The Plan is Put into Motion
18Moses went back to Jethro his father-in-law and said to him, “Please let me go back to my brothers in Egypt to see whether they are still alive.” And Jethro said to Moses, “Go in peace.” 19And the Lord said to Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt, for all the men who were seeking your life are dead.” 20So Moses took his wife and his sons and had them ride on a donkey, and went back to the land of Egypt. And Moses took the staff of God in his hand. 21And the Lord said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all the miracles that I have put in your power. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go. 22Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, Israel is my firstborn son, 23and I say to you, “Let my son go that he may serve me.” If you refuse to let him go, behold, I will kill your firstborn son.’ ” 24At a lodging place on the way the Lord met him [Gershom – Moses’ son] and sought to put him to death. 25Then Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son’s foreskin and touched his feet with it and said, “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me!” 26So he [God] let him alone. It was then that she said, “A bridegroom of blood,” because of the circumcision. 27The Lord said to Aaron, “Go into the wilderness to meet Moses.” So he went and met him at the mountain of God and kissed him. 28And Moses told Aaron all the words of the Lord with which he had sent him to speak, and all the signs that he had commanded him to do. 29Then Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the people of Israel. 30Aaron spoke all the words that the Lord had spoken to Moses and did the signs in the sight of the people. 31And the people believed; and when they heard that the Lord had visited the people of Israel and that he had seen their affliction, they bowed their heads and worshiped.
Now we have a front row seat to the divine drama that is about to take place. God is moving all of the players into place and the action is about to begin in earnest. Moses has received his instructions and is actually on board – finally. God moves Aaron into place sending him to find Moses and with the miracles that Moses has been given to display God’s power Aaron too recognizes the True God. It is time for God’s “son” (verse 22) to be freed from bondage to the wrong master. While the Children of Israel had always belonged to God the Father, they currently serve the Pharaoh. God, through Moses, is now coming to claim that which is already His, His son – the Children of Israel. Their liberation came not in being freed from having to work but in being freed from working for the wrong master.
The most notable portion of this passage is the movement of the Children of Israel from the slaves of Pharaoh to believers in the Most High God. As the story unfolds their willingness dissipates dramatically at times, but God comes to claim them and for the moment they are ready to receive His help. All of the moving pieces of God’s plan are in place and His divine deliverance is at hand.
The application point for me today appears in the movements of God that set His plan in motion. While Moses and Aaron are now privy to God’s plan, none of the other Israelites know what is going to happen. Big things are afoot of which the people know nothing. But that doesn’t mean God isn’t doing a might work because He is doing just that. I can only assume He still acts the same way today. Just because I can’t see what is being set in place or I haven’t been told the plan doesn’t mean there isn’t one. It comes back to trusting that the Living God knows what He’s doing and He is perfectly executing His will for us. While I’m not always successful at eliminating worry or concern I need not waste my mental energy in those pursuits. God’s got it all figured out.
There is one little story inside of this passage that requires some mention and that is the incident regarding the circumcision of Moses’ son, Gershom. In the NIV (and many other translations) the name of Moses is inserted into the passage. If you read this passage from your own Bible rather than my post above, you’ll most certainly find Moses mentioned as the one God seeks to destroy and Zipporah chases down with the foreskin. (It is Gershom's genitals she touches with the removed foreskin.) In fact Moses’ name is never mentioned in the Hebrew text. The insertion of his name here is a mistake. It would appear that Moses has neglected to have his son circumcised. This is in direct opposition to God’s commands to Abraham several hundred years earlier. The placement of this event immediately after God declares that He will kill the firstborn son of the Pharaoh as He goes to claim His own "firstborn son" is not an accident. God is not messing around here. He is holy and perfect and He has set up some demands that must be met in order for Moses and the people to claim Him as their God. One of those demands is circumcision. Moses and his family are not exempt. Zipporah apparently receives information from God that brings this lapse into focus and she takes care of what Moses had neglected. God’s wrath is appeased. There have been entire books written on this passage so I don’t pretend to do justice to it here in one short paragraph but it does bear mentioning.