Saturday, January 19, 2008

Zipporah threw what?

If you are visiting my blog through Lysa Terkeurst's writing contest, welcome (my entry, "Our Pet Rock" is below)! I have been so blessed by reading all the articles posted. It is amazing to see the way that God has worked in so many lives and how he has equipped so many to share their stories!

I also wanted to share with you the website of my sister Kathryn Wells and her friend Traci Alexander. They are involved in a new ministry called Trumpet and Torch, and God is doing amazing things with it. They have made several presentations in the Virginia area in the past few weeks. Their website is You can read their testimonies if you click on "On Fire for Christ" at the bottom of the page, and there will be more information on the site by the beginning of February (in time for Lent).

Last year I read through the Bible in one year following Dr. Charles Stanley's Early Light Devotionals. They are available online and in the free In Touch magazine here
I was blessed by this reading in 2007 and am undertaking it in 2008. This past week I began reading in Exodus and was enjoying (although somewhat complacently) the familiar story of Moses and the burning bush and the excuses he offered to God and how God shot down every one. As I read about Moses' return to Egypt, verses, which I surely had read before but apparently not studied, jumped out at me.
At a lodging place along 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. (At that time she said, "bridegroom of blood," referring to circumcision. Exodus 4:24-26 (NIV)
What a change! Moses had finally agreed to God's plan, and now God was trying to kill him? What was this all about? What in the world was Zipporah doing to her son?
The note in my study Bible explained that Moses had been disobedient in God's command to circumcise his son, perhaps because Zipporah was unwilling to have the ritual take place. God then punished Moses to the point of death at which Zipporah intervened by performing the circumcision herself. Moses certainly encountered an important object lesson in obeying God's commands, one which served him well as he led the Israelites around the wilderness for forty years. What, however, did Zipporah learn?
Let's look at Zipporah's reaction to this experience. Her words to Moses that he is a "bridegroom of blood to her" reveal dissatisfaction with Moses. There is a hint of bitterness in her words, as well. Also, as I reread this passage in my other Bible, the New American Standard version, it states that she "threw" the foreskin at Moses' feet. This translation certainly suggests that she blames Moses for this whole mess. Zipporah's reaction to this event shows that she is ungracefully giving in to the circumcision.
It seems to me that from the time that God gave Moses the command to circumcise his son, Zipporah was sqeamish about having her child "maimed" in this way and adamant that it would not occur. I imagine Moses bringing up the topic only to have Zipporah say, "Oh, no! I may marry a fugitive who has committed murder. I may follow him back to the country from which he fled on a "fool's errand" to free thousands upon thousands from a cruel ruler, but I draw the line at cutting my son in a very sensitive place!" Zipporah could have benefited from the advice to submit to one's husband. Had she done so, her husband's life would not have been in danger, and she might have been permitted to travel with him on his famous mission (My study note also suggests that it is at this time that Zipporah returned to Midian as she did not arrive in Egypt with Moses).
Are there times that we act like Zipporah? Do we respond to our husbands with stubborn opposition? Do we allow them to truly be the spiritual leader of our home, or do we stubbornly return "home" to our own customs and ideas?


Van said...

You are a great Bible teacher! Have you considered writing an e-book?

Laura said...

Thank you for that fresh perspective on an old familiar story! I just love it when God does that! He takes a story that I have heard from childhood (therefore my fleshly self thinks there is nothing new to learn from it) and puts a big exclamation point around a much looked over portion. Lovely!

Christine said...

This is a story that's great to hear! Reminders to not be going my own way all the time are always needed!

Thanks for stopping by! I wanted to let you know about a new free online homeschool magazine at Heart of the Matter. It has a lot more homeschooling stuff that my blog! Have a blessed week!