You read about the three signs that the LORD gave Moses in Exodus chapter 4. The first was how Moses’ rod (shepherd’s staff) became a serpent when it was cast to the ground. The second was how his hand became leprous when he put it in his bosom; and when he put it in again it became normal. The third sign is how he changed the water into blood.
These three signs were given by God to Moses to convince the elders of Israel that he (Moses) was commissioned by God to redeem His people Israel out of Egypt. But I think the signs were given to strengthen Moses in taking up the commission and not backing out! But Moses was not confident; he almost backed out!
But was Moses a coward? Certainly not. He was simply a man who was thoroughly emptied by God. He had spent 40 years in the wilderness and ended up as a dry bush in the desert. The initial and memorable sign that came to him as he tended his father-in-law’s flock near Horeb was the sign of the ‘burning bush’. The bush would have been consumed in an instant, but the living flame kept burning bright without in any way depending on the bush for fuel. Isn’t that amazing? God was the living flame. He would burn in Moses, without Moses being burnt out. And Moses would in no way contribute to the burning, to the flame, but remain as a ‘dry bush’. All the glory would go to God!
That’s hard for us. Hard for any man to understand. Surely some glory must go to the man of God! Don’t we admire those great men of God? That’s how we rob God of His glory! All the glory should go only to God! Not to any man, not even to Moses!
Now we can understand the three signs. The first sign tells us that the power is of God. And God has given that power to Moses’ rod (in other words, to Moses himself). The magicians try to display their evil power before Moses by changing their rods into serpents, but Moses’ rod swallows up all their rods! God is in full control. He even controls Satan – to Satan, He says: “Thus far and no further!” All power and all authority lies with God. That should comfort us. We have an All-mighty God!
The third sign is the changing of water into blood. It’s the sign of judgment and death. If we don’t submit to God, then what lies before us is judgment and death! Death is the result of disobedience, of an unrepentant heart. It’s a terrible thing – to see the waters of the life-giving Nile turn into waters of blood! God, if He is spurned, becomes a God of awful judgment!
The second sign? Moses in himself has nothing to boast about. He must realize his unworthiness. He puts his hand into his bosom and brings it out leprous as snow. He must realise the iniquity of the human heart. There is nothing good in us. We are but earthen vessels and the glory that shines out from us is but the glory of God. I believe this sign is what kept Moses meek. He was the meekest man on earth, Numbers 14.3.
So we have three signs. The sign of power & authority; all in the hands of God. The sign of judgment and death – if we disbelieve, are unrepentant, and disobedient. And the sign of man’s utter sinfulness and unworthiness. We cannot boast of anything before God!