By the time God appeared to Moses he had been a shepherd in the desert of Midia for 40 years.  His staff had become the primary weapon with which to beat off the snakes. When God said to Moses, “throw down your staff,” Moses probably hesitated to let go of it. It was his only means of defense. God said, “throw it down, Moses.”

He did, and when it became a snake, I can just imagine that Moses probably ran from it. But God called him to stop and said, “Hey Moses, pick it up.” Max Lucado suggests that God was probably smiling by this time.  And Moses probably spoke the most courageous words he could come up with. He said, “what?”

God then, still smiling,  said, “Moses, pick it up…. by the tail.” Moses is thinking, “God, you don’t know much about snakes do you? You don’t pick them up by their tail. They will always get you that way.” But of course, when he obeyed it became his staff again. God knows all about snakes. Especially the snake “Pharaoh.”

The Cobra was the symbol of Pharaoh’s power. He had one on his crown, probably like the one discoved in the tomb of Tutukamen. Everyone was afraid of the cobra and Pharaoh promoted himself as the “cobra” of Egypt. As the cobra struck fear in all, Pharaoh led by striking fear in his subjects. He had magicians on his court who handled snakes. They could grab a snake by it’s head, pinch it’s nerves, and make it as stiff as a board. It even looked like a staff or walking cane. Some walking canes were designed as snakes with the head as the handle. When the magicians duplicated Moses miracle of the staff, they threw their “snake canes” on the ground, releasing the paralyzing pressure and what looked like walking canes now looked like snakes. But Moses snake ate up the cobras of Egypt.

God was assuring Moses that if he would just trust and obey, He would give Moses power over Pharaoh and his great army. But Moses simply needed to trust God and act on that faith. In our walk with God it always comes down to this: Will you trust God, even when he calls you to face situations you would never choose for yourself. Job said, “though He slay me, yet will I trust him.” That’s what he asks of us all. Max says, “When you can’t trace God’s hand, trust His heart.”