Adult Tantrums (Exodus 4)


When was the last time you felt a ‘NOPE’ in your spirit? You know what I’m talking about. Someone asks you to do something with them or for them or even suggests you do something for yourself. Maybe you agree at first. But then you start to reconsider. And the more you think about whatever outing, activity, or task someone has put on your to-do list, the more certain you are that there is no way on earth you are doing that. NOPE.

Your favorite Bible character Moses felt the same way in this chapter. God has just laid out for him in thorough detail His plan to free the Israelites from captivity. This is what Moses always wanted, and now He’s being promised help by the most powerful King ever. You’d think he’d immediately get to work, right?

NOPE. Moses stalls. All of a sudden he has a bunch of excuses. “What if they don’t listen?” (verse 1) God gives Him three mind-blowing signs to perform that the Egyptians wouldn’t be able to ignore (verses 2-9). “I can’t speak well.” (verse 11) God will tell Him what to say and give Him the strength to say it (verse 12). “Send someone else.” Send someone else?! The God of the universe is promising to help Moses do this amazing thing and he wants to pass? Yet God indeed sends someone else – Moses’s brother, Aaron – to say all the scary words while Moses does the signs.

This arrangement seems to appease Moses until he almost dies for another excuse – he wouldn’t circumcise his son. With much frustration and probably not a little bit of arguing, Zipporah circumcises her son for Moses and the show is back on the road. Moses soon meets up with Aaron and then with the elders of the Israelites. With much prayer and praise and thanksgiving, the plan to free God’s people is officially underway. What lies ahead for this nation?

The Treasures Within:

Kicking and Screaming

Moses. Wasn’t. Having it. When God asked him to go free his people, Moses just simply did not want to! Was he afraid? Worse, was he lazy? Had he forgotten the passion of his youth? Whatever the reason, there was no question about the fact that Moses was digging his heels in. God gave him signs to perform and some of the most beautiful and strengthening encouragement that exists in the Bible (verses 11-12), but Moses still said “send someone else”! This was Moses saying “No” to God. He dared to say “No” to God! For a moment Moses relented and even packed up for Egypt, but then he changed his mind again on the road. Circumcision, as we have seen already, was a big deal. It was a sign to God’s people that they were, in fact, His people. Circumcision was a permanent reminder that this man and his home were in God’s family. But on that day, in that inn on the way to Egypt, Moses decided he wanted out. He wanted out of this family and all the demands that came with it. He didn’t want to follow God anymore. He was done. And God was about to let him have his way. Since Moses didn’t want the God who was the giver of life, Moses almost lost his life.

What happened to Moses when Zipporah stepped in the gap for him, saving his life and circumcising his son? Did he suddenly realize what he was risking? Did it become apparent to him that, despite his belief that he could reject God and continue down his own path, there was only one option: obey? Moses had tried to be smart. He had tried to do his own thing. But Moses realized what we must all realize before it’s too late – there is no other way but God’s way. If we don’t obey Him, then we will die. How many of us are courting death by trying to avoid God’s calls and “do me”? How many of us will die?

The Potter Shapes His Clay

“Who made Man’s mouth? Who makes the deaf, the mute, the seeing or the blind? Did not I?” Moses was blind. He may not have had a physical visual impairment, but he was blind. He was blind to truth and to reality. He was blind to his condition and his need of God. He was blind to who God was and what He was capable of. Moses just didn’t get it, at all. Yet God used Him. God made Moses. God loved Moses. Thus He would use him.

So let this be a lesson to you: no matter how blind you are or how dumb or how sinful or how broken or how twisted or how dark – God can use you. Nay, God will use you. He is that powerful and more than that loving. This whole chapter is a testament to that. Even the signs God gave Moses to perform: turning an inanimate object into a living one, a whole body part into a sickly one, pure water into defiled water – these signs were not small changes, or cute magic tricks, they were complete alterations of the fundamental building blocks of something. Each of those signs were transformations. Each of those signs were examples. God can make us completely different too. We simply have to be willing.

God’s Message To Us:

“When I created you, I gave you a purpose.” This is probably no surprise, but we are not on this earth to binge Netflix or spend money. We aren’t here to visit Europe or perfect self-care or follow our faves on Twitter. Each and every one of us is here to serve God in one way or another. It’s not optional. Serving God is the natural result of loving Him and believing in Him. Believing in God and loving God is what designates us as part of His family. And if we are not part of God’s family, then we are not living, and if we think we are, we won’t be for long. But another thing about serving God is that it’s not a mystery. The God who made your mouth, who gave you sight and breath and intelligence and ability, that God will help you speak and will teach you what to say. He will show you how to serve Him. He will guide you. He will hold your hand. He will have your back. When God calls, He requires, but He also equips and enables. So let’s be willing. We’re going to make a great team.

There Are Always Questions:

  1. In verse 25, when the Lord was about to kill Moses, the Bible says that Zipporah stepped up and circumcised her son. I wonder what led her to do that? Did she know that God was about to take her husband’s life? Did she and her husband have a long-standing argument about circumcision? Also, isn’t it significant that Zipporah, a non-Israelite, was the one who did the circumcision? I just want to know the circumstances that led up to that!

What do you think? What did you relate to in this chapter? What message does God have for you in these pages?

One thought on “Adult Tantrums (Exodus 4)

  1. Well Zipporah was not the heroine here; she was the stumbling block. Moses had not circumcised his sons because Zipporah was opposed to it. This can be seen from the fact that she circumcised her son in anger. She threw the bloody forskin at Moses’ feet and charged him with being a husband of blood to her. She was the one who opposed circumcision because she did not understand its deep, spiritual significance. Moses conceded to her and didn’t do what he knew God had commanded in order to keep peace in his home. There is a lesson in that!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s