
Psalm 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
The devil is quick to try to discredit God and that is why Augustine worked at the foundational lie that Calvin fleshed out into a detailed lie. Many have clung to the lie rather than believe God.
In verse 9 of our text the LORD gave Moses and Aaron instructions as to how to respond to Pharaoh’s query. Pharaoh was a sign seeker. He needed proof. The trouble with people like Pharaoh, and there are many like him, is that the sign given them is never good enough. God knows that but He would still give Pharaoh a sign.
God instructed Moses and Aaron how to respond to Pharaoh’s request. Aaron was to take his rod and cast it on the ground before Pharaoh and it would become a serpent. Moses and Aaron had both seen God do this several times already. The LORD guaranteed them that Aaron’s rod would become a serpent before Pharaoh.
In verse 10 we see that Moses and Aaron did as the LORD had commanded them. Pharaoh asked for a sign and Aaron took his rod and cast it on the ground before Pharaoh and before his servants and it became a serpent. No surprises here. The LORD declared what would happen and that is exactly what happened.
In verse 11 we read that Pharaoh obviously doubted that this was anything spectacular. He called for his wise men and his sorcerers. We read that his magicians also did as Aaron had done. Verse 12 tells us that they cast down every man his rod and they all became serpents. What they did not expect was that Aaron’s rod swallowed up these rods.
Now these magicians were out their rods, and Aaron still had his rod. His rod proved to be superior to their rods. As a serpent, his rod eliminated their rods.
In verse 13 we read that the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart. It is important to note here again, that Pharaoh was locked into a bad place. He was a “free” man in that he could move around as he pleased. However, he was in bondage to his own stubbornness and his foolishness. We noted as well that God told Moses and Aaron that He would harden Pharaoh’s heart and He would bring the nation of Israel out with a strong hand. Pharaoh would be weakened for a short time into driving the children of Israel out of his land. This would be short lived and he would eventually drown in the Red Sea along with his foolish army. His firstborn son would be killed due to God’s judgment, before Pharaoh drowned. Thus when Pharaoh died, there would be an unnatural succession to the throne.
Moses and Aaron were reminded that Pharaoh would respond just as the LORD had said. Moses and Aaron were being given first hand lessons in trusting the LORD. Their trust in the LORD would not be the result of signs, but it would be based on their trust in His Word.
Nothing has changed over the years. Those who are looking for signs today will sometimes get signs. The Catholics talk of images of Mary that they claim bleed blood. They also claim there are certain cloud formations that are important to note. They believe their dead popes can do miracles after they have died. They believe many foolish and wicked things.
The Charismatics also look for signs. They look for the sign of speaking in tongues. They look for supposed prophecies that they give and that are fulfilled. When a person takes the time to analyze their prophecies, we find they are so vague that they really do not mean anything. We have weathermen that try to forecast the weather. Sometimes they are right and many times they are wrong. They still get out there every day and make their forecasts. Often when they get detailed and try to pinpoint the hour when a major storm will come through, they are way off. A person is much wiser to watch the sky and trust in the LORD.
In Noah’s day, he was told to preach a message of righteousness as he was building that Ark. The people scoffed at him. They waited for a sign. They received a sign, but it was too late then. The same is true today. Those who are waiting for a sign will be too late. We have God’s Word. As we mentioned before, Moses was given the ability to do several signs to try to help Pharaoh and his people to believe Moses’ words.
Jesus Christ did many signs as well in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies regarding His first coming. Very few people were convinced even though Jesus did all those signs. In Acts 2 it was the faithful preaching of God’s Word that convicted many listeners to believe the message preached by Peter. The apostle Paul also was given the power to do certain signs. They were to authenticate his apostleship. God is not giving signs in this manner at this time. He has already given us His Word. We can read it and we can be instructed in the truth. We do not need signs today and God is not giving us signs. The devil is still giving people signs just as he gave signs to the magicians in our text.
The antichrist will also give signs and wonders that will deceive the lost. Saved people believe God’s Word. Saved people walk by faith and not by sight. Saved people walk with confidence because they know and trust God’s Word.
The Bible declares:
I Corinthians 1:22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
God is not impressed with empty degrees. He is wisdom. He is truth. Wise people trust in Him. Wise people follow Him.
In our text Pharaoh wanted a sign. He was given a sign but it did not change his mind. He would be given further signs that would even convince his magicians that God was in charge. However, Pharaoh would not believe. It was a matter of his heart. The same is true today. Those who want signs will sometimes get a sign that will keep them from the truth. It will be a sign from the devil, but not from God. Those who get saved will be saved by the convicting work of the Holy Spirit in their heart and with the faithful preaching and teaching of God’s Word. Those who are saved will act upon what God’s Word says, regardless of whether others want to believe It or not. God’s truth is not negotiable. It is true because He is true.
What has convinced you today? Do you believe God’s Word, or are you a sign seeker? Choose wisely and God will bless you.