Take Up Your Rod
By Fred Pruitt
(This below was first written in 2006 under the title, “The Rod of Moses.” I published it on the blog in 2009. It has always been a favorite of mine, and I saw this morning that someone had been reading it. Since I had not read it in a while, I reread it again. Then I saw why it is coming back now and that I needed to change the title. This is an exhortation to take up OUR rod – i.e., the whole of our humanity, spirit, soul and body – and let it go into the freedom of Christ and leave it there until God tells us to take it up again, as explained below.
I cannot stress the importance of this truth at this moment in time. Whatever it may turn out to be in the heavenlies when everything reaches its fulfillment in the ultimate unveiling and manifestation of the sons of God, a more important truth for us here and now in our temporal world is that WE ARE THE SONS NOW! And the only way this manifestation can occur in our world is by means of our redeemed humanity, abandoned to God Who gives it back to FULLY USE in righteousness in the great harvest! Arise, shine, the Light has come – in us!!! Let it shine!)
Regarding your concerns about truth or heresy, I would just say that first, we trust God by the Spirit to guide us into all truth, and leave it at that. He has not given us a snake when we have asked for a fish, or a stone when we have sought bread. (Matt 7:9,10; John 16:13)
Secondly, I’d like to comment on that Exodus 4 passage. Moses does indeed flee the rod when it becomes a serpent. But God has commanded Moses to cast it down, and after that what power does Moses have over the rod? None whatsoever.
Neither has God told Moses to say anything to the rod, to perform any kind of incantations or rituals, but simply to cast it onto the ground. Why?
First of all, at the beginning of this story, the rod is just Moses’ rod. Before God told him to cast it into the ground, He had asked Moses, “What’s that it your hand?” Moses had walked up the mountain with the rod already in his hand. It was something Moses had been carrying around with him. It was a tool of his trade in the desert — herding sheep.
“It’s just a rod, Lord.” An ordinary shepherd’s rod, most likely like any other around. Nothing special.
Moses has hesitated with God on this commission thing. After a big bruising in Egypt thinking he had the right stuff to deliver the people which didn’t work out, and then a long (40 year) settling in the desert, Moses has become a man who has come into communication with his limitation.
“This isn’t something I can handle, Lord! This is beyond me. Nobody’s going to believe You sent me. I’m having a hard time believing it myself!” (God has just told him how all this stuff is going to happen, how the children of Israel will listen to Moses, how God is going to deliver them out of Egypt, and how He’s going to do it by the hand of Moses. I can imagine Moses was all onboard until he found out he was the one in the center to pull it off. That changed a rousing, “Yeah, you go God! You’ve got the game won, go team, hallelujah!” to a more plaintive, “What???!! You want me to play quarterback???!!!? I don’t know anything about being a quarterback! I can’t do that!!!!”
So God’s answer is to ask Moses what’s he got.
Moses answers, “I’ve only got this rod here, Lord.” (“I’ve only got this sum total of all I can do and all I’ve learned and all I know myself to be, Lord. This is it, this is the tool of my human trade, this is what gets me by, that makes the sheep mind the way, and keeps the wolves away.”)
The Lord God says, “Ok, then, throw it away, get rid of it. Throw it on the ground.”
There isn’t a record of Moses’ protest at this. There comes a point when God speaks in us, a point at which the argument within us, which is necessary, ceases for a time, and the authority of the command within us is so utterly obvious that there is no other course for us. There is simply nothing left to do but to cast that rod onto the ground.
“There you go, Lord, that’s all that I can do. After I throw this rod on the ground, it’s up to you.”
The next thing that happens is this: Moses’ ordinary rod turns into a serpent.
A serpent? Apparently that’s not a good thing, because Moses’ tries to beat a quick hot path out of there.
God tells Moses to throw down the tool of his human living, (the same meaning as circumcision), and the first thing that happens after listening to God, is that the rod of his human trade turns into that which he has always feared. It turns into the manifestation of evil and death. Like Peter feared when he saw the waves boisterous and started to sink, Moses saw his first listening to the Word of God turn into the opposite of what he thought it would be. He had thrown everything into God, and the result looked like crap and betrayal and the hangout of the devil, and he couldn’t take it and tried to get away.
What is it the Spirit is saying here?
Like Job’s, “that which I feared most has come upon me,” Moses’ ordinary rod turns into his worst fear, that death and destruction have found their way to him at last, confirming all he’s ever doubted about himself and what he had thought God had said.
