On the way to Egypt, at a place where Moses and his family had stopped for the night, the Lord confronted him and was about to kill him. But Moses’ wife, Zipporah, took a flint knife and circumcised her son. She touched his feet with the foreskin and said, “Now you are a bridegroom of blood to me.” (When she said “a bridegroom of blood,” she was referring to the circumcision.) After that, the Lord left him alone.
Exodus 4:24-26 NLT
There are some passages of scripture that seem obscure and make you wonder why God put that part of the story in the Bible. Today’s passage is one such example.
Moses has been called by God to return to Egypt and confront Pharaoh about letting the Israelites go. God’s call on sending Moses is tied to the people of Israel crying out to God for help and God remembering the covenant He made with Abraham. Moses has been gone from Egypt for 40 years and those who were in leadership when he killed the Egyptian are now dead.
Moses is a reluctant leader. He gives God several excuses as to why he shouldn’t be the one to lead the people out of slavery, but God doesn’t accept Moses’ excuses. So, Moses heads for Egypt with his wife and two sons. On the way they stop for the night and God confronts Moses and is about to kill him. This is the interesting part of the story.
We discover that Moses has neglected to circumcise one or both of his sons and this is the cause of God’s anger towards him. Circumcision was a sign that a man was a part of the covenant of Abraham. The law was clear that every male was to be circumcised on the eighth day. The scripture gives us no indication of why Moses had failed to perform this rite on his son.
What does happen is that Zipporah, Moses’ wife, realizes what is going on and does what Moses should have done. Her act of obedience satisfies the justice of God and spares Moses. Some scholars speculate that perhaps the reason Moses had not done the circumcision was because of Zipporah not wanting that to be done. That is speculation but it fits the story well.
What we do know is that at the outset God is letting it be known that obedience is crucial to fulfill God’s plan and destiny both for Moses and for the children of Israel. This lesson will be a hard one to learn. There will be several mistakes in the process.
We need to know that God cares about our obedience. Even though God has a plan for our lives and a destiny for us that will be a part of His divine plan, our obedience—or lack thereof—can mess up God’s work through us.
God honors obedience!
Holy Spirit please show me any areas of my life where I have compromised my obedience. Forgive me today. Show me what I need to do to get back on Your path for my destiny.
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