At a lodging place on the way, the Lord met Moses and was about to kill him. But Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son’s foreskin and touched Moses’ feet with it. “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me,” she said. So the Lord let him alone. (Exodus 4:24-26)
There’s a reason you’ve likely never heard it discussed – it’s bizarre! However, there’s a valuable lesson within its wackiness if we’ll sort through the weeds a bit.
This passage follows Moses’ recent encounter with God at the burning bush. In obedience, Moses rounded up his wife (Zipporah) and sons, and headed down to Egypt to free the Hebrews. But a strange thing happened along the way.
Commentators are divided on exactly what that strange thing was. Some say God sent an illness which threatened to end Moses’ life. Others say an angel appeared to Moses threatening to kill him. Either way, we know God was angry because Moses had neglected to circumcise his sons.
While one obvious lesson from this encounter is that God doesn’t overlook our disobedience – there are consequences. The less obvious, yet equally true, lesson is that it was the spouse of the neglectful one who first spotted the problem. Circumcision was a covenant between God and Israel (Genesis 17). Moses was a Hebrew; his wife was not. Yet Zipporah was the one who detected the problem in their family, and she was the one to take action to correct it.
My point today is not that women are more spiritually-sensitive than men (although I probably wouldn’t argue that too much), but that we all need to remain open to the spiritual counsel of those closest to us – especially our spouse. They often see our blind spots before we do.
Feeling brave? Ask someone close to you if they see the need for spiritual growth in any area of your life – then humbly listen to their response. You’ll likely learn something. Who knows, it may even save your life! –Dave
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