Exodus 4:18-31 Moses prepares for his ministry

18 And Moses went and returned to Jethro his father in law, and said unto him, Let me go, I pray thee, and return unto my brethren which are in Egypt, and see whether they be yet alive. And Jethro said to Moses, Go in peace.

19 And the Lord said unto Moses in Midian, Go, return into Egypt: for all the men are dead which sought thy life.

20 And Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them upon an ass, and he returned to the land of Egypt: and Moses took the rod of God in his hand.

21 And the Lord said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go.

22 And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, even my firstborn:

23 And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn.

24 And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the Lord met him, and sought to kill him.

25 Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me.

26 So he let him go: then she said, A bloody husband thou art, because of the circumcision.

27 And the Lord said to Aaron, Go into the wilderness to meet Moses. And he went, and met him in the mount of God, and kissed him.

28 And Moses told Aaron all the words of the Lord who had sent him, and all the signs which he had commanded him.

29 And Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel:

30 And Aaron spake all the words which the Lord had spoken unto Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people.

31 And the people believed: and when they heard that the Lord had visited the children of Israel, and that he had looked upon their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped.


His excuses didn’t work and now Moses has accepted his mission from the Lord but not after we see some strange things before he can begin his ministry.

  1. He must get his affairs in order – Even though he has a call from God he must still ask for permission from his father-in-law.  The calling from God in our lives doesn’t mean we can set aside personal responsibilities in our lives.
  2. He will not be successful at first – God tells him what to say and do but then He tells Moses that Pharaoh will not let his people go and then we see the Lord talking about something that has baffled readers of the Word for a long time.  He tells Moses that He will harden the heart of Pharaoh.  This phrase can be seen 14 times in the Exodus story:  7 times it says God hardens the heart of Pharaoh and 7 times it says Pharaoh hardens his own heart.  Some argue that this means that Pharaoh had no choice in the matter; that he was a puppet used by God.  So who was it that truly hardened Pharaoh’s heart?  What this means is that Pharaoh chose to harden his heart toward God and the Lord strengthened him in his decision.  It is the same for you and me today.  We can chose to harden our hearts toward the Lord and He will abide by our decision. It is a choice on our and Pharaoh’s part.
  3. His family must be prepared as well – v24 and following tells us that the Lord met Moses and his family as they were lodging at an inn on the way to Egypt.  The strange part is that it seems to state that God was going to kill Moses or someone in his family.  Some say that it was Moses but the next few verses seem to indicate that it was actually his son.  His wife cuts the foreskin of their son and throws it at the feet of Moses, calling him a “bloody husband.”  Moses was about to pronounce judgment upon Pharaoh and his family but he had neglected his own.  Sometimes we can overlook our own family as we minister to the family of God.  Sometimes we can become prepared for ministry but we forget to prepare our own family as we begin the process.  Moses wife did what he should have done and this might have been because he didn’t impress the importance of his calling and covenant from God.  We must get the Word in our lives and teach it to our family before we should worry about taking it out into the world.  Something I am constantly trying to remind myself of.

So Moses wife takes the kids and goes back home while he meets with Aaron and the elders of Israel, who are all overjoyed with his message.


About Clint Rodgers

I am a father of 2 wonderful children and the husband of a beautiful woman who has taught me more about compassion for goofballs than I could have ever learned. I have know Jesus for many years but about 5 years ago I truly met Him and now I do my best to follow Him as I walk in this world
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