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Another Lying Serpent

Another Lying Serpent

Exodus 7:10b-13

Aaron cast down his staff … and it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh summoned the wise men and the sorcerers, and they, the magicians of Egypt, also did the same by their secret arts. … Still Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the LORD had said.

Among the serpents slithering around on Pharaoh’s floor, there’s a great, big elephant in the room that needs addressing: what does it mean that Egyptian magicians mimic this miracle?

Well, let’s start with what we know. First of all, no magician anywhere in the world, ever, even those possessed by the devil himself, can create life by any human or demonic craft. Only God creates. Only God transubstantiates. Only God can take one dead substance, like dirt, and form it into a living being, like man. As Paul reminds us in Colossians 1, “In Him (Christ) all things were created,” which is why we can cling to the truth of 1 John 4:4 in our battle against the spirit world, knowing that ‘He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world.’ So, either these Egyptian magicians have fashioned some elaborate illusion, or God Himself has turned their staffs into serpents as a means of hardening Pharaoh’s heart.

I lean towards the latter for this reason: God could’ve done to these magicians what He later does to those prophets of Baal at Mt. Carmel. He could’ve let them make complete fools of themselves, let them flail around aimlessly, and let them throw their sticks into a cauldron, before obliterating them with fire from heaven; but He doesn’t. Instead, He gives Pharaoh the semblance of divine power, a false hope as it were, and I bet Pharaoh’s eyes light up when he sees those garter snakes slithering out. I bet it doesn’t matter to him that they get swallowed up by Moses’ king snake, because it bolsters a devilish thought he’s nurtured in his heart for years: I can be like the Most High—no, higher!

Pride is the worst plague of all, friend. Far worse than bloody rivers and decomposing frogs and swarming flies and death angels. Because it’s the plague we bring on ourselves.