17 And thou shalt take this rod in thine hand, wherewith thou shalt do signs.

The last instruction from God in the burning bush was that Moses should take the rod that had been temporarily turned into a snake, and with it he would continue to do the miracles that were required of him. This rod thus became the first spiritual artifact that we hear of in the Bible, eventually being joined by Aaron’s rod, the stone tablets, and the ark of the covenant. Interestingly, while the Israelites would go on to worship all manner of idols and graven images, we never hear of them adulterating these actual sacred artifacts in that way. Perhaps this is because it is easy to be profane with the idea of sacred things, but we are humbled when actually in the presence of them.

I also want to note that this staff had been Moses’s basic tool as a shepherd. It had been his instrument for doing his earthly work, and now it would be his instrument for doing God’s heavenly work. There is a lesson here about God being able to take our natural talents and resources and sanctifying them for a holier purpose. The ordinary can be made extraordinary by God.

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