Daily Scripture: Exodus 4:18-23
18 Moses went back to his father-in-law Jethro and said to him, “Please let me go back to my family in Egypt and see whether or not they are still living.”
Jethro said to Moses, “Go in peace.”
19 The Lord said to Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt because everyone there who wanted to kill you has died.” 20 So Moses took his wife and his children, put them on a donkey, and went back to the land of Egypt. Moses also carried the shepherd’s rod from God in his hand.
21 The Lord said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, make sure that you appear before Pharaoh and do all the amazing acts that I’ve given you the power to do. But I’ll make him stubborn so that he won’t let the people go. 22 Then say to Pharaoh, ‘This is what the Lord says: Israel is my oldest son. 23 I said to you, “Let my son go so he could worship me.” But you refused to let him go. As a result, now I’m going to kill your oldest son.’”
It’s interesting that Moses did not tell his father-in-law, “I’m taking your grandchildren and daughter to Egypt to challenge Pharaoh’s power.” Remember the videos in last week’s sermon of Egypt’s pyramids and huge temples? (If you missed them, click here for the pyramids, and here for the temples.) In this extraordinary story, an 80-year-old shepherd set out with just his family, one donkey, and a shepherd’s rod to oppose and overcome that great empire. But the shepherd’s rod was “from God.” God went with him—and that single fact radically shifted the odds that seemed so stacked against Moses’ mission.
- In Exodus 3:19, God told Moses, “I know that Egypt’s king won’t let you go unless he’s forced to do it.” In today’s reading, we find a phrase that troubles many people, when God says, “I’ll make him stubborn.” We’ll examine this more closely next week. But realize that Pharaoh was NOT willing to release the Israelites before Moses ever appeared before him. What God did through Moses made Pharaoh’s stubbornness dramatically visible, but God did not have to make the Egyptian ruler stubborn. Pharaoh had already made those choices. How about you? If you stubbornly resist something you believe God is calling you to do, is your stubbornness your responsibility, or God’s? How can you open your heart to become more willing to follow God’s leading?
O God, I try to imagine how exposed Moses must have felt taking his family (and almost nothing else) with him to Egypt. But somehow he was eternally safe, because you were with him. Heighten my awareness that you are with me, too, today and every day. Amen.
Gather your family in a comfortable setting outside of your home such as the mall or a restaurant. Invite your family to be loud and talkative while trying to listen to the sounds around them. Then invite them to be quiet and still while listening to the sounds around. Talk about and listen to what each person heard each time. Discuss under what circumstances it was easier to listen to the surrounding sounds. Connect this with how we listen to God. How do we best hear God? Is it when we are rushing around, full of activity and constantly talking? Or is it when we pause to be still, read our Bibles, pray and worship? As a family, build some time into your schedules to listening more intentionally to God and one another. Ask God to help you be better listeners.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.