“What if they won’t believe me and will not obey me but say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?” (Exodus 4:1). From the burning bush, God’s glorious and powerful presence assured Moses that he was not alone. Moses was worried that the Hebrew people wouldn’t believe him, that they would consider him a fraud who had not been commissioned by the Almighty.
In response to Moses’s objection, God gave three signs. “The Lord asked (Moses), ‘What is that in your hand?’ ‘A staff,’ he replied. ‘Throw it on the ground,’ he said. So Moses threw it on the ground, it became a snake, and he ran from it”(Exodus 4:2–3). I’d jump back too! Moses took his trusty walking stick and tossed it to the dessert floor. To Moses’s astonishment, the inanimate piece of wood was instantly transformed into a slithering, squirming, hissing, reptile. A snake! “The Lord told Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand and grab it by the tail’ ” (Exodus 4:4). No thanks! My daddy taught me better than that! Never grab a snake by the tail! When Moses snatched the snake by the tail, it immediately became a wooded walking stick. Give Moses credit for his obedience.
The second sign was just as powerful as the first. “ ‘Put your hand inside your cloak.’ So he put his hand inside his cloak, and when he took it out, his hand was diseased, resembling snow. ‘Put your hand back inside your cloak,’ he said. So he put his hand back inside his cloak, and when he took it out, it had again become like the rest of his skin” (Exodus 4:6–7). Leprosy was a dreaded and incurable disease. At God’s command, Moses tucked his eighty-year-old hand inside his jacket. When he pulled it out, Moses was horrified to see his grossly infected appendage. After he stuck his hand back into his jacket and removed it a second time, it was restored to perfect health. He couldn’t imagine a more powerful demonstration of God’s power and grace.
God didn’t demonstrate His third miraculous sign but simply told Moses, “if they don’t believe even these two signs or listen to what you say, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground. The water you take from the Nile will become blood on the ground” (Exodus 4:9). Moses knew that the mighty Nile River was responsible for transforming the Egyptian dessert into a lush and living land. If God could turn the Nile into blood, then defeating the Egyptians and liberating Israel was surely in His grasp. Moses must have paused to think about those startling ramifications. That would be impressive! Surely the people would believe him if he performed these three miraculous signs.
The first sign, the serpent, reminds us that God has power over Satan. Remember, Satan appeared in the Garden as a slithering serpent. The second sign, leprosy, teaches us that God has power over sin. Leprosy, the deadly and incurable disease, is symbolic of sin. And the third sign, blood, reminds us that “according to the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22). Both Satan and sin are overcome by the shed blood of the crucified Lamb. Nothing is impossible for God!
In the New Testament, the most impressive sign is the empty tomb! Jesus was crucified, shed His innocent blood, was buried, and on the third day busted out of the grave alive! Jesus overcame death and the grave. I believe!