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Text Sermons : Zac Poonen : Three Signs God Gave to Moses

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In Exodus Chapter 4 we read about God calling Moses. In order to encourage Moses and to teach him some lessons, God gave him three signs. When Moses told the Lord, "They will not believe what I tell them," the Lord asked him, "What is in your hand?" Note that! The Lord always begins with what is already in our hands. We don't have to go looking for something that we don't have. Elisha asked the widow, "What do you have in your house?" She replied "Only a jar of oil". Elisha said, "That's enough. With that pot of oil all your problems can be solved." (2 Kings 4:2,3). Moses had only his shepherd's staff in his hand. That was enough. When God is with you, miracles can happen with even a shepherd's staff.

For the first sign, God told Moses to throw the staff down. It became a serpent and Moses fled from it (Exo. 4:3). The Lord said, "Don't be scared. Stretch out your hand and take it by the tail." He caught it and it became a staff in his hand again. What was the message there? First of all that Satan is far closer to us than we think - as close as that staff was to Moses. Do you think Satan is far away from us? No. He is always nearby to cause misunderstandings between husband and wife, and between co-workers, etc., but we can overcome Satan! We are not to be afraid of him, for he is a defeated foe. God will crush him under our feet. One of the first lessons we need to learn when we serve the Lord is - not to be afraid of Satan. Satan has got his citadels and his forts, but we don't run away from him. We are to run away from temptation (2 Tim.2:22), but Satan has to run away from us (James 4:7). In Jesus' mighty Name the very thing that Satan uses to try and frighten us, will become a rod of authority in our hand - to split the seas and to lead God's people forward.

As God's servants we need His authority - not Bible-knowledge first, but Divine authority. I would rather have spiritual authority than Bible knowledge any day. The first thing Moses needed was authority over the enemy. It was Satan who was enslaving the Israelites through his servant Pharaoh. And Moses needed to pick him up by the tail, without any fear. Satan should never be able to make us afraid of him.

For the second sign, the Lord asked Moses to put his hand into his bosom (Exo. 4:6). When Moses did that and took out his hand, it was full of leprosy. The second thing we need to understand as the Lord's servants, is that nothing good dwells in our flesh (Rom.7:18). Selfishness and corruption are found everywhere within our flesh. If you think that is not true, just put your hand inside your flesh and see! Ask God to give you light on the leprosy that dwells inside. If you don't learn this important lesson, you will go around condemning people, as though they had a flesh that was worse than yours. Nobody can commit a sin that we are incapable of. If we have not sinned in the same way, it is only because of God's mercy and because we never faced the same intensity of temptation. We are no better than our fellow-human-beings. If you think you are better than any human being on the face of this earth, I want to tell you that you are totally unfit to be a servant of the Lord.

For the third sign, the Lord asked Moses to pour out some water from the Nile and it would turn into blood (Exo. 4:9). The River Nile was the precious god of the Egyptians and blood is a picture of death. So the spiritual meaning of this sign is that all the things of this earth that worldly people worship and run after, we must pour out to death. A servant of the Lord must be crucified to the world and the world must be crucified to him. The world is no longer like water to me (essential for life), but like blood that we are not even tempted to drink. We would rather be thirsty than drink blood. That's the way we need to see everything in this world.

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