Sunday, January 27, 2013

When God Seeks to Kill You

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Sunday, January 27, 2013:  Exodus 4:1-5:21

24 And it came to pass on the way, at the encampment, that the Lord met him and sought to kill him. 25 Then Zipporah took a sharp stone and cut off the foreskin of her son and cast it at Moses’ feet, and said, “Surely you are a husband of blood to me!” 26 So He let him go. Then she said, “You are a husband of blood!”—because of the circumcision.  Exodus 4:24-26 (NKJV)

Moses met God at the burning bush.  He was commissioned to bring the children of Israel out of their bondage in Egypt.  He had spent 40 years in the wilderness, and now he was to return to his birthplace, his family, his rightful place in the plan of God.  During those forty years of waiting, Moses had married and begun a family.  Now he loaded up his wife, Zipporah, and his son, Gershom, and set out for Egypt.  

It is shocking to find that at the very first over-night stop along the way, God showed up and sought to kill His main man - His commissioned sevant!  GOD TRIED TO KILL MOSES!  That's what the Scripture says.  At first look, this simply does not compute.  But, let's look closer.  

We do not have all the details of this divine encounter, but it appears to be like this:  God (probably in the form of the Angel of the Lord) had Moses pinned on the ground.  Without a word, Zipporah immediately grabs a sharp stone and circumcises their son, Gershom.  It appears that this act solves the dilemma, and the Angel/Lord backs off.  Zipporah is angry about all this.  She throws the foreskin of her son at Moses feet and shouts, "You are a husband of blood!" at Moses.  

There are at least two observations we can make about this story.

1.  CIRCUMCISION.  This rite was a part of covenant life for the descendants of Abraham.  It was the seal of the covenant.  In the Old Testament, it was the outward sign that signified legitimate faith. All male Israelites were REQUIRED to be circumcised.  But, Moses own son had not been circumcised.. Moses was setting out to lead the people of God when he had not even led his own family into the foundations of covenant life.  

2.  MARITAL AGREEMENT.  It is obvious that Moses and Zipporah had been in serious disagreement about this circumcision thing.  Because Moses had not already resolved this empasse, God intervened to force a solution.   

Two leadership lessons:

1.  YOU CAN'T LEAD PEOPLE TO A PLACE YOU ARE NOT LIVING IN YOUR OWN LIFE.  God will stop you.  Like the parson in Canterbury Tales, we must first "practice what we preach."  This does not mean that a man or woman cannot seve God until they are perfect.  It does mean that we must ask God to help us obey Him fully as we seek to lead others into obedience.  

2.  DISCORD IN MARRIAGE MUST BE RESOLVED.  Many a leader has found himself stalemated in ministry because of disunity at home.  Amos 3:3 says, "How can two walk together unles the be agreed?"  Obviously, this does not mean that there can be no discord of any kind. That would be impossible.  But, there must be fundamental agreement about direction.  

God considered these two principles to be important enough to abort the whole mission if they were not in place.  It is a wise thing for each of us to pray, "God, help me live it, so I can led it."  That applies to every are of life:  marriage, family, work, church, everything.

God really doesn't want to kill you.  He wants to bless you and make you a blessing.  And, He can be ruthless in bringing that about.

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