Moses Challenges Pharaoh | Devotion 5: Counterfeits Exposed
The words of God can always be trusted. That is a 100% guarantee. However, we are mere humans, and even the most trusting among us can waver in our faith. Sometimes we just want tangible proof. Because God is good and knows how we operate (because He created us!), He often confirms His truths to us in various ways. Sometimes it is through the gentle whisper of the Holy Spirit, or through another brother or sister in Christ. Other times it comes with more pizazz – like a crazy and large scale miracle. However, He chooses to do so, these signs prove that what He says is true, that He is trustworthy, and that we should listen to Him. In the book of Exodus, we see God making bold statements and huge promises. We also see Him backing those promises with the proof that He can be trusted. In chapter 8, God decides that it is time for people to start listening.
God had a big plan at hand. It was time for His people, the Israelites, to be set free from their bondage to the nation of Egypt. Their deliverance was at hand. God called up a man named Moses to be the guy to help get the job done. He also gave Moses a helper, his brother Aaron, to help accomplish the mission. Moses and Aaron knew they had a big job ahead of them. They knew that merely telling Pharaoh that God was telling him to let a couple million of his slaves go free would not be a simple thing. “Never gonna happen,” is much more likely the answer they knew they would get from the King of Egypt. Yet they trusted that God would take care of it and decided to obey the (seemingly crazy) things He asked them to do. He did not disappoint them! Today we are going to focus on Exodus chapter 7 verses 8-13. Here we see God telling Moses and Aaron that He is going to show some proof of who He is and how much power He yields. “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” (Exodus 7:8-10).
I know we live in an age where we see movies with crazy special effects, or magic shows with incredible illusions, but this was long before all of that. This was not an illusion; it was the power of God at work. In this instance, the proof was meant for Pharaoh. He wanted to know why he should trust Moses, and why Yahweh- the true God of the Israelites- was any different than all of the gods of Egypt. Instead of being convinced, he decided to replicate it so he could ignore it. Verses 11-13 tell us, “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.”
I wish I could tell you how exactly the Egyptian sorcerers performed their replication. Perhaps for them, it was an illusion. Or perhaps it was the power of the enemy, Satan himself, that caused their staffs actually to turn into snakes. What I do know is that Satan is the ultimate deceiver and for every good and perfect thing that God offers, the enemy always offers a counterfeit option that will lure people away from God. You would think a stick turning into a snake and then eating all the other snakes would be enough proof to convince Pharaoh to listen to God, but yet his heart stayed hardened. Perhaps one of the reasons for that was that he allowed his heart to be content with the counterfeit.
How often do we do the same? Over and over again God proves Himself true, but instead of being convinced we make excuses. We explain the truth away, so we do not have to listen to God and do what He says. We accept the enemy’s lies and in doing so miss out on the good gifts and promises that God offers us. Just like in this story, there is a big difference between God’s truth and the enemy’s counterfeit. The other snakes or staffs were devoured. Aaron’s serpent was the only one left, leaving the Egyptians with nothing left on which to lean. Aaron was left with the support of his staff and the support of His God. Friend, do not let your heart be content with the counterfeits of this world. One day they will all be exposed. Only God’s perfect truth will remain. He has proven faithful, and His plans are in your best interest. It is time to listen!