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. And the Lord said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod. 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. 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: 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.(Exodus 4:1-9)
The chosen people were not expected to just take Moses’ word that He was there deliverer, and to join him in the rebellion and flight from Pharaoh. Though many knew Moses from his previous life as Pharoah’s adopted son and prince, he hadn’t been seen for almost forty years.
Furthermore God hadn’t really revealed himself to any of the Hebrews since the days of Jacob. In love and mercy for their weakness, God graciously granted Moses three signs to attest that indeed He was indeed the God appointed deliverer of Israel.
The First sign involved Moses’ Shepherd’s staff. Moses had been a Shepherd of Jethro’s flocks on the back side of the desert for forty years, now He would Shepherd God’s people, out of Satan’s house of bondage, Egypt. The LORD himself is the Shepherd of His people.
Leading the flock of Israel out of Egypt was going to require a direct confrontation with Pharaoh, the ‘living god’ of Egypt, and mores, with the powers of darkness, the fallen Angels behind the worship of Set,Osiris, Horace, Ra and the pantheon of Egyptian ‘gods’.
When Moses threw down his staff, it became a Serpent. The Egyptian pantheon featured several serpent headed, or serpentine gods, but Apep the serpent ‘god” was the embodiment of the principle of evil in Egyptian worship. Moses would be able to “take up the serpent”, and bring it under the authority of “Jahweh” the God of Abraham,Isaac and Jacob.
This would be a demonstration to Israel of the the power and authority of God wielded by the God appointed deliverer, Moses over the evil powers which are represented in the false ‘gods’ of Egypt.The drama of the Exodus is that it is a power encounter between God and Satan’s Kingdom, acted out through Moses and Pharaoh.
But the sign of the rod was also a sign of Israel’s past and future. When God held Abraham,Isaac and Jacob in His hand they were blessed. Starting with one barren man and wife, in the hand of God they multiplied and in the days of Joseph, even attained the ascendency. But should Israel ever be cast out of the hand of God, she would come under the power of the Devil until God’s hand re-emerged tp pick her up again and resurrect her.
The second Sign was the sign of Moses’ hand and chest. Moses was to put his hand into his robe, next to his chest, then to pull it out. When Moses pulled out his hand it was lwprous, covered in the unnatural white scaly coating of the leper. When Moses put his hand back into his robe and pulled it out the second time, it was clean and healthy again.
The deeper meaning of this sign was that as long as Israel stayed close to Jahweh, she would be whole, and healthy. But should she pull away, she would have to undergo the living death of leprosy. But upon returning to the bosom of God, Israel shall be cleansed again and restored to the service of mercy in the presence of the LORD.
This is also a prediction of the nature of the Messiah, and of the ultimate deliverance of mankind. Moses appeared to be whole to the children of Israel,, then he appeared to be leprous, and in the end , He appears whole again to the children of Israel.This was wonderful re-iterated by the prophet Isaiah in his description of the Messiah,
Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.(Isaiah 52:13-15)
Finally, the sign of the Nile water, withdrawn and poured out on the ground. The Nile was seen by Egypt as the source of all life and goodness, and was associated with Osiris. The Egyptians had a cleansing cult, consisting of washings and rituals in the Nile. But when Moses poured the water he had withdrawn, out poured blood.
his sign was given in the eventuality that Israel didn’t receive the first two signs because of unbelief. This sign applies not only to Israel but in a wider sense it is a profound warning to all mankind, of the consequences of not believing the testimony of God.
What is this testimony of God? That all of us are in bondage and servitude to Satan from birth, having a fallen nature and a heart that inclines to follow Satan.But God has sent a deliverer, the Messiah, to cleanse us from our sin, bring us all out of Satan’s dominion and and reconcile us to God. But for whoever refuses this message of God, water becomes blood, life gives way to death,