The Lord said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet. 2 You shall speak all that I command you, and your brother Aaron shall tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go out of his land. 3 But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and I will multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt. 4 When Pharaoh does not listen to you, I will lay my hand upon Egypt and bring my people the Israelites, company by company, out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment. 5 The Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out from among them.” 6 Moses and Aaron did so; they did just as the Lord commanded them. Exodus 7:1-6 (IEB)


The idea that God has made Moses like God to Pharaoh is mysterious. What does it mean? The next few phrases help us understand that God is making Moses his "agent," one who speaks for him. But it was Aaron, Moses’ older brother, who did most of the speaking. When Moses refused the call, God prompted Aaron to meet Moses and go with him as Moses' prime minister to help with foreign policy, namely talk to Pharaoh. In fact, many years later Aaron would become a "prime minister," the priest of the tabernacle worship. Why was God intent on talking to Moses and not as much, it seems, to Aaron?

We don’t really know the answer to this question, but the important principle comes in Exodus 7:6: “Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord commanded them.”

We don’t always know why God uses or doesn’t use or work through a person, but the important point is trust and obedience. Moses was 80 years old. Aaron was 83 years old when they spoke to Pharaoh.

In the sight of Pharaoh and of his officials [Moses] lifted up the staff and struck the water in the river, and all the water in the river was turned into blood, 21 and the fish in the river died. The river stank so that the Egyptians could not drink its water, and there was blood throughout the whole land of Egypt. 22 But the magicians of Egypt did the same by their secret arts; so Pharaoh’s heart remained hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said. 23 Pharaoh turned and went into his house, and he did not take even this to heart. 24 And all the Egyptians had to dig along the Nile for water to drink, for they could not drink the water of the river. Exodus 7:20-24 (IEB)


Why does it trouble us to read a story about God giving Moses and Aaron magic tricks that the Egyptian magicians can also do? What’s happening here?

We can assume it’s all made up, as many people do. We can believe it blindly and subdue our questions. We can believe powers exist in God’s control and lesser powers of evil can mimic the power of God in some ways.

Remember the function of the plagues: Thus says the Lord, “By this you shall know that I am the Lord.”


God whose hand is outstretched to redeem, the Exodus is your most fascinating redemption of people in bondage--what you did shapes the life of Israel for all time, even today. You have judged the unrighteous, and we do not have to do that judging. But you have told us to obey, to walk to freedom.


Greg Taylor

Greg Taylor preaches for The Journey. Greg's wife, Jill, teaches math at Broken Arrow High School and Tulsa Community College. Greg and Jill have three adult children, Ashley, Anna, and Jacob. Greg is the author of many books, including his latest co-authored with Randy Harris, Daring Faith: Meeting Jesus in the Book of John.

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