Then Moses went back to Jethro his father-in-law and said to him, “Let me return to my own people in Egypt to see if any of them are still alive.” Jethro said, “Go, and I wish you well.” Now the Lord had said to Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt, for all those who wanted to kill you are dead.” So Moses took his wife and sons, put them on a donkey and started back to Egypt. And he took the staff of God in his hand. The Lord said to Moses, “When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go. Then say to Pharaoh, ‘This is what the Lord says: Israel is my firstborn son, and I told you, “Let my son go, so he may worship me.” But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son.’ ” At a lodging place on the way, the Lord met Moses and was about to kill him. But Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son’s foreskin and touched Moses’ feet with it. “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me,” she said. So the Lord let him alone. (At that time she said “bridegroom of blood,” referring to circumcision.)
Exodus 4:18-26 NIV
Sometimes God’s call demands on us to depart from familiarity. Moses left with his family after being blessed by Jethro his father in law. The Lord spoke that He would harden the heart of pharaoh so that he would resist the release of His people. The more we resist God, the more He allows our hearts to become hardened and callous to His Spirit. Scripture says that ‘today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts…’ A hard heart before God faces the risk of getting harder by the day. But God draws near to a contrite and repentant heart (Psalm 51). So as Pharaoh’s heart would become harder God would kill all Egyptian first borns because they had refused to release God’s first born people, Israel. The Passover was being alluded to here. The day when the doorposts of Israelites households would be smeared with blood for identity so that the Angel of Death may pass over them. In the new testament, the blood of the Lamb would preserve humanity from death brought about by sin. The blood of Christ our Lord. But from verse 24, the Lord appeared to Moses in a lodging place in the wilderness and was about to kill him. This verse seems misplaced and paradoxical yet it points us towards a responsibility we have over our family members as fathers. Moses had neglected circumcising his son, Gershom from his birth yet this was a covenant sign He had given to Abraham. It took the intervention of Zipporah, his wife to save him. God’s call on us is not a reason to abscond from our parental responsibilities especially those related to pointing our children to God. May God help us as fathers to play this role effectively.