Matthew R. Perry

Your Burning Bush Speaks, Part III: What If They Don’t Listen?

In Church Life, Missions on October 26, 2007 at 10:53 pm

(Be sure to read the Introduction, Part I and Part II to this blog series.)

Read with me Exodus 4:1-9:

Then Moses answered, “But behold, they will not believe me or listen to my voice, for they will say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you.’ ” [2] The Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” He said, “A staff.” [3] And he said, “Throw it on the ground.” So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent, and Moses ran from it. [4] But the Lord said to Moses, “Put out your hand and catch it by the tail”—so he put out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand— [5] “that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.” [6] Again, the Lord said to him, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” And he put his hand inside his cloak, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous like snow. [7] Then God said, “Put your hand back inside your cloak.” So he put his hand back inside his cloak, and when he took it out, behold, it was restored like the rest of his flesh. [8] “If they will not believe you,” God said, “or listen to the first sign, they may believe the latter sign. [9] If they will not believe even these two signs or listen to your voice, you shall take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground, and the water that you shall take from the Nile will become blood on the dry ground.”

Before we think Moses was being too harsh on his people, keep in mind that if you and your family had been in a certain situation for as long as they had, you may question some sheepherder showing up on the scene (and a fugitive at that) saying that he’s from God and will be the instrument of deliverance. We may understand this. Some of you who are followers of Christ may have family back home who do not know Christ. Remember Matthew 13:53-58?

And when Jesus had finished these parables, he went away from there, [54] and coming to his hometown he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? [55] Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? [56] And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” [57] And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” [58] And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.

But God then issues three miracles: the staff-into-the-snake, the leprous hand, and the river into blood. The question is, is there any significance to these signs? Of course!

First of all, why a snake? This snake, likely a cobra, was held in high esteem in Egypt. It represented the Cobra Princess. In fact, as you may have seen in pictures and movies, the leaders’ headdresses depicted … a cobra. Moses was to take the snake and grab it by … the tail?!?! Moses was getting a lesson in trusting God, for everyone knows that we should grab a snake where? Some would say, “No where!” But the best place is as close to the back of his head — and the furthest away from the fangs — as possible! The point: God was more powerful than their symbol of power!

Secondly, why the leprous hand. The leprous hand had no cure found here, it left one isolated, and once leprous there was no turning back — you were cut off. God is sovereign even over the most debilitating disease on earth!

Lastly, why the river turned into blood. This river, the Nile, is considered the longest river in the world. It starts from Ethiopia and goes all the way through Egypt and empties out into the Mediterranean for a total of 4,132 miles. To the EgyNile was the life-giver. For God to have the ability to turn this into blood shows that God is sovereign over all things — HE IS THE TRUE LIFE-GIVER.

Consider this: these three signs (the cobra, the leprosy, and the Nile) all were very imposing obstacles. By human perspective, there was no overcoming those obstacles. With God, those obstacles turn into opportunities to show His sovereign glory.

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