As Exodus 4 begins, Moses is continuing His conversation with the Lord about his upcoming assignment to bring the Hebrews out of Egypt. Moses’ response is typical of those who have to convince others that God has truly called them to a task: “But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you.'”
When God calls His people to do something, the last thing they want to deal with is having to prove that God has called them, especially if they already suspect they won’t be believed. We must understand that this is really a necessity because It keeps God’s people from being led astray. On this occasion, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had a means to prove He had indeed called Moses’ to deliver His people – three miracles.
First Moses cast his rod to the ground and it became a serpent. When he picked it up again by the tail, it became a rod once again. Some say this was to demonstrate God’s power over the power of the Egyptian gods.
Second, Moses put his hand in his bosom and when he pulled it out, it was leprous or white as snow. When he put his hand back into his bosom and pulled it out again, it was restored. Some suggest this is to show man his sinful condition and how only God has the power to restore man’s spiritual nature. Actually, no matter where man dwells, his spiritual condition is one of a leper who is clothed in the fleshly nature. Only God can rescue, redeem, heal, and restore him to what He intended man to be.
Third, if the Hebrews refused to believe the first two signs, Moses could also take water out of the river and pour it onto the ground where it would become blood. If you recall from Leviticus 17:14, the life of every creature is in the blood. This would be like pouring out someone’s life on the ground.
By now we can see a progression of what these miracles show: God truly intended to demonstrate His power over the Egyptian gods, redeem His people, and to destroy the lives of Pharaoh’s army in the sea and allow their dead bodies to wash up on shore.
The next issue Moses raised was his inability to speak well. The Lord was certainly irritated with Moses by now yet He had this problem solved as well. It is God who was really Moses mouth and it was God who would teach Moses what to say. This is often true of God’s people today. Instead of accepting that, Moses found the audacity of asking God to send someone else.
God was obviously angry but He did not give up on Moses. Why? I think it was because God had chosen Moses for this task since birth. He was in many ways the ultimate type of the Messiah. He had to be the one to do the job. There was no other.
God continued by saying Aaron will speak for Moses. God promised to give the words to Moses and in turn Moses would give the words to Aaron who would be Moses’ spokesman for the people. In other words, Moses would be to Aaron as God. It would be as if Moses represented the Heavenly Father and Aaron represented Christ.
With these issues settled, Moses received permission from Jethro to take his family to Egypt.
As we continue reading Exodus 4, we encounter a strange incident that involves the circumcision of Moses’ son. Perhaps it would be best to read that section of the Palestinian Targum on the Book of Shemoth (Exodus) for a fuller explanation:
“But it was on the way, in the place of lodging that the angel of the Lord met him, and sought to kill him, because Gershom his son had not been circumcised, inasmuch as Jethro his father-in-law had not permitted him to circumcise him: but Eliezer had been circum-cised, by an agreement between them two. And Zipporah took a stone, and circumcised the foreskin of Gershom her son, and brought the severed part to the feet of the angel, the Destroyer, and said, The husband sought to circumcise, but the father-in-law obstructed him; and now let this blood of the circumcision atone for my husband. [JERUSALEM. And she circumcised the foreskin of her son, and brought before the feet of the Destroyer, and said, The husband could have cir-cumcised, but the father-in-law did not permit him; but now, let the blood of this circumcision atone for the fault of this husband.] And the destroying angel desisted from him, so that Zipporah gave thanks, and said, How lovely is the blood of this circumcision that bath delivered my husband from the angel of destruction! [JERUSALEM. And when the Destroyer had ceased from him, Zipporah gave thanks and said, How lovely is the blood of this circumcision which hath saved my husband from the hand of the angel of death !]”
What we see here is that Zipporah is not despising the blood of the circumcision but is grateful for it. In Exodus 4:25-26, Zipporah is making a statement of fact: “Then Zipporah took a sharp stone and cut off the foreskin of her son and cast it at Moses’ feet, and said, “Surely you are a husband of blood to me!” 26 So He let him go. Then she said, “You are a husband of blood!” — because of the circumcision.”
In a way, this passage prepares us for the idea that blood atonement is going to be the means of deliverance of God’s people forevermore. Isn’t it strange how many Christians are grateful for the blood atonement of Yeshua Messiah yet they despise the Levitical sacrifices? It should not be that way! If our Bridegroom was not a husband of blood to us, we would not be able to stand in the presence of God. Instead, we would spend eternity in the lake of fire. Praise the Lord because He has given us a means to cut off the fleshly nature and live according to the Spirit of the Lord!
Exodus chapter 4 ends as the Lord commands Aaron to meet Moses in the wilderness at the mountain of God. Moses was able to spend time with Aaron there and tell him everything that the Lord had said. After that, they went to Egypt, gathered the elders of the children of Israel together, demonstrated the miraculous signs, the people believed what they had been told, and they all worshipped the Lord.