Summary: Why did God nearly kill Moses on the road to Egypt and what can that mean for us?
OPENING: It seems that, down south, some recent excavations for a new high-way had contributed to causing a flash flood. Volunteers risked their lives to rescue victims stranded in the deluge. One old man was up to his knees in the rising waters when a rowboat came. "Hop in, we’ll save you!"
"No thanks, the Lord will provide."
A short while later, a motor boat was sent to save him. By this time the swirling waters were over his waist, but again he declined: "No thanks, the Lord will provide."
Soon the water was up to his chin, so a helicopter was dispatched at the last minute. "Climb aboard, this is your last chance!"
"Thanks anyway, but I don’t need you, the Lord will provide."
Before the helicopter returned home, the old man was mad as a hornet, banging on the Pearly Gates. He bitterly complained to St. Peter, "I prayed & I prayed for you to help me, so why did you let me drown?"
St. Peter looked at him, shook his head, and explained: "Good grief, we sent you two boats and a helicopter. What more do you want?"
APPLICATION: How many of you want to do the will of God? Ephesians 2:10 tells us "We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works that He prepared in advance for us to do." That means that God has tasks designed specifically for you and I to do. He has a will for your life and mine. But in spite of the fact that God does have a definite "will" for our lives, we can run into obstacles that will make our obedience difficult unless we decide otherwise.
The story here of Moses and Zipporah hints at three basic obstacles that can cause us to stumble when it comes to obeying God’s will for our lives
Reread Ex. 4:19-26 again. Notice it was God’s will that Moses go to Egypt. And yet, while Moses was on his way to fulfill God’s will, we find "at a lodging place on the way, the LORD met [Moses] and was about to kill him" (Ex 4:24).
The LORD "was about to kill him?" Interesting.
How was Moses life spared? Zipporah circumcises their son... OK
Now, notice Zipporah’s attitude. Is she happy? I’m not sure, but it doesn’t look like it. When she declares "Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me" (4:25), it’s almost like a derogatory comment from her lips.
This obscure story from Moses’ life can be confusing unless we consider some of the facts involved:
In Genesis 17:9-14 we’re told that God required Abraham to circumcise his family as a sign of the covenant:
"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." (Gen 17:10-12)
Now, centuries later, Moses comes onto the scene. As we find him now, Moses has been living in exile in the desert for 40 years. While there he has 2 sons by his wife Zipporah: Gershom (which means "Alien") and Eliezer (meaning "God is my helper"). Gershom appears to have been the eldest and was likely born while Moses was feeling alienated from his people and his home in Egypt. But Eliezer’s name may indicate that he was born about time Moses met God at the burning bush.
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, perhaps several years before the incident we’re studying in Exodus 4. Gershom’s circumcision would probably have been a new experience for Zipporah - a woman who was raised in an entirely different culture than the one God established for Israel. I can imagine that when Zipporah saw Gershom’s circumcision, she was appalled and disgusted - too much blood and screaming from her baby. You can visualize her saying "Moses, I love you, but you are NOT going to do this to any of our other children." Thus, later when Eliezer is born, mamma puts her foot down. No blade of flint would perform that ceremony on this child!
(For substantiation, consider that Moses had 2 children, but only one was circumcised by Zipporah at the place of lodging AND that it was the circumcision of this child that solved the crisis).
I. If this is true, this would typify the 1st OBSTACLE man can have in obeying God’s will - a wife with her own agenda.