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May 8 – It shall not harm you

The LORD said to Moses, “Put out your hand and catch it by the tail”–so he put out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand– “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.” – Exodus 4:4-5

Scripture reading: Exodus 4:1-5; Psalm 121

“Put out your hand and catch it by the tail.” Now, don’t try this at home. You can throw sticks on the ground as much as you like – that part is just fine. But grabbing a snake by its tail is a very risky business. A venomous snake moves most swiftly to strike anything which touches its body. That’s why when you’re snake catching, you try to nab it right behind its head and grasp it there. The tail flails around, but the head can’t move if you have it securely grasped.

God gave Moses a remarkable sign. He was to confront Pharaoh, whose emblem was a coiled serpent, and demonstrate that the serpent would not strike them. No harm would come to them from actual serpents, from Pharaoh as the Serpent Ruler of Egypt, or even the ancient Serpent who was anxious to harm God’s people. Moses will seize the serpent by the tail – and its mouth will be shut – its power will be stripped – and it will yield to the rod of the shepherd and literally become a rod again.

The sign given by God to Moses makes plain that the serpent shall not harm his people. We know this with even greater clarity because Christ Jesus has bound our great adversary and tempter, Satan. By rising from the grave, Jesus has conquered every foe. By His action, He has gained us the victory over the powers of sin, death, and the darkness of the evil one!

Suggestion for prayer

Praise our Heavenly Lord for His victory which has gained us an everlasting peace with Him and an everlasting security from our foes through Jesus Christ!

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Norman Van Eeden Petersman is the pastor of the Vancouver Associated Presbyterian Church in BC.

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