Exodus 4:1 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.
2 And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod.
3 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.
4 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:
5 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.
6 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.
7 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.
8 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.
9 And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe also these two signs, neither hearken unto thy voice, that thou shalt take of the water of the river, and pour it upon the dry land: and the water which thou takest out of the river shall become blood upon the dry land.
God reminds us many times that it is quite foolish to argue with Him. He knows everything and we really know nothing apart from His intervention in our lives. God has the answer for every question or excuse we might have.
Moses was making up excuses for not serving the LORD. That is quite common, but it is also quite wrong. If God calls a saved person to a task, He will also equip that person for that task. Christians are called to walk by faith and not by sight. When we walk by faith we will be blessed with opportunities to grow and serve God.
In verse 2 God would answer Moses with what he had with him. God is never at a loss to prove Himself to be God. Man can lack the ability to do things, but God can work with anything. Moses had a rod in his hand. This would be a very common tool for a shepherd.
In verse 3 God told him to cast it on the ground. Moses had a rod in his hand, but he needed to be willing to let go of that rod. He needed to let God have that rod. That rod became a serpent. Moses knew what serpents were about and he knew many are dangerous. He ran from that serpent. God could take an ordinary stick and turn it into a living snake. Moses needed to get out of the way and let God show Himself strong.
In verse 4 God told Moses to take that snake by the tail and when he did so it became a rod in his hand again. This event, plus the burning bush that Moses had already observed, should have caused Moses to realize he was dealing with something much bigger than himself. He had already been told that he was being spoken to by the LORD. He knew that but he was still hesitant to listen to God. God showed His power to work independently of man and also through man. He could turn that rod into a serpent without any assistance from Moses. He called upon Moses to take up that snake by the tail and He would turn it back into a rod. Moses needed to understand that the things he had, actually belonged to God and when given to God, they would be used in a mighty way. This was true of external things, but it was also true for Moses’ own life as well. The same is true for any born again Christian. When a Christian surrenders his or her life to God, God can do amazing things in and through that person. Those things may not seem amazing to the lost, but Christians do not gauge their effectiveness by consulting the lost. They serve God and trust Him to guide them and use them for His glory.
In verse 5 God again reminded Moses of Who He was. He would continue to remind Moses that He was the true and the everlasting God. Abraham believed God. God could bless him because he believed in Him. Isaac believed in God and he was also blessed by God. Jacob also believed God and was blessed as well. Moses needed to understand the true God is trustworthy and faithful.
In verse 6 the LORD told Moses to put his hand into his bosom. The bosom is in the stomach area of the person. Moses obeyed and put his hand into his bosom. When he took it out is was leprous as snow. This would be a scary thing. Moses needed to wake up and see that God is in control of all things. God is in control of our health and our wealth. It is true that a person can do foolish and sinful things to harm their health. They can cause health issues that are not necessary. They can interfere with God’s will for them. Those who walk faithfully with the Lord are under His control and God can work in them in different ways for His glory.
Moses did not do anything here to bring on this leprosy. He simply put his hand into his bosom. God instantly made that hand leprous. God can do that. He does that for His glory.
In verse 7 the LORD told Moses to put his hand back into his bosom. Moses did not hesitate to follow this command. He was also quick to pull it out again. He did not want to be a leper. Amazingly, his hand was restored to him again. There was no evidence that it had been leprous just a moment earlier. Just as quickly as God made that hand leprous, He also restored it back to health.
Moses needed to learn of the power and authority of God in all things. The elders of Israel also needed to understand that God was in control. They did not understand why they had to endure the afflictions they were facing. We know God wanted to use those things to draw the nation closer to Himself. Sadly, they did not respond as He wanted them to. An entire generation would miss out on many of God’s blessings and would die in the wilderness because they were too stubborn.
In verse 8 the LORD assured Moses the elders would believe these signs. If the first one was not enough, the second one would convince them.
In verse 9 God gave a further sign. God knows just how stubborn we can be. He knows we are quite gullible to accept a lie, but we are quite resistant against the truth. God knows the devil is involved in trying to keep people from the truth.
Moses was told to take some water from the river and pour it on the dry land. That water would become blood when poured upon the dry land. Water is an essential need of man and animals and plants. We value good clean water. Sometimes we do not value it enough and we assume there is an endless supply of good clean water. We do not realize its value until we no longer have it.
God showed Moses that He could use the things that Moses had. He showed Moses that He could use his body. He showed Moses that He could use things that were common to all people. God was showing Moses that He was in charge and Moses needed to submit to Him and trust Him. Moses was not being told to be a passive blob that would just wait for God to do the next thing. He was to be actively involved in serving God. He was to submit to God and trust God to use him through his actions for His glory.
The same is true for you and I. God made man. He made man to glorify Him. Man does not glorify Him when he chooses to just be a useless blob that expects God to move him when He so chooses. God wants us to turn to Him in repentance and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. Then He wants us to understand the need to walk with Him in humility. He wants to use us for His glory. In so doing, He will bless us in ways we never expected. Moses would learn many things once he would surrender to God. He would face trials and challenges he never expected as well. However, he was never alone in facing those things. God knew all about them and God was there to strengthen Moses and to guide him for His glory.
God wants us to know His blessings. We cannot know them until and unless we are first of all His child. Salvation is the starting place. After a person is saved, they need to learn the importance of submitting to God in all things. God has given us minds to think. He has given us bodies to work and serve Him. He designed man to do his best in all things, understanding that it is God Who equips the person to glorify Him through their obedience to Him.
We can learn from the life of Moses. We can learn that it is unwise to resist God. We can learn the importance of listening to God and that He knows what He is doing even when we do not understand. Let us submit to His will and let Him bless us. Those who are saved will have opportunity to grow and serve Him more faithfully. Those who are lost will pout and complain and miss out on great blessings simply because they wanted to be in charge.
Choose wisely and learn from the lessons that God gives us in His Word.