Exodus 7:6-13 (NKJV)
Then Moses and Aaron did so; just as the LORD commanded them, so they did. And Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three years old when they spoke to Pharaoh.
Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, “When Pharaoh speaks to you, saying, ‘Show a miracle for yourselves,’ then you shall say to Aaron, ‘Take your rod and cast it before Pharaoh, and let it become a serpent.’ ” So Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh, and they did so, just as the LORD commanded. And Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh and before his servants, and it became a serpent.
But Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers; so the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments. For every man threw down his rod, and they became serpents. But Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods. And Pharaoh’s heart grew hard, and he did not heed them, as the LORD had said.
This miracle is designed to show superiority. “My miracle can eat up your miracle.” This doesn’t even count as a plague – since no one got hurt.
But Pharaoh’s “wise men” and sorcerers are having a bad day, and it’s going to get worse. All of Egypt will end up suffering greatly because of Pharaoh’s intransigence. The “wise men” will actually come around long before Pharaoh does. Maybe they really are wise.
Pharaoh is missing a golden opportunity to settle this the easy way. Aaron and Moses just demonstrated that they have powers way beyond anything Pharaoh and his acolytes have ever seen. As the LORD said, “I have made you like God to Pharaoh.”
So far, they’re only asking for a three day trip to worship and sacrifice to YHVH. In the end, the cost to Egypt and to Pharaoh will be so great that one has to wonder how he can stay in power.
We spend a lot of time thinking about, and worrying about, who’s in power – maybe too much time. Don’t get me wrong; elections have consequences. It is good to participate in our political process, and to celebrate victories and morn defeats.
But worldly power isn’t all that powerful. Imagine how you would have felt if you lived in 313 when Emperor Constantine issued the Edict of Milan, which ended the Roman persecution of Christians.
Then later, in 380, the Edict of Thessalonica made Christianity the state religion. Wow. You would have been deliriously happy, right? Everything is awesome!
Well, not exactly. In retrospect, these “breakthroughs” were just cul-de-sacs along the path. The grand sweep of history was not defined by them – especially the advance of the gospel.
The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here: