Ex. 7:8-24, 2 Cor. 2:14-3:6
In Biblical imagery, it’s no accident that Satan shows up as a serpent or a dragon, and following this, satanic rulers are pictured as serpents and dragons and sea monsters. The seed of the serpent is at war with the seed of the woman. And there’s a family resemblance. In the first sign, Aaron casts his rod down and it becomes a serpent and the Egyptian magicians follow suit. Part of the meaning of this sign is the fact that Aaron’s serpent swallows theirs. This is what Pharaoh will do: By refusing to submit to Yahweh, he will in effect swallow up the strength of Egypt.
The other part of the sign is the fact that Aaron takes the rod back up into his hand. There it is in the next scene striking the waters and turning them to blood. But do you see the imagery? Pharaoh, the mighty Dragon Pharaoh, is held like a walking stick in the hand of an 83 year old man. And now what is the sign? Pharaoh will cause Egypt to flow with blood. Pharaoh will be the death of Egypt if he continues to harden his heart against Yahweh. Pharaoh will claim that this is all Moses and Aaron’s fault. But the signs are clear: this is Pharaoh’s fault. His hardness is bringing destruction on his own people. He will be the cause of the stench in Egypt.
In thousands of years, the task of God’s servants has hardly changed at all. There is still a great war between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman, and we still stand before our neighbors, and family, and even strangers proclaiming the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth. We proclaim that life is only found in Him, and that there is only sadness and suffering and death in rebellion against Him. But this still comes up as a stench to those who do not believe. To those who are perishing, we are the aroma of death. And it seems to them, that this is our fault, but we preach Christ, insisting that there is no other way to escape.