Then Moses departed and returned to Jethro his father-in-law, and said to him, “Please, let me go, that I may return to my brethren who are in Egypt, and see if they are still alive.” And Jethro said to Moses, “Go in peace.” Now the Lord said to Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt, for all the men who were seeking your life are dead.” So Moses took his wife and his sons and mounted them on a donkey, and he returned to the land of Egypt. Moses also took the staff of God in his hand.
I like how this passage of Scripture begins with the phrase, “Then Moses departed.” No more arguments, no more pleas to God. There was only silence, followed by obedience. Something happened in Moses’ heart. Was it simply a desire to return to his people or was it a genuine feeling of, “I cannot argue with the Almighty any longer”? I suggest the latter. I believe there comes a point in our lives when we cannot challenge God any longer, we must obey.
So to put that plan into action, Moses now has to turn to his father-in-law and ask him for permission to take his daughter (Moses’ wife) and the children and go to Egypt. In so doing, it is interesting to note that Moses does not tell Jethro a lie, but neither does he reveal God’s entire plan for the children of Israel coming out of Egypt and what his part in it was to be. Perhaps if he did, Jethro would have had great resistance in allowing his daughter and grandchildren to go with him. Instead, God had arranged for Jethro to bless Moses and send him and his family off “in peace”.
During all this, God is also close at hand. While Moses is still in Midian, God gives him more assurance and comfort. He informs him that all those who would have had him dead, from the men that eventually heard he had killed an Egyptian to perhaps the Pharaoh himself -- all of them were dead. The way was clear for him to return and carry out his assignment. If that had been a secret fear of Moses, that somehow he might fall again into their hands, God dealt with it. God knows what causes us to have fear or lack of confidence and He can take care of all those things as well when He sends us to do His work. He did that for Moses. Robert Jamieson, writing on this verse in his commentary The Second Book of Moses, Called Exodus, says, “The death of the Egyptian monarch took place in the four hundred and twenty-ninth year of the Hebrew sojourn in that land, and that event, according to the law of Egypt, took off his proscription of Moses, if it had been publicly issued.”
And with that, Moses, now approximately eighty years old, takes his family, puts them on a donkey (or two) and he returns to Egypt, carrying with him the authority of God as represented physically by the staff he held tightly in his hand.
What we have here is a simple resolve to embark on a difficult journey, but with the knowledge that one is going on God’s business, reassured by God, and in God’s power, carrying His Word. What a place for anyone to be in.
Where are you today? Are you still working on your last argument to present to God in apposition to His instructions for your life? Or are you ready to embark on a life journey with Him as a representative of His interests in the world?
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