I was struck by these words from the LORD to Moses when initiating the first plague, turning water to blood. There is an awesome and powerful simplicity in what God says:
Go to Pharaoh in the morning, as he is going out to the water. Stand on the bank of the Nile to meet him, and take in your hand the staff that turned into a serpent. And you shall say to him, The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, sent me to you, saying, "Let my people go, that they may serve me in the wilderness. But so far you have not obeyed."
1. "Go to Pharaoh in the morning." You go to him; don't wait for him to call on you! Get to him first thing at day's beginning. This shows my seriousness of intent and the power with which I send you.
2. "Stand on the bank of the Nile." This is where the Egyptians placed so much store for their livelihood, yea the place of their worship. Henry calls it their "idol." STAND THERE! Precisely on the spot where confrontation should take place, between gods, that is, Jehovah (Yahweh). Right here at the very source of their lives is where God would attack them, showing them to be nothing other than idolaters, worshiping a false god, or demons.
3. "Take in your hand the staff that turned into a serpent." This is what I really wanted to draw our attention to, viz., the authority by which God works. The LORD says, in effect, "I am not just sending you and Aaron; I am sending you WITH the staff that has already been used to demonstrate who I am." Granted, the sorcerers imitated the same thing with their magic (v. 11), but I am going to overthrow their wrong-headed notions of superior strength."
Can I apply this "staff" to God's Word? God has spoken. He takes his own Word very seriously. Countermand it at your own peril! And they did go against God . . . to their own tremendous peril. Men still do this today. But, and here is my point, do we, like Moses wield the power of God's Word with the same confidence that it is indeed the authority of God? "For the word of God is alive and powerful" (Heb. 4:12. And, Is not my word like fire, declares the LORD, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces? (Jeremiah 23:29) Again, may I emphasize this with everything within me? We still have the same Word today. We must show confidence in it by speaking and quoting copiously from Scripture. The Word of God "breaks" and NOT because men respect it! It breaks and wounds and heals and repairs because that what God has ordained that it do. Let us cease putting our hope in programs or cool dress codes and music. Nothing "discerns the thoughts and intentions of the heart" (Heb. 4:12) like God's Word! NOTHING.
Exodus 7:17 gives us the ultimate purpose for Moses' confrontation: Thus says the LORD, "By this you shall know that I am the LORD." This is what is at stake. But this is also what ministers of the gospel stand to gain--Jehovah supremely reigning and drawing men (who've heard the truth) unto himself. Let us insure that we stand with God's word in our hands, "the staff that turned into a serpent," and we shall enjoy the same victory!