Friday, January 19, 2007

Moses, Moses, Moses

How cool is the story of Moses? He beat the odds from the very beginning by being born to a very creative and brave mom. But when the going got tough, Moses got Midian, that is. God kept his hand on his chosen one, however, and revealed his plans to one stubborn, stuttering dude. For every protest Moses offered God about why he couldn't possibly do what he was asked, God had an answer for it...

Moses: Who am I to lead the Israelites? I'm nobody.
God: I'll be with you.
Moses: What if they don't believe me or listen to me?
God: I'll do miraculous signs through you.
Moses: But I'm slow of speech and tongue.
God: I made that mouth; I'll help you use it.
Moses: Please send someone else...

At this point (Ex. 4:14), Moses had pushed even Almighty God to the limit. In fact, my NIV says, "Then the Lord's anger burned against Moses" (emphasis mine). But he still provided help in the form of brother and spokesman Aaron.

So in the big picture, things looked like they were humming along...the plan was revealed, Moses was finally on board now with the promise of Aaron joining in, and as they traveled, God was sharing what would happen when they got back to Egypt. Then the story takes a very interesting turn:

Ex. 4:24--26, NLT: "On the journey, when Moses and his family had stopped for the night, the Lord confronted Moses and was about to kill him..." (What?! Kill him?! This was the guy hand-picked to deliver the Israelites! This really threw me for a loop.) "...But Zipporah, his wife, took a flint knife and circumcised her son. She threw the foreskin at Moses' feet and said, 'What a blood-smeared bridegroom you are to me!'...After that, the Lord left him alone."

Was God still angry with Moses for arguing? Was there something else that wasn't mentioned? In confusion, I consulted my NIV study Bible to see what explanation it offered about this bizarre scenario. It states: Sensing that divine displeasure had threatened Moses' life, she quickly performed the circumcision on her young son...Circumcision may have been repulsive to her. (The "may" there cracks me up--Ya think?!) An interesting side note is that "feet" was probably a euphemism for "genitals"--Zipporah really wanted Moses to understand how angry she was that she had to do his work for him!

Moses had neglected to circumcise his own son, disobeying THE benchmark covenant that began with Abraham. Good thing Zipporah stepped up! So what's the application here? Even though God has chosen you specifically to further His divine plan, you'll still be held accountable for disobedience. (The bonus lesson: choose a responsible spouse!) :-)

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