Summary: God's challenge to Moses
A. INTRODUCTION: EXODUS 4:18-20
1. Where do you go after the fire fades and the voice is still? “Moses went and returned . . .” (4:18). He went home to Midian.
2. According to tribal tradition, Moses sought permission of his father-in-law. “Let me go and return to my brothers who are in Egypt” (4:18). Follow earthly and heavenly principles.
3. Moses probably didn’t tell about the burning bush or encounter with God. Don’t give diamonds to those who don’t appreciate them. Show them your changed life but don’t share your encounter with God.
Why Moses Didn’t Go Immediately
His youthful impulsive spirit was now tamed
He was in no hurry to face criminal charges
He loved the solitude of the desert and his sheep
He was promised tribulation (4:21)
4. God’s call confirmed. “Go return to Egypt, for all the men who sought your life are dead” (4:19).
5. Moses left Egypt a hothead, he returned as a servant of God.
6. God’s method is elevated, “Take this rod in your hand” (4:17). He obeyed, “Moses took the rod of God in his hand” (4:20).
Methods (tools) are many,
Principles are few;
Methods may change,
But principles never do.
7. Think about the methods God has used to make Thomas Road Baptist Church successful; i.e., bus ministry, door-to-door visitation, radio, Treasure Island camp.
“Using every available method,
to reach every available person,
at every available time.” –Jerry Falwell Sr.
B. GOD’S CHALLENGE TO MOSES: EXODUS 4:21-26
1. Moses is sent to tell Pharaoh that Israel is God’s first born Son, so Egypt must let them go free. If not, God will kill Pharaoh’s first born son (4:22-23).
a. We only learn what God wants us to do, as we obey the next step. Your car lights will not shine more than 100 feet, if you don’t travel the light that’s available.
b. We fear the awful pain we see in the future’s light, so we are tempted not to obey. But by obedience God helps us through our tribulation.
2. What was this? “On the way . . . that the Lord met him (Moses) and sought to kill him” (4:24).
a. A sudden and dangerous illness.
b. A divine visitation.
c. Threat from without.
3. Moses had neglected circumcision for his youngest son (perhaps in arms).
a. Circumcision was an outward symbol of identification with God.
b. Perhaps due to Zipporah’s dislike for Hebrew tradition, and Moses didn’t follow his fatherly responsibility. “Zipporah . . . cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at Moses’ feet . . . a husband of blood to me” (4:25).
c. There have always been those who hate the idea of blood.
d. The power of conscience led to obedience.
e. We cannot be used of God when we shrink from divine responsibilities. God loves symbols and so must we, i.e., baptism, Lord’s Table, the Lord’s Day.
The more we are dear to God,
The more we receive the care of God.
f. The more fruit-bearing qualities we have, the more we shall be pruned.
C. A BROTHER BY ALLIANCE: EXODUS 4:27-31
1. After the circumcision, apparently Moses left his family with Jethro. “Jethro . . . came with his sons and his wife to Moses in the wilderness, where he was encamped at the mountain of God” (Ex. 18:5).
You can’t do the work of God with family;
You can’t do the work of God without family.
2. God has certain geographic places where He likes to work. “The Lord said to Aaron . . . go meet Moses . . . on the mount of God” (4:27).
a. When Moses sent his family back to Jethro, before confronting Pharaoh. “The mountain of God,” i.e., a place of spiritual strength and encountering God.
b. The same power that thrust Moses out for service first drew him back to God for intimacy.
3. Moses shared his God encounter with Aaron, but not with Jethro.
a. An interchange of confidence. “Moses told Aaron all the words of the Lord who had sent him, and all the signs” (4:28).
4. Zipporah goes and Aaron comes, God knows the kind of person who will support us in ministry.
5. Everyone needs an Aaron in ministry. God knows where your Aaron is.
6. Moses leaves 40 years of exile, loneliness and leading sheep, to embrace 40 years of miracles, leading a million souls, and the unique pressure of leading God’s people.
If you have never really accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, would you do it right now? Do not delay or put it off. If you would like to receive Christ by faith, pray this simple prayer in your heart:
Dear Lord, I acknowledge that I am a sinner. I believe Jesus died for my sins on the cross, and rose again the third day. I repent of my sins. By faith I receive the Lord Jesus as my Savior. You promised to save me, and I believe You, because You are God and cannot lie. I believe right now that the Lord Jesus is my personal Savior, and that all my sins are forgiven through His precious blood. I thank You, dear Lord, for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.