What irony, what pathos, that finally in his greatest moment to that point, when after 80 long years, he has met God face to face in the burning bush, and then consequently in the greatest act of faith in his life, he has cast all that he has into the trash heap, into the discard bin, in utter abandonment to the Word of God, and at that point, as some part of him had always been saying, it seems to turn out that he has been betrayed all along. “The rod of all that I have been and am and know myself to be, and even God’s word to me, has turned into utter sewage, and I am exceedingly afraid.”
But then God speaks to him again, and commands him to, “put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail.”
Why the tail?
Because now the rod of our human living has become the rod of the living of God in us. “Cast the rod on the ground,” is the same as, “I am crucified with Christ.” And now Moses is commanded to pick up the serpent by its tail. That which formerly had been the serpent’s, our humanity, our ego, our self-ness, our rod, we have cast away. At God’s command we threw everything away, but in horror after that, we witnessed all our fears coming upon us to our utter consternation!
Now, however, the command comes to pick it back up, but by its tail. This is because we have to grasp and apprehend the whole of our human living, but not by the intelligence or reasoning of the human mind as if it itself had any ability whatsoever to comprehend the Living God. Moses picks up the serpent by the tail, to show that God in Moses was Lord and Master of the serpent, and not the other way around. The serpent, the apparent evil and chaos, in every case is in the dominion of Moses via the Lord God. That which has been temporarily a serpent, now has become a rod again in the hand of Moses, and from then onward is a symbol of his power. In other words, Moses has, by God’s command, picked up again the rod of his humanity, but now it is no longer a serpent. Now the same rod which had been a serpent, has become the power of God and the manifestor of his power — our humanity!
The Egyptian sorcerers imitated Moses’ supposed trick, which is nothing great to consider since their lord was the serpent and they had his power at their disposal, but Moses’ serpent ate all their rods which had become serpents also. Which means that all the snakes of evil that appear, in whatever form and by whatever means, are devoured by the rod of God which Moses has now taken up. They assert a validity in our sight, but that validity is eaten up and taken up into the Lord God, so that there is only one left with whom any of us have to do.
It is a different rod from before that Moses takes up by the tail. Before it had only been the rod of his limited human understanding, his limited human ability, his limited consciousness of himself alone in the desert, wherein the devil had hidden himself. But when God told him to cast it down, he saw all that for what it was. It was a serpent, a lie, a deep deception that is taken away in an instant, as if a shade has been suddenly raised, and light comes rushing in in such force and brightness that he recoils with panic at the revealing.
But again, the command comes, and no one on the mountain, in this situation, can lightly disobey. “And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand.”
What’s this? Moses reaches out and grasps the serpent — the apparent manifestation of evil, of rebellion, of human self power which is only a masquerade for Beelzebub himself?
Yes, that’s exactly what Moses does. He grasps the rod of his humanity, formerly the seat of Satan, the abomination of desolation, by its tail, (since its intelligence from then on will be by the Spirit and not by its own reasoning which has been masquerading the devil’s reasoning), and now Moses takes back the rod which he has cast away and completely discarded, but which now is received back as the rod of God, i.e., now the tool of God in us, the rod of his authority, the seat of God’s power and Self in us.
Moses takes back his rod which he has brought up to the mountain, his own humanity which he takes up, by God’s command, without regard for what it appears. It still is by every sense a serpent. It slithers and slides and hisses. It coils to protect itself when threatened. But still Moses is told to take it up. By the tail.
And to repeat, “it became a rod in his hand.” The same rod, the same humanity, the same ego, he himself, which formerly had been a serpent, is transformed instantly back into what it is in truth. Now the former rod of Satan, the instrument of evil in the world, has been changed into the rod of God, the staff of His absolute authority.
And now and forever, Moses has seen, that God is God, and the only God, and that no power, including that of the the rebellious serpent or any representation of him, can withstand the authority of the Most High.
Ultimately, we can all undertand that this is what one day “shall be.”
But Moses is called at this point, right in this present moment, to take up the serpent by the tail, i.e., the evil, the fear, the dread, and then finally to trust that the rod he has cast into the nothingness of his humanity has been recreated into the rod of the authority of the Living God.
We are, of course, if we can hear this, ourselves this Moses. God is calling us to take up the serpent by the tail, to know that the Living God is love in all things, and that whatever operations the serpent may instigate, he hasn’t really been the instigator, but only a servant of the Father and His absolute love.
So that is where we see through. It is in the now, taking up the serpent by the tail. Right now is where the redemption is.