HLM Banner HLM banner

Be a Staff, Not a Snake

Be a Staff, Not a Snake

Credit:©iStockphoto.com/Ivan Burmistrov

Pharaoh cobra headdress: “When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Perform a miracle,’ then say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh,’ and it will become a snake.” — Exodus 7:9

During this season of miracles for both Christians and Jews, enjoy this collection of devotional teachings on the nature of God’s awe-inspiring signs and wonders. For more on miracles, download our complimentary Bible study.

For the first of God’s many miracles, Moses was commanded to go to Pharaoh and turn a staff into a snake. Moses did as he was commanded; Aaron threw down his staff and it became a snake in front of Pharaoh. But we all know what happened next. Pharaoh’s magicians performed exactly the same thing! In fact, according to Jewish tradition, every 5-year-old in Egypt could perform that same “trick.” Couldn’t God have sent Moses with something a bit more impressive?

The Jewish sages teach that the miracle wasn’t meant to impress; it was intended to send a message.

Consider the following. In Egypt, a snake, particularly a cobra, was the symbol of royalty and deity. The pharaohs were considered to be both kings and gods. That’s why, when you see pictures depicting ancient Egyptian pharaohs, you will notice that their entire headdresses were comprised of snake and cobra symbols. Often, a small snake stood at the top of the crown representing the snake-god Uraeus. The sides of the headdress were meant to replicate the banded hood of a cobra. Even the straight pointy beards that we see on sculptures of pharaohs were meant to look like the underbelly of a snake. God didn’t pick a snake as His first miracle in front of Pharaoh as a whim. It was a deliberate choice and a poignant message.

When Aaron’s snake swallowed up Pharaoh’s snakes, that’s when things got interesting. It was as if God was saying, “You think that you are a god, but I am the only God. I can swallow you up, and once you are gone, there will be no trace that you ever existed.” God, on the other hand, is forever.

In our times, we can also “replicate” many of God’s miracles. God can provide food, and we can go to the supermarket and provide food. God can heal, and we can go the doctor and be cured. God can create light, and we can also bring light to a dark room with the flick of a switch. We, too, can do all that!

But don’t be fooled. We are not God. Only God is God. He was, is, and always will be. He is the source of all that we can do and all that we can be.

At the end of the scene, Aaron’s snake turns back into a staff. There’s a message here, too. We are not God; we are simply a staff – a tool in His hand. To those who desire honor, power, and wealth, this message will sting like a venomous snakebite. But to those who crave meaning, peace, and holiness, it is a soothing sound that calms the snake in us and frees our soul.

Download our complimentary Bible study, Miracles: God’s Signs and Wonders, for more inspirational teachings on this topic.

Hebrew Word of the Day

December 1, 2019

Winter

Hot Chocolate — Shoko Cham

YAEL'S HOLY LAND REFLECTIONS

Reflections from the Sea of Galilee

A much-needed family trip to this biblical body of water shows how God can restore us, renew us, and bless us.

Monthly Teaching Resource

Tisha B’Av - Teaching Our Children Hope

Listen as Fellowship President and CEO Yael Eckstein explains the Jewish observance, Tisha B’Av, which occurs this month at sundown July 29-July 30, and the lessons of hope that can be found in the saddest day on the Jewish calendar, from her audiobook, Generation to Generation: Passing on a Legacy of Faith to Our Children.

How to Help

Pray With Us

Please join us as we gather together for prayer and healing during these painful and tense times in America by phone, Tuesday, July 28th, at 8 PM Eastern Time/7 PM Central Time/ 5 PM Pacific Time. Call in at 1-877-365-5237 to join. Yael Eckstein and The Fellowship’s Chairman of the Board, Bishop Lanier, will lead our Fellowship Family in prayer through this difficult time, and with our prayers may we find peace.  

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay informed about issues affecting Israel, the Jewish people, Jewish-Christian relations, receive daily devotionals, and more.