When we attend a family reunion, we expect the meet-up to be filled with love, good memories, and delicious food. We hope no one mentions that old family feud, much less any current conflict. We don’t want anyone to say, You’ve changed . . . for the worse,” or to bring up past failures.
For Moses, today’s reunion drew a mix of emotions. He was returning to Egypt as a former prince and wanted criminal. Some of the Israelite leaders surely remembered him and the circumstances surrounding his flight 40 years previously. Nonetheless, they listened to his message from God, witnessed the signs, and responded with worship (vv. 29–31).
God was in control of the situation. He reassured Moses that those who’d wanted him dead were dead themselves (v. 19). He’d given him the “staff of God,” called so because of the signs Moses would do with it (v. 20). He even graciously gave Moses an overview of what was coming, including signs and wonders, Pharaoh’s hard heart, the final plague, and the Israelites’ eventual liberation (vv. 21–23). Because Egypt would not free God’s “firstborn son”—a metaphor indicating their belovedness—they would pay the price with their own firstborn sons. God demanded obedience. Circumcision was still a key element of the covenant (Gen. 17), and the Lord was angry because Moses’ sons were uncircumcised. His wife, Zipporah, saved all their lives with a radical act of repentant obedience (vv. 24–26).
Moses met with Aaron, bringing him up-to-date on God’s instructions. Then he met with the elders or leaders of Israel, communicated God’s words, and performed the signs. In contrast to Moses’s earlier fears that they wouldn’t listen, their worshipful response made for a good start. Even so, the story had just begun!
>> Are we able, like the Israelite elders, to trust and worship when our circumstances are negative or even miserable? Take heart, stand firm, God knows your situation even better than you do. He’s in control!
We are finite, seeing only our immediate surroundings and struggling to trust You with what we see. You are infinite and omniscient, able to bolster our courage and trust. Help us discern Your voice and obey.