Worship Service: "Serpent and Staff"

  • Glenridge Middle School 2900 Upper Park Rd Orlando, FL, 32814 United States

Sermon #7 from "Take Off Your Sandals" series on Exodus for Today

If God is real, show me a sign.

Based on Exodus 4:1-17

1 Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?”

2 Then the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?”

“A staff,” he replied.

3 The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.”

Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. 4 Then the Lord said to him, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.” So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand. 5 “This,” said the Lord, “is so that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has appeared to you.”

6 Then the Lord said, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” So Moses put his hand into his cloak, and when he took it out, the skin was leprous[a]—it had become as white as snow.

7 “Now put it back into your cloak,” he said. So Moses put his hand back into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was restored, like the rest of his flesh.

8 Then the Lord said, “If they do not believe you or pay attention to the first sign, they may believe the second. 9 But if they do not believe these two signs or listen to you, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground. The water you take from the river will become blood on the ground.”

10 Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”

11 The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”

13 But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”

14 Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses and he said, “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and he will be glad to see you. 15 You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do. 16 He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him. 17 But take this staff in your hand so you can perform the signs with it.”

Discussion Questions

1. This episode presents Moses as the "reluctant servant." As you read the passage, how is Moses' reluctance expressed?
2. God graciously works to overcome Moses' reluctance. How does he do that?
3. What are the three signs that God gives to Moses in Exodus 4:1-9?
4. Alec Motyer says that signs are given to teach. What might be the message of the first sign, the staff turned into a serpent?
5. Francis Schaeffer gave a sermon called, "No Little People, No Little Places." Here is a quote from that sermon: "Consider the mighty ways God uses a stick of wood. 'God so used a stick of wood' can be a banner cry for each of us." How might this banner cry be helpful to you?
6. What might be the message of the second sign, the leprous hand?
7. Read Titus 3:3-5, and Mark 1:40-42. What might be the glimmer of the gospel in the second sign?
8. What might be the third sign, the turning of the Nile water to blood?
9. Now that Jesus Christ has come, "we live in the light of the full gospel day." Why is Christ a better mediator than Moses?
10. "I hate to say it, but I think the default posture of human beings is fear." (Marilynne Robinson, author of Gilead. How was fear a root cause of Moses' reluctance?
11. Can you think of times that you have been a "reluctant servant?" How might fear have been at the root of your reluctance?
12. "We don't have a staff, but we have a cross." How might this gospel truth help us to trust God instead of being shaped by our fears?