Day 32. Magicians and Snakes.
Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Prove yourselves by working a miracle,’ then you shall say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and cast it down before Pharaoh, that it may become a serpent.’ ” So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord commanded. Aaron cast down his staff before Pharaoh and his servants, and it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh summoned the wise men and the sorcerers, and they, the magicians of Egypt, also did the same by their secret arts. For each man cast down his staff, and they became serpents. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. Still Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said. (Exodus 7:8-13 ESV)
Thought I would write on this scene simply because it’s really cool. Can you imagine seeing a snake magically appear from a staff? I thought that was the part that showed that God must really be with Moses and Aaron to Pharaoh when I first read this. It was a surprise and confusing to find that the magicians of Egypt did the same thing by their magic arts. The surprise exposes our own trouble in believing things that aren’t part of our cultural experience. Our inclination is to be shaped by our culture and what it experiences and accepts.
But then I realized that this wasn’t necessarily the part that was to make a statement to Pharaoh, but the scene in which “Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs.” This was a clear statement to Pharaoh what the God of Moses and Aaron was about to do to Pharaoh’s gods. It was a statement of power and it was communicated through this unique display in order to communicate that message to Pharaoh and his magicians that understood power in this particular way. God was speaking their language.
What “gods” of our culture do you see today? How does God show himself more powerful?
Chronological Reading Plan plus Psalms: Ex 7-9, Ps 32