The ceiling fan droned on like a mechanical beast in the last throes of death. All its strained efforts did was just skim the surface of the oppressive heat. Sweltering fever still held the interior of the little shop in a cruel grip. The odour of the cluttered gutter beside the shop bludgeoned the olfactory senses with relentless malevolence. Most annoying of all was the fat greenish fly that buzzed about with impertinent aplomb. Kemi grabbed a fashion magazine that was brown with the ravages of time and descended on the pest with frustrated vengeance. Soon, it was a smear that added to the multiplicity of stains that afflicted the white washed walls.
She was not in the best of moods this morning. Her business was not going as well as expected. In the last month, she had only serviced three customers and two of them owed her with no hope of future payment. She was somewhat discouraged. She felt she had being doing well when out of the blue God had spoken. He had told her he was going to take her far and beyond with her gift of dress making. This had happened three years ago when she had gone on a prayer and fasting retreat. Prior to the retreat, she had been a Montessori nursery school teacher. As much as she loved teaching kids, she knew she had an uncanny gift for fashion designs. Her love for haute couture set her blood on fire unlike teaching which just put food on the table. However she was content with where she was and was not about to rock her career boat until she heard God.
She took the leap of faith, rented a shop and equipped it using all the savings she had amassed over the years. Truth was, she had gotten better since she faced her passion with timeless commitment but the issue was that customers were not coming. Funds had become a problem and she had to feed. Furthermore she hated her present location. The shop did not even have a convenience so she had to beg for a place to carry out her duties sometimes. It was not even like those places were in the similitude of five star hotel’s facilities. Sometimes, it is usually more frustrating when someone hears God and things seem to go awry after obeying. Right now, she wished that she had never heard from Him and had continued her life without any drama.
The issue that troubled her the most of all was how she was going to get a foot in the door of an institution where branded giants already ruled both home and abroad. There was no point starting something if she was going to be irrelevant or perpetually in the back burner of events but He had assured her of His power (so much for all that power now, she almost snickered). She did not feel she had any backing these days. Kemi felt cast adrift, a splinter of wood in a forest of the notable events of life. There was a fashion exhibition presently going on in Eko Hotel and suites but she could not afford to get herself a stand. When she went to find out about the programme, the people in charge gave her the kind of attitude that showed she did not belong to the convergence of style Olympians. Humans are not invited to the gathering of deities, their non verbal superciliousness told her. She had slunk away, a defeated pup, tail between her legs.
Since much was not happening, she picked her bible. One of her goals for the year was to read through the bible. She had started exodus yesterday. She plunged into the fathomless crystal clear ocean of the word…..
…Moses stepped into the hallowed halls of Egypt’s aristocratic monarchy with wavering steps of uncertainty. God had said he was going to use him and his rod to topple the powers of Egypt but he did not feel like a deliverer.. As his steps echoed down the hall, fear tied up his stomach in knots. He had nothing but the rod and the words YAHWEH (The God that does, THE I AM THAT I AM) had spoken to him. In the midst of the pantheon of Egypt, he felt very inadequate. His clothes could not match their finery; his speech could not best that of Egypt’s finest. While he was losing his voice talking to sheep, the greatest debates were being held in this court by scholars with the eloquence of gods. He smelt of wilderness and lambs, they bathed in aromatic oils that would make any nose feel privileged. He was out of his depths here, outclassed and out-numbered!
They stared him down with undisguised disdain. He felt like a new entrant, a fledgling amongst eagles. Some looked at him with the unveiled curiosity reserved for only mad men. An Egyptian Prince who had forsaken the throne for the wilderness must surely be insane. In his former life, he must have offended Ra and had been banished into a dungeon of darkness and madness, they thought.
Moses knew they could never understand that the divine call of God on a man’s life was something that Pharaoh’s throne could not match. Heaven’s bugle call of destiny was something Egypt’s riches could not satisfy.
Moses gave his message but Pharaoh was recalcitrant. He was a god in his own right! Who was the upstart God of the Hebrews, he raged.
His heart was beating faster than ever and blood pounded in his ears, as he did what Yahweh had told him. What if it did not work, he wondered? What if he had dreamt up the whole encounter with the God of his people after a heavy meal of lamb chops? With terrifying misgiving, he gingerly cast his rod down. The wood bent and turned into scaly flesh. It writhed and slithered on the floor towards pharaoh’s throne. Neck puffed, it finally raised its head in reptilian majesty, a king Cobra. There was an initial in-drawing of breath followed by encompassing hush, then an explosion of laughter. Gales of mirth rocked the hall.
Was this what Moses went into the wilderness for? Did he flee the throne to go learn cheap tricks in the desert? Turning his rod into a serpent was akin to a desert dweller challenging a Nile tribesman to a swimming contest. The blood of the serpent flowed in Pharaoh. The King was spawned of Wadjet, the serpent goddess. He was part human, part snake, which was why his crown had a cobra’s head.
Moses should have known. How could he flaunt the subject of their worship in their faces? The sorcerers and magicians of Egypt stepped forth. They were steeped deep in the black arts and worship of the snake goddess. This was the easiest assignment ever. Wooden staffs clanked on marble floors as they threw down their rods. Pharaoh’s throne room became a battle ground of serpents. Sibilant music filled the air as they fought with venomous intent. After all was said and done; only one snake remained. Its hiss of victory could be heard by all. It had swallowed all the others. It was Moses’.
The Chief sorcerer felt the worms of disquiet wriggle within him. He knew what others did not. The snake was a symbol of divine authority, sovereignty and deification. It was a representation of national honour and pride. For another snake to swallow Pharaoh’s, it meant a power greater than Pharaoh’s had unleashed war on Egypt. Though he could not tell his king, he knew without doubt that his beloved country was going to topple…..
…Kemi realized life could be a war of rods but victory depends on the power backing each. Moses had gotten used to his rod over the years and must have felt it was common like any other. He never realized its potential to transform into a deadly weapon. It was beyond his imagination that it could change shapes. It never dawned on him that he could conquer the world with it. However, the God factor made the difference and changed the dynamics of that inconsequential wood. It gained superiority above all others. From that moment; she started seeing her gift differently. Since heaven’s mandate was behind it, it was not average anymore! If Moses had held on to the rod nothing would have happened. All she needed was to believe and to keep using what God had placed in her hands….
She came out of her car and put on her shades as shards of sunlight reflecting off the glassy structure of Elyon Stitches pierced her eyes. Her fashion house was about the biggest infrastructure on Obafemi Awolowo Road Ikoyi, Lagos. Elyon Stitches had gobbled up about three of the biggest fashion houses on that road and was not done yet. She had offices in New York, Milan and the latest was about to be opened in Paris. She had hundreds of chicks under her mentoring wings and funded loads of missionary work across the word. Her seeming useless rod had budded, yielded results, and swallowed other competing ones. God’s backing was a sure thing, a mountain of assurance. His word was sovereign and supreme. His word works…..
YOU ARE OF GOD LITTLE CHILDREN AND HAVE OVERCOME THEM. FOR GREATER IS HE THAT IS IN YOU THAN HE THAT IS IN THE WORLD……
© 2014 Ekpo Ezechinyere