February 25, 2024 | Doug Sauder
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“So Moses went and returned to Jethro his father-in-law, and said to him, ‘Please let me go and return to my brethren who are in Egypt, and see whether they are still alive.’ And Jethro said to Moses, ‘Go in peace.’ Now the Lord said to Moses in Midian, ‘Go, return to Egypt; for all the men who sought your life are dead.’ Then Moses took his wife and his sons and set them on a donkey, and he returned to the land of Egypt. And Moses took the rod of God in his hand. And the Lord said to Moses, ‘When you go back to Egypt, see that you do all those wonders before Pharaoh which I have put in your hand. 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 son, My firstborn. So I say to you, let My son go that he may serve Me. But if you refuse to let him go, indeed I will kill your son, your firstborn.’ ” ’ And it came to pass on the way, at the encampment, that the Lord met him and sought to kill him. Then Zipporah took a sharp stone and cut off the foreskin of her son and cast it at Moses’ feet, and said, ‘Surely you are a husband of blood to me!’ So He let him go. Then she said, ‘You are a husband of blood!’—because of the circumcision.”—Exodus 4:18–26 (NKJV)
On the surface, this passage can seem confusing and disjointed—especially the part where God sought to kill Moses! But if we walk this portion of God’s Word step by step, it’s actually cohesively revealing something to us about God.
The backdrop is the Lord miraculously appeared to Moses via the burning bush and called him to return to Egypt to deliver his ancestral people, the children of Israel. After some initial haggling, Moses responds to this in obedience. Then, he seeks permission from his father-in-law to leave Midian. Moses does the right and respectful thing by seeking his father-in-law’s permission to go and Jethro blesses him.
Next, we see God giving Moses words of assurance as he continues to step forward in obedience. The Lord assures Moses that the people have all died who wanted to kill him years earlier. He can cross that concern off the list, because God has given him much-needed assurance on that.
But the Lord does not stop there. As Moses packs up his family and makes the faith-filled journey back to Egypt, God gives him a word of forewarning. He reveals to Moses that the new Pharaoh will resist the request to release his countrymen. In fact, God is going to need to do some unprecedented wonders before Pharaoh finally loosens his grip on the children of Israel. The Lord gave Moses this forewarning, and it would prove essential once the battle of wills began.
Lastly, we come to this unexpected moment when we’re told that God suddenly sought to kill Moses. On top of this, his wife cuts off his son’s foreskin, throws it at his feet, and calls him, “a husband of blood.” What’s that all about? It undoubtedly occurred to Moses, a Hebrew, that his sons hadn’t been circumcised, the covenantal sign between his people and God. Certainly, this was something he should do, especially since he was about to represent God’s people. But he didn’t follow through. Somehow, God revealed this lack of obedience would be judged, even to the point of death. But death wasn’t necessary because his wife stepped in and stepped up to do this difficult deed. Through this, God gave Moses an important lesson on thoroughly obeying God without picking and choosing what we will and won’t do.
Add it all up, and we see that God is giving Moses everything he needs in order to obey the calling placed on his life. God gave him favor with Jethro so he could go, assurance that it was safe to go, forewarning that he would encounter resistance, and an invaluable lesson on the importance of fully obeying Him.
God also gives us what we need in order to fulfill His calling on our lives. As we put one foot in front of the other and step forward in faith, we’ll receive what we require to take that next step.
Pause: What’s revealed about God’s character through this passage? How has God given you what you needed in order to obey Him
Practice: Spend time in reflection today. Think about whether there are any areas in your life where you are not living in obedience to the Lord. If so, pray and ask the Lord to forgive you and then surrender that area!
Pray: Lord, increase my trust in this truth, that You are always faithful to give me what I need as I step forward in obedient faith to Your calling on my life. Amen.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.