Am I the only one who has ever wondered why snakes were significant in the Bible? Sure, the snake has a key role in Genesis, but why did God choose the snake to convince the Egyptians that Moses was sent by God? Why did God choose this as a sign of his power and authority? It was more intentional than you might think.
Pharoah Loved The Snake
I’m not sure how he felt about the snake as a pet or part of the family, but as far as the Egyptians were concerned, the snake was a symbol of protection for Pharoah. It was part of Pharaoh’s headdress (called a uraeus) and Pharoah believed the uraeus actually went into battle ahead of him.
God Was Not Impressed with Pharaoh’s Snake…
Moses realized at the burning bush that God was calling him to go before Pharaoh and declare the very words of the Lord. He knew that unless he could give some sort of sign to confirm that his message was from God, Pharaoh wouldn’t believe him. God tells Moses and Aaron that when Pharaoh asks for a miracle, they are to throw down the staff and it will turn into a snake. If you’ve read the story, you know that Moses and Aaron do as they are told only to have Pharaoh’s magicians turn their staffs into snakes as well using their “secret arts” (chapter 4). Aaron’s staff swallows the magicians’ staffs; it was a message that God’s uraeus was bigger than Pharaoh’s.
…Or Moses’s Capabilities
Moses was well aware of the fact that Pharaoh would be well within his rights to simply look at him and say “you’re dead”. Imagine the fear and trepidation that Moses must have felt; it makes sense why he argues with God and asks him to send someone else. This makes God angry, not because Moses is afraid, but because Moses doesn’t get it. God wants Moses to know that he’s not after his capabilities; he’s after his heart. When Moses needed a win and a sign that God was in control, God hit Pharaoh where he was his most confident, in the symbol of his protection.
There will be times when God puts us in uncomfortable situations and we realize we are in over our heads. So what? Moses is proof that our inadequacies are powerless to derail God’s plans.