18 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.”

19 Now the Lord had said to Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt, for all those who wanted to kill you are dead.” 20 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.

Verse 19 shows what preceded Moses’ request to Jethro, namely God’s instruction. Moses still observed what I presume was a courtesy in that culture. In so doing, he received his father-in-law’s words of blessing and found he had an ‘open door’.

If you believe God has told you to do a certain thing, you will likely find circumstantial confirmation: i.e. things will start to open up for you to do that thing. God will make a way; the Red Sea will part; a relative may affirm your direction! (Just one word of caution though: when Jonah was running away from the Lord, he went down to Joppa and found a ship bound for Tarshish – the very destination he wanted to run to. It could have been seen as providential. However, Jonah knew what God had said to him, and was aware he was being disobedient. So the opportunity alone doesn’t make it right).

A preacher said he stood on the bridge of a ship one night as it headed into a harbour. The captain said to him, ‘Do you see those three lights? They have to come into alignment and then we know we are heading in the right direction.’ At least three lights must come into line for us to be sure of God’s guidance: a.) His word to our hearts; b.) the written Word of God, the Bible, and c.) the providential ordering of circumstances.