Today God instructs Moses to return to Egypt, and He calms Moses’ fears by letting him know that the ones who wanted to kill him years ago, after he murdered the Egyptian, are now dead. So Moses leaves Midian with his wife and sons and heads toward Egypt. On the way, God seeks to kill Moses because he neglected the sacred rite of circumcising his sons, the act that symbolizes God’s covenant with His people. God is going to use Moses to teach His people His laws, so it is of utmost importance that Moses, their new leader, obeys them.
Then Moses reunites with his brother Aaron, and together they share with the children of Israel all the words of the Lord. Moses performs signs in the sight of the people to help increase their faith. “So the people believed; and when they heard that the Lord had visited the children of Israel and that He had looked on their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshiped.”
When Moses and Aaron ask Pharaoh to let the people go to worship the Lord, Pharaoh refuses, as God said he would. Then Pharaoh increases the Israelites workload and beats the officers for not making quotas. Now the Israelites are in even greater distress, and Moses is questioning the Lord about why He sent him. God responds to Moses,“Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh. For with a strong hand he will let them go, and with a strong hand he will drive them out of his land.”
The Lord tells Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do all those wonders before Pharaoh which I have put in your hand. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go. Then you shall say to Pharaoh, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Israel is My son, My firstborn. So I say to you, let My son go that he may serve Me. But if you refuse to let him go, indeed I will kill your son, your firstborn.’”
Since God always does what He says He is going to do, this is exactly what will eventually happen. However, we see that the Israelites’ circumstances get even worse before God delivers them. The Lord is less concerned about our immediate comfort and more concerned about displaying His glory to the world. But God assures the Israelites that He will deliver on His promise to rescue them – “I am the Lord; I will bring you out from under your burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you into the land which I swore to give Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and I will give it to you as a heritage.” And He will, but it is going to be God’s way and in His timing.
Be sure to take note of the genealogy of the Levites. The Lord will assign them a special role once the Israelites flee Egypt. Keep reading to see God’s rescue plan unfold. (Exodus 4:18-7:13)