Daily Thoughts from Exodus: Pushing God to the Limits

Moses went back to Jethro his father-in-law and said to him, “Please let me go back to my brothers in Egypt to see whether they are still alive.” And Jethro said to Moses, “Go in peace.” And the LORD said to Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt, for all the men who were seeking your life are dead.” So Moses took his wife and his sons and had them ride on a donkey, and went back to the land of Egypt. And Moses took the staff of God in his hand.

And the LORD said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all the miracles that I have put in your power. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go. Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the LORD, Israel is my firstborn son, and I say to you, “Let my son go that he may serve me.” If you refuse to let him go, behold, I will kill your firstborn son.’”

At a lodging place on the way the LORD met him and sought to put him to death. Then Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son’s foreskin and touched Moses’ feet with it and said, “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me!” So he let him alone. It was then that she said, “A bridegroom of blood,” because of the circumcision.

The LORD said to Aaron, “Go into the wilderness to meet Moses.” So he went and met him at the mountain of God and kissed him. And Moses told Aaron all the words of the LORD with which he had sent him to speak, and all the signs that he had commanded him to do. Then Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the people of Israel. Aaron spoke all the words that the LORD had spoken to Moses and did the signs in the sight of the people. And the people believed; and when they heard that the LORD had visited the people of Israel and that he had seen their affliction, they bowed their heads and worshiped.  (Exodus 4:18-31 ESV)

Moses appears to be obeying Yahweh now, parting with his father-in-law, taking Yahweh at His word that those who would prosecute Moses for that murder are gone, and taking the staff as God commanded him and heading out.  God explains to him more of His plan, especially that He will harden Pharaoh’s heart, which likely struck terror in Moses’ heart.  Pharaoh will resist Moses and Yahweh up to a threat to kill Pharaoh’s firstborn son.

It is at this point that I believe Moses tries his last resistance to going back.  He does not circumcise his son, thinking that this will disqualify him in God’s eyes to lead this mission.  But it does more than disqualify him, it nearly gets him killed as a disciplinary action of God.  His wife saves his life and brings him into compliance.

Then he meets Aaron at Mt. Sinai, makes him his spokesman, and has his initial meeting with the people of Israel and as hoped, they believe that I AM has sent him and they worship Yahweh.  The next step is to confront Pharaoh.

We must not presume that if we choose to disobey God He will simply put us on the shelf, safe out of harm’s way.  No loving parent would let his child continue in such rebellion without disciplining him.  God’s discipline always produces the peaceable fruit of righteousness (Hebrews 12:11).

I distinctly remember sensing that God wanted me to start a men’s ministry at our church and I remember doing nothing about it.  God chose someone else, someone more obedient, and it ministered to many men.  I missed a blessing but I learned a lesson about obeying God.

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