Love In The Desert Series
Contributed by Jeff Strite on Jun 1, 2008 (message contributor)
Summary: Why would God seek to kill Moses? And why does Zipporah have to circumcize her boy to stop God from doing it?
OPEN: Jeffrey Sackett once observed:
Think of how often in scripture it is the woman who is the vehicle for ministry.
· Who prompted Jesus to perform His first miracle? A Woman! (His mother)
· Who ministered to Christ during His public ministry? The women!
· Who anointed Jesus’ feet? The women! (One a prostitute/ another Mary/sister of Martha)
· Who stayed with Jesus throughout his trial and crucifixion? The women!
· Who were the first witnesses to the resurrected Savior? The women!
· Who makes up the majority of the population of most churches today? The women!
One person has observed that women are more naturally religious than men. They tend to understand the need for God more readily. And they are often touched by the emotional appeal of Jesus easier than men are.
Because of their potential for faith, women often serve as the backbone of many churches and ministries. And they have the potential to develop their husbands and sons into great leaders.
Men may be called to positions of leadership in the church but without Godly women beside them… they’re not going to get much done.
This morning we’re being introduced to a woman named Zipporah, the wife of Moses.
And from I’ve read out of Scripture, I believe that Zipporah deeply loved her husband
And deeply loved her children
She’d been married to Moses for about 40 years
And she’s born him two sons – Gershom and Eliezer
In fact - Exodus 2:22 tells us that not long after their marriage “Zipporah gave birth to a son, and Moses named him Gershom (Gershom mean “alien”), saying, ‘I have become an alien in a foreign land.’”
But now, their 2nd son - Eliezer seems to be a different story.
He seems to have been born around the time when God met Moses on the Mountain, because his name doesn’t reflect Moses’ isolation in exile but rather his new found encouragement in God.
Eliezer means “God is my helper”
Zipporah and Moses have herded her father’s sheep for about 40 years, and they’ve had a fairly peaceful, uneventful existence all that time. But then Moses comes home and tells her that he’s just talked to God at a burning bush. God has told him that he is to go down into Egypt and tell Pharaoh – “Let my people go!”
And all of a sudden - life becomes dramatically different.
Now, Zipporah believes in God.
Her father – Jethro – is a priest of God in Midian (the same God that just talked to Moses)
And I’m suspecting that she’s a pleased as punch that her husband has received a promotion. He is now going to work for this great and powerful God her father serves.
I think she excited!!
I can see her pack up their belongings, get the boys ready to travel…and get the family on the road.
But they don’t get too far down the road when this event we read about in Exodus 4 takes place. And this is perhaps one of the most confusing stories in all Scripture.
Let’s revue the story as it’s found in Scripture:
1. God sends Moses down to Egypt to free Israel
2. He’s on his way with his wife and kids when God tries to kill him
3. Zipporah pulls out a knife and circumcises her boy
4. Then she puts the foreskin on Moses’ feet and declares: “You are a bridegroom of blood to me”
5. At which point God leaves Moses alone
And that’s it!
The Bible doesn’t tell anything else.
There’s no explanation, no other insights. That’s it.
Now does that make ANY sense?
No, it doesn’t… until you read a little between the lines.
You see, circumcision was the mark of the Covenant God had with Israel. It started all the way back with Abraham. In Genesis 17:10-12 God says to Abraham:
"This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner-- those who are not your offspring.”
So God had commanded that every Israelite had to circumcise their boys.
But obviously - one of Zipporah’s boys has not circumcised
Most likely – it’s Eliezer.
Now, why hasn’t he been circumcised?
Well, I can guess. Now understand, I’m speculating here, but from what I know of people this scenario makes sense.
· I believe Gershom had already been circumcised when he was born.
· Gershom’s circumcision would probably have been a new experience for Zipporah. She’s been raised in an different culture than the one God established for Israel.