Sermon #8 from "Take Off Your Sandals" series on Exodus for Today
On the way to the big things, the little things matter.
Based on Exodus 4:18-31
18 Then Moses went back to Jethro his father-in-law and said to him, “Let me return to my own people in Egypt to see if any of them are still alive.”
Jethro said, “Go, and I wish you well.”
19 Now the Lord had said to Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt, for all those who wanted to kill you are dead.” 20 So Moses took his wife and sons, put them on a donkey and started back to Egypt. And he took the staff of God in his hand.
21 The Lord said to Moses, “When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go. 22 Then say to Pharaoh, ‘This is what the Lord says: Israel is my firstborn son, 23 and I told you, “Let my son go, so he may worship me.” But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son.’”
24 At a lodging place on the way, the Lord met Moses[b] and was about to kill him. 25 But Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son’s foreskin and touched Moses’ feet with it.[c] “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me,” she said. 26 So the Lord let him alone. (At that time she said “bridegroom of blood,” referring to circumcision.)
27 The Lord said to Aaron, “Go into the wilderness to meet Moses.” So he met Moses at the mountain of God and kissed him. 28 Then Moses told Aaron everything the Lord had sent him to say, and also about all the signs he had commanded him to perform.
29 Moses and Aaron brought together all the elders of the Israelites, 30 and Aaron told them everything the Lord had said to Moses. He also performed the signs before the people, 31 and they believed. And when they heard that the Lord was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped.
This episode serves as an interlude between the call of Moses in Exodus 3, and the epic confrontation with Pharaoh coming in chapter 5. In it, Moses must deal with some family matters. Despite its being an interlude, it is no less pivotal in the Exodus story.
1. What are some things we learn in Exodus 14:18-20? Why would Moses ask Jethro for permission, when he knows he's already been called by God? What does this say about Moses' character?
2. Moses traveled with his family and the staff of God. He had an epic mission with God's authority, but he also had his family. What might it look like to have an epic mission but overlook our family and other relationships? What might it look like to have great relationships but no sense of mission?
3. God says that he will harden the heart of Pharaoh. Yet we also see that Pharaoh is responsible for what happens to him. Why are both important?
4. What does Exodus 4:22 reveal about the heart of God? (See Hosea 11:1.) Did the people of Israel have the status of sonship because they were worthy? When did God ever have a perfect Son? Who are the sons of God today?
5. Exodus 4:23 is a warning to Pharaoh. What event does it foreshadow? (See Exodus 12:12-13.)
6. What is the sin of Moses in Exodus 4:24-26?
7. Why was circumcision important? (See Genesis 17:9-14)
8. Why was Moses saved from death? How was this a foreshadowing of the Passover?
9. Circumcision was a cutting away of sin and the curse. How did Christ fulfill this for us? See Colossians 2:9-12, especially in the ESV.
10. We are reconciled to God because of the atonement and shed blood of Christ. It has been suggested that Christ is our "bridegroom of blood." Why is the blood of Christ precious to us?
11. Though we are more sinful than we ever imagined, we are more loved than we ever dreamed. We have the full status of adopted children of God. How does this shape our lives now?