Moses recently pleaded to Jethro, his father-in-law, that he needed to travel back into Egypt to see if his kindred were still living. While on their long journey, they decided to camp out. The Lord met Moses that night and tried to kill him. Exodus 4:24-26 states, “On the way, at a place where they spent the night, the Lord met him and tried to kill him. But Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son’s foreskin, and touched Moses’ feet with it, and said, ‘Truly you are a bridegroom of blood to me!’ So he let him alone. It was then she said, ‘A bridegroom of blood by circumcision.”
At first glance, the context seems bizarre because just before their journey Moses and God had a very long discussion about his mission toward Pharaoh, and now God wants to kill him. You are possibly wondering what he had done to deserve a divine death penalty. The clue can be found in Genesis 17:10-11. “This is my covenant, which you shall keep between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you.”
Genesis 17:10 is a divine command from Yahweh to circumcise your sons, and in this case Moses’ son. Moses, being in haste to head back into Egypt, had rejected the circumcision of his son on their journey. Before they had left out of Midian, he did not take into account the importance of circumcision. Although it is unknown if Moses would have circumcised his son once they arrived into Egypt from Midian. Perhaps this was why God threatened to kill him.
Since Moses clearly disobeyed God’s divine command, the Lord approached Moses in a direct manner. God instructed Moses to fulfill His word, “hence circumcise your sons.” As stated in Exodus 4:25, Moses’ wife, Zipporah, took a flint, cut off her son’s foreskin, and touched her husband’s feet with it. This lesson explains how importantly the blood covers over transgressions. It made atonement for Moses’ sin.
Moses’ wife, Zipporah, acted as a mediator to protect her husband from certain death. Most importantly, she became a mediator between God and Moses. She protected the promises made by Yahweh to her husband. If God had killed Moses, then there would have been no successor to carry out His plan. As Christians, how can we apply this lesson into our lives? I believe we should always be attentive to the Shekinah Glory of God and always let our ears lean onto His voice. Paul desires us to use the lesson explained in Hebrews 3:15: “As it is said ‘Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” We can apply this in how we live our own lives according to the Bible. We should always follow His commandments and His voice. Some people follow their own ways and are hardened to God’s Shekinah Glory. Unfortunately, there are many in the church and in the pulpit today that do not listen to God’s voice. Sometimes they lie (whether it be to God or to man) to save face. We should not give God any reason for Him to take away our lives by our own rebellion if we should persist down our own earthly paths.
Acts Chapter 5 gives a clear true-life example of how Ananias and his wife, Sapphira, deliberately lied to Peter and to the Holy Spirit about the property they sold. They kept half or more of the proceeds that should have gone to Peter and his mission work. Therefore, God took there lives, and both dropped dead before Peter because of there rebellious hearts toward the Holy Spirit.
So how are we going to live our lives before our Master? In righteousness, or in our own rebellion?
Written by Michael Jones
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Thank you for sharing this article. I had read the Bible a number of times and never paid attention to this important covenant between God and Moses and realized the significance of what took place. Many times we miss what is important in the Bible because we do not understand or our eyes do not really pick on a particular meaning. Please continue to enlighten us with your knowledge which God allows you to use for our benefit.