The Rod and the Serpent

WHEN Jehovah sent His servant Moses to the great king of Egypt commanding Pharaoh to let His people go, the first sign He gave was the victory of the rod over the serpent. The temples and palaces of Egypt bore upon their lintels the sign of the serpent; there it stood with its uplifted head on either side of the sign of the sun, as if to tell to all who entered in those mighty and glorious buildings, that wisdom like the serpent's and power as the sun's, were Egypt's own. Idols and wonders and signs abounded in the land of those temples and palaces where the children of Israel were enslaved, and were building for Pharaoh great treasure cities. In his land, Pharaoh was supreme in power, his greatness and authority were beyond all question. How amazed then must he have been when the message from Jehovah reached him; "Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Let My people go, that they may hold a feast unto Me in the wilderness.”
He proudly answered, “Who is Jehovah, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I know not Jehovah, neither will I let Israel go." He knew the sun god and the serpents and the hundreds of other gods and sacred creatures worshipped in his land, but Jehovah, the living and the true God, Him he knew not.
Now, when Pharaoh said to Moses and Aaron, "Show a miracle for you"—a wonder to evidence that they were truly sent by the God whom they proclaimed—Jehovah had bidden Aaron to take His "rod and cast it before Pharaoh, and it shall become a serpent." The rod of God was that staff which Moses had in his hand when being a shepherd he fed the flocks of his father-in-law in the desert of Horeb. That rod was the outward and visible sign of Jehovah's power, before which the gods of Egypt and king Pharaoh himself should bow.
We can picture to ourselves the great king in his state and surrounded by his grandees, and Moses and Aaron standing before him having the rod of God with them. Then Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh and before his servants, and it became a serpent.
Pharaoh was accustomed to the signs and wonders of his wise men, sorcerers, and magicians who had power from Satan to deceive men, and to keep them in the bands of idol-worship. So he called for his priests to do as Moses and Aaron had done. Our picture gives us a faint idea of the scene. Pharaoh sits upon his throne surrounded by his great men, before them are the priests with their garments of leopard skins; see they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents!
No doubt Pharaoh said to himself, "The priests of Egypt can show forth as great power as the servants of the God of these Hebrews, my slaves! Who then is Jehovah, that I should obey Him?”
But lo! Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods, and then, when the strange scene before the king had come to its end, the sign of the power that Egypt's priests wielded was taken from them—they had no rods left! The power they possessed none could question, God permitted it, and none can question the power of Satan the god of this world, of which the Bible speaks; but the power of God is almighty, and in the end there will be no power and no sign of power left in the enemy's hand.
One thing, however, remained in the king of Egypt, even hardness of heart; this was never changed, and though Satan be stripped of all his power, still his enmity to God will abide. Thank God, He begins with poor sinners by making our hearts to love Him, and we love God because He first loved us.
The rod of God's power will in the end subdue the wisdom and strength of the serpent, though God may now allow Satan to seem to have his own way. We remember what God said at the very first to the serpent in Paradise, when He foretold the coming of Christ the promised Seed, "It shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel." (Gen. 3:1515And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (Genesis 3:15).) And so it was when God began in Egypt to work for the deliverance of His people there; His first sign to the ruler of Egypt was the overthrow of the serpent by the rod. And when we reach the record of the end of this world's history, we come to the time when Satan's power shall be taken from him; the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil (the accuser), and Satan (the enemy), shall be bound with a chain, and held prisoner in the bottomless pit. And then, after a further interval, he shall be sealed up in hell forever, and his power, and all sign of his power, shall be seen no more, but the power and wisdom of God shall rule alone.