Exodus 4:1-9 What is in your hand?

1 And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The Lord hath not appeared unto thee.

2 And the Lord said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod.

3 And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it.

4 And the Lord said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand:

5 That they may believe that the Lord God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee.

6 And the Lord said furthermore unto him, Put now thine hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow.

7 And he said, Put thine hand into thy bosom again. And he put his hand into his bosom again; and plucked it out of his bosom, and, behold, it was turned again as his other flesh.

8 And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign.

9 And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe also these two signs, neither hearken unto thy voice, that thou shalt take of the water of the river, and pour it upon the dry land: and the water which thou takest out of the river shall become blood upon the dry land.


Moses had done what he thought was right at the beginning of his story.  He knew that God would deliver his people through his own hand somehow and, with this in mind, had acted abruptly in anger by killing an Egyptian.  He thought that the people would recognize this as some sign that he was sent to help them but it had all ended in failure and rejection.

No one believed in him, God was evidently not with him, and Pharaoh was out to kill him.  So he ran for his life.

Now we find Moses in a much different place.  He had spent forty years in a royal palace thinking he was a somebody and now we learn that he has spent forty years in a desert thinking he was a nobody.  He had married, raised a family, and joined in the family business here in this isolated place all the while probably thinking that he was a failure and a fool for thinking that he could have been used by God for anything.

Now God had come to him and was telling him, “I want you.  I want to use you!”

At one time Moses would have jumped at the chance but it seems things have changed.  Now he has a different answer for God.  Now he is not so sure about anything and as we saw in Chapter 3, he begins a face to face dialogue with the Lord that we don’t really see anywhere else in Scripture.


I’m not good enough – 3:11


11 And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?


I am a nobody and you could never use me.  I am too much of a sinner.


Here Moses shows the first sign of a true prophet of God.  He knows just how useless he is, but it seems that he is still focused on his previous failure.  He knows that he can do nothing but he thinks that God also can’t do anything with him.

Have you ever thought this?

I have


Is God really powerful enough to use Moses, or us in a big way when we fail so many times in just the smallest things?


You see God has a different view of us and in 3:12 we see His promise to Moses as well as you and me:


“I will be with you!  If I send you, I will sustain and help you!”


He was telling Moses that he would have a successful ministry.


We need to be careful how we measure success because it is not the same in God’s terms as we the worlds or as we might think of it.  We might see things as a complete failure but in fat it is the very means for God to build us up.  We need to see that we are nothing and that we can do nothing without God and in that way we grow with and trust in Him.

Always remember that if we want to know our value we can’t look to others or in the mirror; we need to look at the cross


I don’t know enough – 3:13


13 And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shalt say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?


“They will think I am crazy if I go to them and besides, they don’t know You!” is his second reason not to be used and we see the Lord giving him the name “I AM THAT I AM.”

We are also introduced to the Name of God – Jehovah,  or YAHWEH.

He tells Moses to tell the people that “I AM” had sent him.  “I AM” your strength! I AM your sufficiency!”


Now we come to a few ‘I am” statements from Moses as he is still arguing with the Lord.


I am not confident enough – 4:1


1 And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The Lord hath not appeared unto thee.


40 years ago Moses was ready to take the scene by storm and deliver the people of God with a mighty hand but now he is not so sure that he can do anything.  He is telling the Lord, “I went to them once before and they rejected me.  They will probably do the same thing again.”

In his thinking, nothing had changed and it had probably only gotten worse.


The Lord asks him a simple question, “What is in your hand?”


Moses is about to experience a series of miracles from God that no other human is allowed to be a complete part of until the ministry of Jesus.  The first and the third are aimed at Egypt, while the second can be said of Israel.

The rod – What Moses had in his hand was a rod, or a shepherd’s staff.  He took this rod with him everywhere and generally used it to lead and protect the flocks but it was about to become the authority of God.  God tells him to throw it down and it becomes a serpent.  The serpent was not only the symbol of Egypt, both religiously and politically, but it also represents the power behind the throne…Satan.

The Lord would take Egypt by the tail so to speak.  He would show His Power and Might as a sign to Pharaoh and the world.

The leprous hand – Moses was told to put his hand in his garment and when he brought it out it was diseased.  When he put his hand back in the garment and pulled it out it was clean again.  The Hebrew word used here doesn’t mean exact leprosy.  It was in fact a disease that was not as serious a leprosy but all the same considered just as bad.  The Hebrew people avoided this defilement completely and considered this an outward sign of the person’s inward spiritual condition.  Their thinking was that whomever had leprosy was under a curse from God.

Through this sign, Moses hand represented the inward condition of Israel.  They had defiled themselves in Egypt and they were impure.  God was doing to heal His people and purify them from their defilement.


Water to blood – The Nile was life and a god for Egypt.  In turning the water from the Nile to blood, God is showing His supremacy over the worthless Egyptian gods.


All three signs represent the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the people of God.

The rod is the presence and authority of God.

We know that all authority is given to Jesus Christ – Matthew 28:18

We receive the presence of the Lord through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  We also receive authority over the flesh and sin in our lives.

The leprous hand represents the power of God.

God can change our circumstances no matter the situation we find ourselves in.  Jesus healed lepers in the Gospels not only to benefit the sick but to glorify God as well.  He heals the defilement of sin in our lives today and makes us whole through not only His death on the cross, but through His Life, through His resurrection.

We become a new creature through the Spirit and we receive the power of God when we are filled for ministry and service – Acts 1:8

This power is for the glory of God because the Spirit does not come to speak on His own behalf but completely for the glory of Jesus – John 16:5-15


Water to blood  is a representation of the purpose of God.

Jesus Christ became a serpent of sin for us so to speak – John 3:16-21

He took our sin, our shame, our death, our hell, and our separation from God and paid the price for and instead of us.

Now we can experience a new relationship with the Father.  A relationship that can only come through the new birth through and faith in Jesus Christ.  A faith that not only understands the price He paid Who He is.  A faith that turns from sin and accepts Him as Lord and Savior.

We are reconciled through His blood – Ephesians 2:13

We are recognized through His blood – Revelation 1:15

With this in mind, what is in your hand?

Is it full of things in your life, full of desires, or full of cares of the world.

When we come to the Lord we must have empty hands, ready to be filled with whatever He sees fit and realize that any power, authority, or purpose that He places in our lives only comes through His precious grace and mercy and that without Him we are empty vessels with empty purpose.


About Clint Rodgers

I am a father of 2 wonderful children and the husband of a beautiful woman who has taught me more about compassion for goofballs than I could have ever learned. I have know Jesus for many years but about 5 years ago I truly met Him and now I do my best to follow Him as I walk in this world
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