Living By Faith
And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him, and sought to kill him. Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me. So he let him go: then she said, A bloody husband thou art, because of the circumcision.
Last lesson, we began looking at Exodus 4:24-26. We said that we would divide the study into two parts. In part one, we said that we would make three observations from the text. We completed the first one, noting that the Lord sought to kill Moses (vs.24). The context (vs. 22-23) revealed the hypocrisy of Moses. He was going to Egypt with a message for Pharaoh that Israel was God’s son and God would slay Pharaoh’s first born if he did not let them go. Yet, Moses had not completed the requirement of the Abrahamic covenant that he circumcise his own son (Exodus 17:9-14). Therefore, his son was excluded from Israel. He failed to practice personal separation. So, God was ready to slay him.
If God would kill Moses for shirking his responsibility to be consistent in his testimony, what do you think He will do to us? God expects us to live holy, righteous, and godly lives before this world.
Part One—Three Observations Continued:
II.) His wife had to do his job for him (vs. 25)
The second observation is that the wife of Moses had to do his job for him. The text says that Zipporah took a sharp stone and cut off the foreskin of her son. As spiritual head of the home, this task belonged rightfully to Moses. But he shirked the responsibility.
God was ready to kill Moses, because he failed his duty to his family. Men need to understand that God holds us accountable for the spiritual leadership in our home. We set the standard and determine whether our home will serve God or not (Joshua 24:15). If we fail in that duty, God will judge us severely.
Unfortunately, this is all too common today. We suffer from a shortage of godly men. Too often men leave this to women. Thank God for godly women! If it were not for godly women the church would have died out long ago, but we still need godly men.
Illustration: Many years ago, our daughter, Amie, made a little paper doll for her mother. On it, she wrote an inscription that said, “World’s greatest mom.” Later, she made another doll for me labeled, “World’s greatest dad.” What impressed me the most, was the Bible she put in the hand of the doll. I was not a pastor or missionary. I was a deacon and Sunday School teacher with no plans for full-time service, but my child saw me with a Bible in my hand.
Now suppose that your child were to make a doll for you. What would most impress them about you? What imprint are you stamping in the mind of others? Are you seen as a hypocrite who puts on one face at church and another at home? How are you viewed by those around you?
Observe that as soon as Zipporah did the deed, God spared his life (vs. 26) Ladies, your husband may not be the spiritual leader that he should be, but that does not excuse you. Sometimes you must take up the sword of God’s Word to do what your husband should have done. If you do this in the right spirit, it can reach that stubborn man in your life. It can save his life and perhaps even his soul (I Peter 3:1-6).
III.) Zipporah resented doing the job (vs. 26).
The third observation we make is that Zipporah did the deed, but resented doing it. Her spirit was not right. She was very angry and demonstrated that by casting the foreskin as his feet (vs. 25) and by twice calling him a bloody husband. She was not at all happy and was not doing all to the glory of God (I Corinthians 10:31)
Ladies, did you ever resent having to do something for your husband that he should have done. If so, you can identify with Zipporah. Perhaps, you responded as she did. Perhaps, you were angry and upset. Perhaps you did the job, and say, “See, I did it.” Simply doing the job is not sufficient. Zipporah did the job, but allowed two sin problems to develop in her life with disastrous consequences.
Zipporah resented having to do this job. Instead of “doing all to the glory of God, she angrily did it. That attitude unconfessed can lead to an even bigger problem called bitterness (Hebrews 12:15). Ultimately, it will destroy relationships Keep in mind that Zipporah began the journey to Egypt, but after this, we do not read about her again until Exodus 18.
Scripture: Exodus 18:2-6
Then Jethro, Moses' father in law, took Zipporah, Moses' wife, after he had sent her back, And her two sons; of which the name of the one was Gershom; for he said, I have been an alien in a strange land: And the name of the other was Eliezer; for the God of my father, said he, was mine help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh: And Jethro, Moses' father in law, came with his sons and his wife unto Moses into the wilderness, where he encamped at the mount of God: And he said unto Moses, I thy father in law Jethro am come unto thee, and thy wife, and her two sons with her.
Do you see what happened? Her resentment led to separation.
Resentment is the underlying problem, but self-assertiveness is the manifestation. This is merely another sin problem that is highly advocated by modern psychology—even sometimes so-called Christian psychology. They tell us that we need more self-love and high self-esteem. They say that we need to be self-assertive. The problem in all of this is self. The Bible says that we need to die to self (Galatians 2:20).
Zipporah asserted herself. She cast the foreskin at his feet and gave him a piece of her mind. What did it get her? It got her a broken home.
Illustration: As a child, I was encouraged to assert myself. I was about a head taller than my best friend, but my parents thought he was walking all over me. He was actually about a year older and I was content to let him take the lead. My parents, who were not saved at the time, were not. So, they insisted I assert myself. One day, I did. In the ensuing exchange, my friend end up with a bloody nose, and I, a bloody mouth.
What did asserting myself accomplish? Before, we were both happy. Afterwards, we were both crying. Friends, the most miserable people that I have known were the most assertive.
Scripture: Proverbs 15:1
Notice that grievous words stir up anger. That is exactly what happened to Zipporah. She stirred up Moses anger, and he sent her home. No matter how macho we think we are, there is always someone who is bigger, meaner, tougher, nastier, etc. than we are.
Illustration: The psychologists and psychiatrists tell us to assert ourselves. Years ago, my neighbor was a psychiatrist at the time self-assertiveness became the popular fad with psychiatrists. We were trying to complete our first house and subbed some of the work to a contractor who turned out to be not very good. My neighbor use the same contractor as well. Sadly, I got caught in the middle of a dispute between them. One night, the shrink called and began to assert himself. That is not a good thing to do with an ex-marine. I very quickly put him in his place and then spent 45 minutes counseling him on how to deal with people in a proper biblical fashion.
Peter was a rough, tough, old fisherman who was noted for asserting himself. Whether it be whacking off someone’s ear with a sword (John 18:10) or blurting out something foolish on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:4-5), he constantly asserted himself until God humbled him. Eventually, he was used by God to write I and II Peter.
In his first epistle, Peter revealed that he learned the lesson well. The letter deals with four real life situations where it would be easy to assert ourselves:
1.) Citizen under a persecuting government (I Peter 2:13-17)
2.) Slave under a persecuting master (I Peter 2:18-25)
3.) Wife under a persecuting husband (I Peter 3:1-7)
4.) Church member under a persecuting pastor (I Peter 5:1-7)
—In each predicament, Peter counsels the same. We are to cast our care upon Christ (I Peter 5:7). Instead of self-assertiveness, we need Christ-assertiveness.
Scripture: I Peter 3:7
Wives, the proper way to handle a husband who shirks his responsibility is to understand that his prayers are hindered by his failure to render proper honor to you. At that point, if you keep sin out of your life, you can take your problem to God. He will deal with it. My wife knows this to be true. She has taken me to the Lord on occasion and somehow, I have come around to her way of thinking.
Moses by shirking his responsibility failed his wife and family. His poor leadership opened the door to sin and shut the door on relationship. By the same token he brought judgment from God upon himself. God holds men accountable for the home. Zipporah by doing his job saved his life and helped her family, but her resentment and self-assertiveness, effectively, undid any good that she accomplished. Instead of letting God deal with her husband (I Peter 3:7), she let him have a piece of her mind. In the end, she was just as guilty as he, and the family suffered terribly.