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Biblical/Doctrinal Studies:
Desert of Discipline Series

The Return Ticket
(Exodus 4:18-31)
by Ed Vasicek

I do not like many movies, especially newer ones. Although Christian convictions would limit what and how much I watch, if I was lost I still would rarely watch movies. It is who I am. I am, for the most part, a movie dud.

I will watch Charlie Chan, or vintage mysteries and comedies, but not much recent. So, once in a while (maybe two or three times a year), my family tries to come up with a newer movie that even I will watch. In early 2006, they came with The Incredibles, though they had to twist my arm to get me to watch it with them. This year they came up with Chicken Run.

In this movie, the chickens want to learn how to fly so they escape the slaughter that is their destiny. But this raises a question: Why do chickens have wings?

The easy answer: Because God knew that we would love Buffalo wings. But there is a better answer.

"There are at least two possibilities as to why flightless birds such as ostriches and emus have wings, either:

The wings are indeed "useless" and derived from birds that once could fly. This is possible in the creationist model. Loss of features is relatively easy by natural processes, whereas acquisition of new characters, requiring specific new DNA information, is impossible. Loss of wings most probably occurred in a beetle species that colonized a windy island. Again, this is a loss of genetic information, so it is not evidence for microbe-to-man evolution, which requires masses of new genetic information.

The wings have a function. Some possible functions, depending on the species of flightless bird, are: balance while running, cooling in hot weather, warmth in cold weather, protection of the ribcage during falls, mating rituals, scaring predators (emus will run at perceived enemies of their chicks, mouth open and wings flapping), sheltering of chicks, etc. If the wings are useless, why are the muscles functional, allowing these birds to move their wings?" (source: ChristianAnswers.net - Why Do Flightless Birds Have Wings?)

Moses was a man who, in a sense, had wings but was flightless. He had tried to deliver the Hebrews in his own power and at his own time.

But now, God was going to recreate the pattern we saw when Moses left Egypt, but this time around, because it was God's time - and God had His blessing on Moses - he would succeed in bringing the Hebrews to freedom.

Main Idea: The same strategies that fail outside of God's timing can work wonderfully within God's timing.

The patterns we see before Moses left Egypt are repeated as Moses left Midian, but they now produce success because God's time is right.

  1. Moses Is Secretive When He Left Egypt and Midian. (18)

    1. The Egyptian he killed

      1. Tried to hush it up.

      2. Snuck away.

    2. The mission God had for him

      1. Was not to visit friends.

      2. It is probably true that he did want to visit family and friends, but he would not be going unless God had told him to do so…even then, he tried to wiggle out.

    3. Is withholding information lying?

      1. Does not give real reason.

      2. Did he tell Zipporah the truth?

      3. A partial lesser truth put for the main truth.

  2. God Will Kill Egyptian Males Like Pharaoh Killed Hebrew Males. (19-23)

    1. God reassured him in the matter of safety. (19)

      1. Implies that Moses was considering disobeying God because of fear.

      2. I doubt we would have done better.

      3. People say they are completely surrendered to God - impossible to know unless tested.

    2. His rod had become the staff of God; He was now a man of God. (20)

      1. When you dedicate something to God, it becomes holy.

      2. God is so holy that when you give something to Him, it becomes holy.

      3. Time watching a football time is not bad, but it is not holy either. Time reading your Bible becomes holy.

    3. God told Moses to tell Pharaoh that Israel was His Firstborn. (21-22)

      1. The idea of being "firstborn" meant having special privileges and responsibilities.

      2. Israel is not Yahweh's only son, but His firstborn, implying that there were other people groups who may have believed in Him; under the New Covenant, those people groups are included among the "firstborn."

      3. Hebrews 12:22-23 "But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven."

    4. God would destroy Egypt's firstborn. (23)

  3. Moses Barely Escapes Death Departing from Egypt and Midian. (24-26)

    1. Moses barely escaped Pharaoh; now God threatened to kill Moses. (24)

      1. God probably appeared as The Angel of the Lord with sword in hand.

      2. Now Moses did not actually barely escape, only from a human perspective.

      3. This was like Jacob wrestling all night with God, a lesson needed to be driven home.

    2. Moses' younger son had never been circumcised. (25)

      1. The Midianites, who were descendents of Abraham, also practiced circumcision.

      2. The events lead us to believe that Zipporah did not want her youngest son to go through circumcision and that Moses had been weak-willed and gave in to her.

      3. Moses needed to learn to be the head of his home before he could be the head of his nation.

    3. The lesson was noted. (26)

    4. This occurred at an inn.

  4. Moses Without Family When Leaving Egypt and Midian. (Exodus 18:2-6)

    1. Moses family now left behind.

    2. Exodus 18:2-6 makes the point.

    3. Moses accompanies them back (probably) after the near-death trauma.

  5. Moses Rejected by the Hebrews; Now Accepted. (27-31)

    1. Aaron came and met Moses. (27-28)

      I Samuel 2:27 "Now a man of God came to Eli and said to him, 'This is what the LORD says: 'Did I not clearly reveal myself to your father's house when they were in Egypt under Pharaoh?'"

    2. The Hebrew people believed Moses. (29-30)

    3. The stage is now set.

Main Idea: The same strategies that fail outside of God's timing can work wonderfully within God's timing.


What can we learn from these events?

The importance of timing and waiting on God.

Some Christians just leap into decisions like they were the captains of their own ship; they feel no obligation to consult God, make no attempt to counsel with the godly, feel free to do whatever they want to do.

Such Christians have not discovered the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Jesus asked, "Why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?" (Luke 6:46).

Let me lay some logic on you. God has revealed His will in His Word. How can we obey God, if we do not bother to check in with Him? And how can we check in with Him if we do not know His word? And how can we know His Word if we do not read and study it?

Moses tried things his way and failed. Moses was coerced to do things God's way and succeeded. Must we repeat this pattern? Do we have to learn the hard way, or can we, instead, get to know God in the first place?

Pastor Ed

Highland Park Church   516 W. Sycamore St. Kokomo, Indiana, 46901 USA   (765)452-1779    church@highlandpc.com    Main Service: Sun 10:30 a.m.