Athlete, Do Not Charge

Read Exodus 4:18-31

Many people consider this passage to be one of the most perplexing in all of Scripture.  Moses’ wife, Zipporah, performs an emergency circumcision on her son in order to save Moses’ life (or possibly his son’s life)?  God was going to take his life?  Yes, this is what the passage says.  

Most scholars believe that Zipporah’s people, the Midianites, practiced circumcision.  This makes sense considering that they descended from Abraham after he had received the sign of circumcision, the sign of God’s covenant promises (Genesis 25:1-2).  Circumcision signified: 1) in its bloodiness, the judgment of death that comes through sin; 2) in its anatomical location, the promised “seed” who would bear our sins and bring God’s blessing to the nations; and 3) in its lasting mark, separation unto God.  Given that the Midianites were polytheistic, the true meaning of circumcision was likely lost on most of them, but it should not have been lost on Moses.

Just as we see an abundance of miracles marking significant turning points in God’s plan of redemption (e.g. 4:29-31), we also see an acuteness in the judgment of God at these turning points (cf. Joshua 7; Acts 5).   Moses’ call is one of those turning points, but he is about to go into battle without a shield.  Circumcision pointed ahead to the blood of Jesus, which covers our sin.  By neglecting the sign of circumcision in his household, Moses was recklessly charging into battle without cover.  The Egyptians would soon lose their sons precisely because they were not covered by the blood of the Passover lamb, also a sign and symbol of Christ.  How could Moses go and call Israel to find cover under the blood of the sacrificial lamb when he himself was neglecting the sign of faith in the coming Lamb of God?

Zipporah, a Midianite, is an unlikely hero in this story as she leads Moses, the Israelite, to find cover in the blood of the coming Messiah.  We do not know exactly what to make of her words.  Is she angry at Moses for getting her into this religious mess?  Does she have a righteous anger over Moses’ neglect?  We hope for the latter, but either way, she stands in the gap with the blood of circumcision, the blood of Christ.  

Questions for Reflection and Prayer

1. Moses learns an important lesson in this passage.  Do not charge into battle for God’s kingdom carelessly or pridefully, no matter how certain is God’s call.  We go must go humbly and we must not neglect our own need for Christ, knowing that it is only by the shed blood of Christ that we ourselves are saved.  As you seek to do things for God, are you caring for your own soul?  Are you finding cover in the blood of Christ?
2. Moses also learns to not neglect the faith of his family.  As you seek to do things for God, which may be very good things, are you neglecting the faith of your family, whom you are called to care for first?

No Comments





no categories


no tags