Reasons Why Moses Was Reluctant To Go To Egypt

Moses is among the most intriguing figures in the Old Testament. He was a man of faith and his parents were devout followers of the same God as their ancestors. Moses was adopted and brought up in the royal family in Egypt because his adoptive mother was the daughter of the Pharaoh. Egypt was one of the most productive and forward-thinking nations in the world at the time, with educational accomplishments far exceeding those of any other nation.

The Lord must have spoken to Moses at some point during his formative years, it is evident when we look at the biblical narratives of him. He was forced to make a decision between the servitude of his own people, the grandeur, money, and power of Egypt, and his own people, the Israelites. He had been a shepherd for forty years, leading a tranquil and contented life until God called him. Even though Moses was fully aware of Egyptian culture and the issues associated with Israel’s slavery, he was reluctant to undertake the duty of interacting with the Pharaoh of Egypt. If he did not know the precise name of the God who had appointed him to save the nation, he feared that Israel would reject him.

Moses was also concerned that the people wouldn’t recognize his authority and would reject him. He recalled what had been said to him the previous time he attempted to deliver the Israelites (Exodus 2:11–15). When Moses reprimanded an Israelite for attacking a fellow Israelite, the man retorted, “Who made thee a prince and a judge over us?” The disapproval had left a deep mark.

Reasons why Moses was reluctant to go to Egypt

Let's explore more some of the reasons behind Moses's reluctance:

  1. Personal History: Moses had fled Egypt after killing an Egyptian overseer who was mistreating a Hebrew slave (Exodus 2:11-15). He had spent years in Midian, married, and started a family. Returning to Egypt would mean confronting his past and potentially facing repercussions for his actions.

  2. Fear of Rejection: Moses may have feared rejection by both the Israelites and the Egyptians. Having lived in Midian for many years, he might have been apprehensive about how he would be received by his own people, especially since he had been absent during their suffering as slaves. Additionally, he may have anticipated resistance or hostility from the Egyptian authorities, given his past history.

  3. Sense of Inadequacy: When God first called Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3:1-22), Moses responded with a series of objections, including feeling inadequate for the task. He questioned his ability to speak eloquently and doubted whether the Israelites would believe him or listen to his message. This sense of inadequacy could have contributed to his reluctance to take on such a significant role.

  4. Lack of Confidence: Moses lacked confidence in his leadership abilities. Despite God's assurance that He would be with him and guide him, Moses doubted his capacity to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and into the promised land. This lack of confidence may have made him hesitant to accept the responsibility entrusted to him.

  5. Risk to His Family: Moses had a wife and children in Midian, and he may have been concerned about their safety and well-being if he were to return to Egypt and become embroiled in a confrontation with Pharaoh. The prospect of putting his family at risk could have weighed heavily on his mind and contributed to his reluctance.

  6. Uncertainty about the Outcome: Moses may have been uncertain about the outcome of his mission to confront Pharaoh and demand the release of the Israelites. He could not predict how Pharaoh would react or whether the Israelites would ultimately be freed. This uncertainty may have made him hesitant to embark on such a perilous journey.

  7. Divine Commission: Despite his doubts and reservations, Moses ultimately accepted God's commission to go to Egypt and deliver His message to Pharaoh. His reluctance serves as a testament to the complexity of human emotions and the challenges of following a divine calling. Ultimately, Moses's journey from reluctance to obedience demonstrates his faith and trust in God's guidance.

In conclusion, Moses's reluctance to go to Egypt can be attributed to a combination of personal history, fear of rejection, sense of inadequacy, lack of confidence, concern for his family, uncertainty about the outcome, and the weight of divine commission. His journey serves as a powerful example of wrestling with doubt and ultimately finding the courage to trust in God's plan.


  1. Moses was chosen because of his willingness to go out of his way to help another creature. It was his willingness to bear a burden for the sake of another. Kindness, not intelligence or ingenuity, is most important to God. It should be our focus and goal.

  2. There is no doubt that God would pick a person who was educated and thus had the ability to lead. We learn in Acts 7:22, that Moses was indeed an educated man. While he may have been slow in speech, we should know that in his conversations with Pharaoh he was bold and mighty.

  3. By faith Moses refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. Good leaders must have a desire to do right, this was a trait of Moses (Exodus 2:11-12).

  4. Moses was learning obedience to God’s commands in contrast to the ways of Egypt. On his was when he casted the rod that miraculously transformed into a snake, moses was learning that it was not going to be by Egyptian reasoning or logic that he would deliver Israel, but that if he would deliver the nation at all, it would have to be by God’s Word and Spirit.

  5. God wanted a man that would obey His word and depend upon His Spirit. He wanted a vessel through which He should show His glory, not Moses glory. God’s response to Moses feeling of non-eloquence was simply, “Who made man’s mouth?” In asking this question, the Lord told Moses that He would teach Moses what to say.

  6. Jesus frees us from the bondage of death and sin. Unlike Moses, Jesus didn’t just represent God, He is God (John 10:30). Jesus doesn’t just lead us to the Promised Land; He takes us up to heaven for eternity (John 14:1–3). For these and many more reasons, Jesus is a prophet greater than Moses.

  7. He was reluctant to go to Egypt because of what he had done in Egypt .He had killed a soldier of pharaoh to save an Israelite.

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