And the LORD said to Moses, Say to Aaron, Stretch out your rod, and smite the dust of the land…
Human religions can go to a certain point in good works, especially if they have borrowed their systems and copied their charities from the teachings of Christ, which most of them have done. But beyond a certain point they cannot go. It has been observed that the magicians could not bring living things out of the dust of the ground, as Moses did. And a false religion cannot bring life out of death, as the gospel does. Morality and certain good works it can conjure up; but spiritual life it cannot produce. Atheism, in the form of scientific materialism, may point to some notable and heroic disciple, such as Professor Clifford, who died without fear, steadfast in his faith that death was the end of him; but it cannot enable a man to die as Stephen and Paul died. It is not unworthy of our passing thought that the scientific magicians of our day, who are saying, "Who is the Lord?" have tried very hard to generate a living thing out of the dust; but they have as utterly and signally failed as the magicians did in the days of Moses. We may confidently keep a good courage in these days, when the scientific and religious magicians are trying to discredit the Word of God with their enchantments. Be sore that if the conflict is pushed far enough they will come to signal grief. In the end God will give glorious victory to those who stand by His truth, and who continue to cast their rods down in the face of an unbelieving world.
(G. F. Pentecost, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And the LORD said unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch out thy rod, and smite the dust of the land, that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt.