Have you ever thought about what was at stake when God instructed Moses to throw his staff down (ref. Ex. 4:2ff)? How do you suppose a police officer would feel if you took his gun away from him? or a doctor his stethoscope? an artist his brush? a writer his pen? or a carpenter his hammer?
Moses depended upon his staff for protection, support, and his livelihood. If he left for work and realized he’d forgotten his rod, it was back to the house he went. With his rod in hand, the world was his; but without it, he was vulnerable.
There is more to be discovered here than just appreciation for the miracle of a rod becoming a snake when God tells Moses to throw his staff down. The Lord was very interested in Moses becoming dependent upon Him rather than leaning on his own resources. Seeing the thing he relied upon transformed into a squirming, cold-blooded serpent, grabbed Moses’ attention, and the Bible says he ran from the snake (which was a wise move).
Even though it was his favorite, Moses’ thought was probably to forget the squirming rod and go cut another staff. But God wasn’t finished with the object lesson yet. “Pick it up by the tail,” the Lord commanded. Where’s a long stick when you need it, right? But Moses obeyed, grasping the slithering rod by the tail.