Scripture: “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.” Exodus 4:9 ESV
Observation: Assured by Yahweh that he will deliver Israel from Pharaoh’s control and lead them to the Promised Land resourced with plundered jewelry and clothing, Moses still questions whether his people will believe that he speaks on God’s behalf. So the Lord equips Moses with three signs that will add credibility:
- When he throws his staff to the ground, it turns into a serpent; but it reforms into his staff when he picks it up by the tail.
- When he places his hand inside his cloak and retracts it, the first time it’s white and diseased, but the second time it’s healthy.
- And if Israel continues in unbelief, when Moses pours water from the Nile on dry ground, it will turn to blood (above verse).
Takeaway: As we might expect, these three signs point us to the work of Christ:
- While Pharoah would wear a cobra-emblemed turban to signify his presumed godhead power, Moses would unconventionally grasp the snake’s tail to communicate its divine source. Indeed, just as God would soon grab Pharaoh by the tail and overpower him at the Red Sea, so Christ would disempower Satan at Calvary and utterly destroy him at the end of the age.
- The diseased hand points us to the healing aspects of Christ’s mission in our fallen world and the complete eradication of disease when he returns and makes all things new.
- Lastly, the transformation of water to blood preeminently points us to the Cross when the Roman soldier pierced the side of Jesus, and both water and blood poured from his body to dry ground. While water symbolizes the cleansing of sins by the Word of God and his Spirit (regeneration), the sacred flow of Christ’s blood covers our sins so that the Father sees his Son’s righteousness when he looks upon us (justification).
So what does this mean for you and me? The source and power of our lives is none other than our Triune God. Still, until Jesus returns, we have to contend with Satan, who tempts us to try to overcome our sins on our strength. So if we want to take him by the tail and disempower him, we need healthy hands strengthened by the blood of Christ. In other words, we need a deeper understanding of his grace, which will only come about when we listen to and obey his anointed spokesperson, the Holy Spirit.
Prayer: Father God, we thank you for your Holy Spirit who convicts us of our sins and assures us of your love for us revealed in the completed work of your Son. Would you please help us cooperate with your Holy Spirit, who guides us from Satan’s accusations and temptations to the holy blood-cleansed ground of our Promised Land? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling