Jethro was a priest, before Israel was called out of Egypt and before the Levitical priesthood was made at Sinai, and he obviously believed in the Eternal (Ex 18). How could Jethro be the priest of a strange god if he worshipped God with Moses at Sinai?
God was training Moses for his future responsibility and God led Moses to Jethro, who was a man filled with wisdom [See Exodus 18], and was very close to Moses. Jethro sent Moses back to Egypt, he was the man who later met Moses at Sinai and offered sacrifices to God there, and who’s advice Moses valued and sought even then when God was speaking personally to him.
Moses takes the flocks of Jethro [Reuel] to Mount Sinai.
Exodus 3:1 Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.
Christ appears to Moses as a fire burning in a bush on Mount Sinai.
3:2 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. 3:3 And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.
Moses is told to show respect, for the ground was holy because of the presence of God.
3:4 And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. 3:5 And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.
The Creator then identifies himself as the God of Moses’ forefathers and Moses greatly feared. Without doubt Moses had been told of these things by his parents as a child and later learned more from Jethro.
God had guided Moses to the home of Jethro and there Moses would have learned all that Jethro knew over his forty years there.
Later Jethro had gone out to meet Moses at Mt Sinai [Horeb] after Israel had left Egypt, and Jethro was faithful in supporting Moses and giving Moses wise advice about teaching the people the Word of God.
3:6 Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God [that is the fire of God].
The Creator tells Moses that he has heard the cries of the people of Israel and is about to deliver them. Remember that Christ besides hearing the cries of the people was also ready to fulfill his prophecy of delivering Israel.
3:7 And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; 3:8 And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 3:9 Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them.
Then the Creator proposed to send Moses to act as his agent in Egypt; and of course the Creator had been working with, preparing and training Moses for this very responsibility all of his life; just like he has been working with, molding and training his called out through the millennia.
The Creator also trained up Joseph before exalting him to responsibility, as a physical example of how he trains up his called out to prepare them for spiritual responsibilities.
3:10 Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.
Moses humbly asks why he should be given such a responsibility. Moses did not try to exalt himself as very many leaders and elders do today. This Moses was an example of righteousness and humility, which to our great shame most of the ministry have not followed today.
3:11 And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?
Moses is told that he will bring the children of Israel out of Egypt and take them to the very mount of Sinai; then Moses would fully know that God is with him. I ask here: Who ordained Moses? Did not God ordain Moses spiritually by sending him on this mission?
Today people exalt ordination by men, and close their eyes to ordination by God. People look at ordination by men, and ignore the fruits of many such men; whether they be faithful to the whole Word of God, or whether they are evil doers (Mat 7).
3:12 And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.
Jesus then tells Moses to say that his name is “I Am”.
3:13 And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? 3:14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.
Moses was told to say that “I AM” was the name of the God of Abraham, even though they had not known God by that name before.
3:15 And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, the LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.
Moses was told to present himself to the elders of Israel and to say to them that the God of their fathers had appeared to them and commanded them to leave Egypt.
3:16 Go, and gather the elders of Israel together, and say unto them, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared unto me, saying, I have surely visited you, and seen that which is done to you in Egypt: 3:17 And I have said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt unto the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, unto a land flowing with milk and honey.
In the presence of Pharaoh, Moses is not to speak his own words but is to speak the words that God has told him to say.
3:18 And they shall hearken to thy voice: and thou shalt come, thou and the elders of Israel, unto the king of Egypt, and ye shall say unto him, The LORD God of the Hebrews hath met with us: and now let us go, we beseech thee, three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God. 3:19 And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand. 3:20 And I will stretch out my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in the midst thereof: and after that he will let you go.
God tells Moses that he [God] will smite Egypt, and Israel shall be delivered with great riches.
This is an allegory of how God shall smite the wicked in the day of the Lord, and give rich rewards to his chosen at the resurrection of the faithful.
3:21 And I will give this people favour in the sight of the Egyptians: and it shall come to pass, that, when ye go, ye shall not go empty. 3:22 But every woman shall borrow of her neighbour, and of her that sojourneth in her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and ye shall put them upon your sons, and upon your daughters; and ye shall spoil the Egyptians.
God then gives Moses certain signs to convince Israel that he speaks the truth. Very soon now God will send his two servants to call spiritual Israel out of this society with mighty signs and miracles; and as in the days of the Pharisees, only a few faithful will respond. The proud modern spiritual Pharisees called Laodiceans, will not respond and will, like the ancient Pharisees, claim that the two are of the devil because they do not bow to the false traditions of men.
The vast majority in today’s various COG Groups will not respond positively to the warnings of God and will fall into great tribulation. Then in much tribulation they will remember that they had been warned by a merciful God.
Exodus 4:1 And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee.
Moses is given terrifying signs to convince Israel of his calling.
4:2 And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod. 4:3 And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it. 4:4 And the LORD said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand: 4:5 That they may believe that the LORD God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee.
A second sign
4:6 And the LORD said furthermore unto him, Put now thine hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow. 4:7 And he said, Put thine hand into thy bosom again. And he put his hand into his bosom again; and plucked it out of his bosom, and, behold, it was turned again as his other flesh. 4:8 And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign.
The third sign
4:9 And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe also these two signs, neither hearken unto thy voice, that thou shalt take of the water of the river, and pour it upon the dry land: and the water which thou takest out of the river shall become blood upon the dry land.
Moses points out that he is not eloquent to speak.
4:10 And Moses said unto the LORD, O my LORD, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.
God then promises to give Moses the words that he must say, and God promises us that he will also put his words in our mouths when we are rejected by the assemblies and and later before civil judges because of our Christ-like zeal to live by the righteousness of the whole word of God.
Matthew 10:17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; 10:18 And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. 10:19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.
Exodus 4:11 And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD? 4:12 Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.
Christ rebukes this apparent lack of willingness to serve and informs Moses that Aaron is already on his way to meet him.
4:13 And he said, O my LORD, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send. 4:14 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and he said, Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart.
God will tell Moses what to say and then Moses will tell Aaron what to say.
In this historical allegory, Moses is the mediator of the Mosaic Covenant and a type of Jesus Christ the Mediator of the New Covenant. Aaron as the physical high priest [beginning at Sinai] is also an allegory of Jesus Christ our spiritual High Priest. Therefore it is appropriate that both Moses and Aaron as intended by YHVH from the beginning, as types of Christ, speak to Pharaoh the type of the god-king enslaving this world.
4:15 And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do. 4:16 And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God.
Moses is to take the rod with him.
4:17 And thou shalt take this rod in thine hand, wherewith thou shalt do signs.
Moses then asks his father in law for his approval to return to Egypt. Clearly this is a limited report of the conversation and Moses must have been bursting to tell of his experience and the burning bush. Yet Jethro believed and did nothing to try to dissuade Moses but simply said: GO! Yes, Jethro was a man of God!
4:18 And Moses went and returned to Jethro his father in law, and said unto him, Let me go, I pray thee, and return unto my brethren which are in Egypt, and see whether they be yet alive. And Jethro said to Moses, Go in peace.
God then tells Moses that the men who sought to kill him in Egypt were dead, and bids him return to Egypt. So Moses takes his wife and two sons and the rod of God and starts out on his journey.
4:19 And the LORD said unto Moses in Midian, Go, return into Egypt: for all the men are dead which sought thy life.
The relatives and avengers of the dead Egyptian would have died and pharaoh himself would have forgotten Moses after forty years of war and empire building.
4:20 And Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them upon an ass, and he returned to the land of Egypt: and Moses took the rod of God in his hand.
God tells Moses that he [God] will harden Pharaoh’s heart that he might show forth God’s power on Egypt.
4:21 And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go.
Here even at the beginning, God says that he plans to institute Passover and slay the first born of Egypt.
4:22 And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn: 4:23 And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn [Yes, the first born son of pharaoh died in Egypt on Passover].
Then Christ appears to Moses and would have slain the family because of their uncircumcision.
Perhaps at this time Moses sent his wife and sons back to Jethro, because later they went to Moses at Sinai:
Exodus 18:2 Then Jethro, Moses’ father in law, took Zipporah, Moses’ wife, after he had sent her back, 18:3 And her two sons;
Exodus 4:24 And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him, and sought to kill him. 4:25 Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me. 4:26 So he let him go: then she said, A bloody husband thou art, because of the circumcision.
God then told Aaron where to meet Moses.
4:27 And the LORD said to Aaron, Go into the wilderness to meet Moses. And he went, and met him in the mount of God [Sinai, Horeb], and kissed him.
Moses then told Aaron all the words of God and Aaron took Moses to meet the elders of Israel.
4:28 And Moses told Aaron all the words of the LORD who had sent him, and all the signs which he had commanded him. 4:29 And Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel: 4:30 And Aaron spake all the words which the LORD had spoken unto Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people.
The people believed for they were desperate for deliverance from the burden of Egypt, which is a type of our bondage to Sin.
Sadly today the church of God called out people, do not want deliverance from their sins; instead they are lustful after the pleasures of sin, and love their idols of men, false traditions and corporate entities above any zeal for the Word of God; and when victory comes from Extremism and peace seems secure, they will reject the warnings of God.
4:31 And the people believed: and when they heard that the LORD had visited the children of Israel, and that he had looked upon their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped.
After Aaron had introduced Moses to the elders and they had been convinced of the mission of Moses, Moses went to the court of Pharaoh.
One might ask: Will God send his two servants to the elders of the Ekklesia first before sending them to the worldly? I would not be surprised; in fact I would be very surprised if God’s two servants did not go to the leaders of the Ekklesia first, at the appointed time
Exodus 5:1 And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness.
Pharaoh then asked: Who is this God?
5:2 And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go.
Aaron and Moses then identified God, as the God of the Hebrews and repeated their request.
5:3 And they said, The God of the Hebrews hath met with us: let us go, we pray thee, three days’ journey into the desert, and sacrifice unto the LORD our God; lest he fall upon us with pestilence, or with the sword.
Pharaoh then reprimands Aaron and Moses for turning the people from their labors.
5:4 And the king of Egypt said unto them, Wherefore do ye, Moses and Aaron, let the people from their works? get you unto your burdens. 5:5 And Pharaoh said, Behold, the people of the land now are many, and ye make them rest from their burdens.
Pharaoh them increases the burdens on the people.
Spiritually when people are called out of this world’s bondage to sin, the pharaoh god-king of this world also persecutes and burdens us, to discourage us from seeking freedom from his bondage.
The Word of God is easy and the burden of godliness is light; it is the burden that pharaoh [satan] places upon us for our zeal for freedom from bondage to him that afflicts us. Yet if we continue in learning and living by every Word of God with passionate enthusiasm; our Mighty One will deliver us as he delivered Israel from Pharaoh!
As Christ raised his called out of physical Egypt from the Red Sea of death, on the end of the sixth day of unleavened bread, raising physical Israel up to the seventh day of rejoicing: Christ shall raise up his chosen called out of spiritual Israel at the end of six thousand years, to a millennial Sabbath of rest for all humanity!
Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 11:30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Exodus 5:6 And Pharaoh commanded the same day the taskmasters of the people, and their officers, saying, 5:7 Ye shall no more give the people straw to make brick, as heretofore: let them go and gather straw for themselves. 5:8 And the tale of the bricks, which they did make heretofore, ye shall lay upon them; ye shall not diminish ought thereof: for they be idle; therefore they cry, saying, Let us go and sacrifice to our God.
God’s words of deliverance are NOT vain; our Mighty One shall perform all his promises to his faithful. It is the words and actions of Satan and his minions that are vain, they shall not profit, but will bring destruction on all who chose to reject God’s deliverance from the bondage of sin.
5:9 Let there more work be laid upon the men, that they may labour therein; and let them not regard vain words. 5:10 And the taskmasters of the people went out, and their officers, and they spake to the people, saying, Thus saith Pharaoh, I will not give you straw. 5:11 Go ye, get you straw where ye can find it: yet not ought of your work shall be diminished. 5:12 So the people were scattered abroad throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble instead of straw. 5:13 And the taskmasters hasted them, saying, Fulfil your works, your daily tasks, as when there was straw.
Then Israel complained to Moses that they were not delivered and that their burdens were increased.
When we are burdened with temptations to remain in sin, or burdened by persecutions and trials designed to make us turn aside from the Word of God; we must redouble and redouble again our dedication to learn and to fully live by every Word of God! We must RUN to our Deliverer and ask him to help us to learn whatever he is teaching us by the situation, we must ask for faith and courage to take a stand up for the Word of God. We must ask for the courage of Daniel and his three friends and acquit ourselves like people of God Almighty!
Whether we live or die in the flesh is of no consequence if we lose our eternal life! Nothing physical whatsoever matters in comparison to being like our Father for eternity!
Matthew 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul [spirit, eternal life]? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
Exodus 5:14 And the officers of the children of Israel, which Pharaoh’s taskmasters had set over them, were beaten, and demanded, Wherefore have ye not fulfilled your task in making brick both yesterday and to day, as heretofore? 5:15 Then the officers of the children of Israel came and cried unto Pharaoh, saying, Wherefore dealest thou thus with thy servants? 5:16 There is no straw given unto thy servants, and they say to us, Make brick: and, behold, thy servants are beaten; but the fault is in thine own people.
When we seek to worship and obey God; the enemy attacks and burdens us.
We need to understand that our trials, temptations and afflictions are not from obeying God; they are from our own errors and from Satan; to discourage us in following and keeping every Word of God.
5:17 But he said, Ye are idle, ye are idle: therefore ye say, Let us go and do sacrifice to the LORD. 5:18 Go therefore now, and work; for there shall no straw be given you, yet shall ye deliver the tale of bricks.5:19 And the officers of the children of Israel did see that they were in evil case, after it was said, Ye shall not minish ought from your bricks of your daily task.
Now Israel falls for the satanic lie, common throughout history, and blames the Word of God for all their troubles; instead of placing the blame on Pharaoh [Satan] where it belongs.
When facing trials physical Israel always blamed God; instead of placing the blame on Satan and on their own sinfulness where it belonged.
5:20 And they met Moses and Aaron, who stood in the way, as they came forth from Pharaoh: 5:21 And they said unto them, The LORD look upon you, and judge; because ye have made our savour [we stink in pharaoh’s nose] to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to slay us.
Even Moses begins to blame God and must still learn the lesson that God is good and it is the sins of the people and the attacks of Satan that are to be blamed for our afflictions. That said, it is also true that God allows us to experience trials for our own good, to mature us into the people he wants us to be.
In this case God did harden Pharaoh in order to fulfill his purpose of teaching us these lessons. The lesson of Job is that God is far wiser than man, and we should not questing his actions; but should trust in him and understand that what he does is for our long term good.
5:22 And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, LORD, wherefore hast thou so evil entreated this people? why is it that thou hast sent me? 5:23 For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in thy name, he hath done evil to this people; neither hast thou delivered thy people at all.
We need to break out of our tradition of idolizing men, we need to stop idolizing the hero’s of scripture. They were only men like ourselves, their greatness was not their own, but their enormous trust and faith and fidelity to the Word of God made them great.
This man worship has been ingrained so deeply in us by our leaders, and it needs to be totally rooted out.
The Being who became Jesus Christ gave up his God-hood to become flesh, and while in the flesh clearly taught that no man in the flesh is good, only God is good. Those who become like God the Father shall become spiritually good as he is good. Yes Moses was probably the closest to godly goodness as anyone except Christ himself, but that is because of Moses’s willingness to learn and to keep the whole Word of God.
Moses was flesh as we are flesh, and Moses had to learn, just as we must continually learn and grow. Jesus himself learned as he suffered and we must also learn through suffering (Heb 5:8) Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
While in the flesh we are all unfinished products, let us not idolize any man, no not our elders or leaders, and no not even the champions of scripture; rather let us work to become overcomers of sin with God as they were, that we might attain as they did.
Matthew 19:17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.