God’s Foolishness

followFollow Me: Deliverance[1]

Observations as I follow God through the Chronological Bible

Exodus 7:8-14[2]

The Bible omits the details of the conversation between Pharaoh, Moses and Aaron in their second meeting. We do know the result. God told Moses and Aaron that Pharaoh would ask for a miracle. Before Pharaoh asked for a miracle, God chose one of the three miracles given to Moses to relieve his fear that no one would believe him. When Pharaoh asked for a miracle, Aaron would throw his rod on the ground and it would turn into a serpent giving Pharaoh a reason to believe.

Jesus said “A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign…” [3] The Jewish historian, Josephus, shed some like on the wickedness of Pharaoh’s government. According to Josephus,

“Yet was the king very angry with him [Moses] and called him an ill man, who had formerly run away from his Egyptian slavery, and came now back with deceitful tricks, and wonders, and magical arts, to astonish him. And when he had said this, he commanded the priests to let him see the same wonderful sights; as knowing that the Egyptians were skillful in this kind of learning, and that he was not the only person who knew them, and pretended them to be divine; as also he told him, that when he brought such wonderful sights before him, he would only be believed by the unlearned.[4]

Pharaoh knew the power of religion to manipulate people. Moses and Aaron were a threat because Pharaoh thought they were doing the same thing he did. Enslaving a nation with tricks and claiming God as the source of his authority. Only the unlearned, the ignorant would believe these sleight of hand tricks were from God. Pharaoh considered himself wise and the people he ruled stupid. Pharaoh was a wise man but he was also an arrogant man.

He summoned his wise men, sorcerers and Egyptian magicians.[5] Each one of them threw down his rod and it became a snake. Each group is plural meaning more than one wise man, sorcerer and magician. At minimum Pharaoh’s servants produced six more snakes. An arrogant man would want a big show. My guess is they were ankle deep in Egyptian snakes.

Moses and Aaron had one snake. At this point, they may have felt foolish. I doubt anyone including God’s messengers anticipated what happened next. God’s one snake devoured all of the Egyptians snakes.

The serpent is a symbol of wisdom. The serpent is also associated with the devil, but God is a serpent too. Jesus is depicted as a serpent. In the wilderness, God sent fiery serpents among the Hebrews to destroy the people creating problems. He also told Moses to put a serpent on a pole. Anyone who looked at the serpent would be healed. Jesus said, “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”[6]

Everyone wants to be the head who dictates the way things will be. Pharaoh had achieved that position in Egypt. It takes wisdom to thwart the challenges to one’s authority. God’s message to Pharaoh was clear. You might be wise, but I am wiser. The Apostle Paul would later write “For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom…”[7]

[1] From the time God promised to change Jacob’s name to Israel, Jacob and his descendants were addressed as both Jacob and Israel, which can be confusing. In Follow Me: Deliverance, I will use “Hebrews” to identify the children of Jacob.

[2] All scripture quotes are from the NIV Bible unless otherwise noted.

[3] Matthew 16:4 NKJ

[4] Antiquities of the Jews Book 2 Chapter 13

[5] Exodus 7:11

[6] John 3:14

[7] 1 Corinthians 1:25

About Teena Myers

Teena is the Vice Chairman of the Southern Christian Writers Guild, author of three books and a freelance writer.
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