Summary: In this fourth message of twenty on the life of Moses we see the difficulties Moses faced, not just with Pharaoh but with the Jewish people. This was the first of many clashes between Moses and the people he was trying to help.

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Exodus 4:18-7:7

C. The Salvation

2. The Conflicts in God’s Will Ex. 4:18-31

Moses has reluctantly agreed to God’s will. I do not believe his heart was in it. His “Thy will be done!” could be worded, “All right, God, I can’t win fighting you; have it your way.” We can only imagine his thoughts as he heads toward home to tell his wife and two boys and his father-in-law employer, that he must leave.

I believe he hoped this time that obeying God would not lead him into so many problems like it did the first time. If he did think that, HE WAS DEAD WRONG. Modern day “churchianity” peddles a Santa Claus kind of Jesus who makes us happy and able to breeze through problems like a hot knife through melted butter. But New Testament Christianity does the opposite. It gives us problems too big to handle, so we will learn to trust in God and seek holiness more than happiness. The day Moses said yes to God, a whole new set of problems came into his life. He was enrolling in God’s school. He learns about:

(1) Personal Responsibilities 4:18

(2) Power From God 4:19-23

(3) Perplexities About God 4:21-23

(4) Purity Before God 4:24-26

(5) Partners From God 4:27-31

(6) Problems Surrounding God 5:1-7:7


1. Silence.

The first thing Moses did was go to Jethro, the man who gave him a wife and a job and ask permission to go to Egypt and see if any of his family was alive. Two things stand out - silence and submission. First, silence. He said nothing of the voice and the burning bush. Why?

Some things should be too holy for us to share. Some things need to be reflected upon to make sure what we heard or felt was from God. First John tells us to “test the spirits to see whether they are from God” (1 Jn. 4:1).

Many a young man has embarrassed himself by announcing his call to preach, being accepted by the church and then learning he had no call at all. Many a person has made a stupid mistake calling it the will of God. Second, we see . . .

2. Submission.

Moses didn’t pull rank. He humbly asks Jethro’s permission. The Bible calls him the “meekest” (KJV) man on earth (Nu. 12:3). Meekness is not weakness. It is strength under God’s control. Moses didn’t storm up to Jethro and say, “God has told me to go to Egypt and I have to go!” This man had been good to him. This man depended on him. This man would need to find someone to work in his place. Moses was submissive to him.

Application: Having seen the fire of God’s glory and having heard the voice of God, Moses still had personal responsibilities. First Timothy, written to a preacher, says, “If anyone does not provide for his relatives and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Tim. 5:8).

I need to preach the gospel and take time for my wife and children. I need to visit the sick and rake my leaves before they blow in my neighbor’s yard. We have personal responsibilities. The high call of God does not lift anyone so high that he or she doesn’t have to be a good citizen, a good neighbor and a good family man.

Illustration: I love David Jeremiah, my radio pastor. He told of leaving the church office one evening for an appointment. The phone rang and the secretary said, “Mr. _____ wants to see you now. He and his wife are having problems.” Jeremiah said, “Tell him I have an appointment. One of our other pastors can see him today and I can see him any time tomorrow.” She did, but the man said only Jeremiah would do. Jeremiah said, “Tell him I’m not available,” and left.

As he walked to his car the man came up, he’d been talking on his car phone. “Pastor,” he said, “where are you going that’s so important that you can’t talk with me?” Jeremiah answered, “My son’s basketball game.” The man exploded and asked him if a basketball game meant more than his marriage breaking up.

Jeremiah’s answer was a classic, “Right now, at this time, there are several people upstairs who can help you, but right now I am the only person on earth who can be a father to my son.” How right he was! Lesson number two is. . .


1. Power (4:19-23).

Jethro said he wished Moses well (4:18) and as Moses no doubt prepared to leave, God told him all those in Egypt who wanted to kill him were dead.

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