In this series we’re going to take a hard look at this decision we sometimes make to have a self-righteous, sort of “snarky attitude” when dealing with our friends, coworkers, husbands, relatives, etc., especially when we don’t think they are up to par as regards Biblical/Spiritual knowledge.
Let’s begin in Exodus 4:24. Moses and his family are on their way to Egypt to speak with Pharaoh:
24 At a lodging place on the way, the Lord met Moses and was about to kill him. 25 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. 26 So the Lord let him alone. (At that time she said “bridegroom of blood,” referring to circumcision.) Exodus 4:24-26 niv 2011
Apparently, Moses has chosen not to circumcise his young son. Now, by this time, circumcision had been a covenantal sign between God and His people since He made the covenant with Abraham. And Moses is going to be a deliverer – a leader among the Israelites – and yet he’s decided to neglect this very important covenant. God is so angry with Moses’ disobedience in the matter that He is about to kill him.
Zipporah, Moses’ wife, knows God and His ways – her own father was the priest of Midian and in his actions we can see that he worshiped the true God. (See Exodus 18:12). So when Moses’ life is threatened by God because of his disobedience, she wastes no time. There’s no hesitation in this woman as she saves her husband’s life.
But she’s furious with Moses.
Zipporah does the ‘righteous’ thing here, make no mistake about that. But her words are cruel and disheartening. And while there are two veins of theology on this bizarre Biblical account, we’re only going to focus on the one that pertains to this study.
These harsh words of Zipporah could be the result of a prior agreement between her and her husband. She obviously hated circumcision, which could be why the child wasn’t circumcised in the first place. Perhaps she didn’t want to have anything to do with the painful, bloody ordeal. (I cannot imagine performing circumcision on my own baby boy.) Moses must have acquiesced because the child is uncircumcised until they get to this lodging place along the way.
“You are a bridegroom of blood to me” is a swipe at the very character of Moses. Let me put her words a little differently to help you better understand: I regret that I married you because now I’ll have to draw blood on my own babies – seeing as how you’re too weak to do it yourself.
She throws the truth of what’s transpired back at her husband and he cannot argue.
Unfortunately, Zipporah is like a Pharisee at this point – a very “righteous” bully. Think of it, God is poised ready to kill her husband, but it’s more important for Zipporah to be “righteous,” than to be kind.
It’s an ugly scenario, but I see it over and over again, and not only within marriages, but friendships and family relationships as well.
Jesus gave us a new command to “love one another, as I have loved you.” John 13:34 niv 1984.
There is so much wound up in that little word: love.
The apostle Paul devoted an entire chapter to the subject of love in his letter to the church at Corinth, and it just happens to be sandwiched right between the chapter on gifts of the spirit, and the chapter dedicated to the show-offs with the gift of tongues. To really appreciate what was going on at Corinth, read 1st Corinthians 12-14. You’ll see some folks with a particular gift lording it over those who didn’t have it. They were, unquestionably, right in that they could speak in tongues and others could not. They loved standing in the public congregation in their “righteousness” praying in these tongues, but without an interpreter no one could understand what they were saying! They must have thought they were so awesome, and no one could argue with them because it was a well-known fact that God used the gift of tongues to minister to unbelievers. But Paul fires back, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” 1st Corinthians 13:1 niv 1984
Zipporah is like a clanging cymbal when she reminds her husband, “You bridegroom of blood.” Like the gifted folks in Corinth, Zipporah thinks she’s got Moses trapped into silence. Even though she’s right on a certain point (the kids will have to be circumcised because it’s what they believe), she lacks the love and kindness God requires in our dealings with one another. Please understand, Zipporah’s actions were righteous, but her delivery was anything but lovely.
And before you get to feeling too sorry for Moses here, there’s something I want you to see in this guy.
From Exodus 2 11 One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. 12 Looking this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. Exodus 2:11-12 niv 2011
Moses had a deep sense of right and wrong, but without Godly discipline his delivery of that righteousness was anything but kind. I think it’s safe to assume here that his feelings toward this Egyptian were righteous – up to a point. What’s not justified here is Moses’ delivery. He lacks self-control and kindness, and he kills a man.
Moses and his wife are two peas in a pod. I have often wondered if Zipporah would have killed Moses herself that night if the Lord God hadn’t been there.
Moses’ deep sense of right and wrong is what attracted Zipporah to her husband in the first place. Continuing at Exodus 2:13:
13 The next day he went out and saw two Hebrews fighting. He asked the one in the wrong, “Why are you hitting your fellow Hebrew?”
14 The man said, “Who made you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid and thought, “What I did must have become known.”
15 When Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian, where he sat down by a well. 16 Now a priest of Midian had seven daughters, and they came to draw water and fill the troughs to water their father’s flock. 17 Some shepherds came along and drove them away, but Moses got up and came to their rescue and watered their flock. Exodus 2:13-17 niv 2011
Moses instantly sees the injustice of how these bully shepherds come along and drive off these hardworking ladies. He rises to the occasion and he rescues them. Not only that, but he does their work for them: verse 17,[he] came to their rescue and watered their flock.
You can’t tell me that wouldn’t turn a girl’s head.
So what happened to these two people between the dramatic rescue and you bridegroom of blood?
We’ll look deeper into the matter next week!
© 2017, Ta`Mara Hanscom
If you’re interested in my fiction, please visit my website at www.TaMaraHanscomBooks.com for a free download of the first 4 chapters of The Pretender.