That Doesn't Apply to Me

“Where do I begin?” That is a frequent question from one who, knowing that God desires him to seek Him through His inspired word, resolves to embark upon a study which will enlighten him so as to understand God, His nature, and His will for us. Often one will find difficult passages which seem to contradict the nature of our Creator, and wonder, “Why did God intend to do this or that?” One such passage is that of Exodus 4:24, where it is stated “that the LORD met him, and sought to kill him,” speaking of Moses. I have even heard one declare defiantly that he had found a passage that completely obliterates the notion that God is a loving, kind, and good God at all! He claimed that not one of the religious men he had asked had a satisfactory answer for him. Well, had he but read a little bit further, then the scriptures would supply the answer to his “discovery.”

The introduction to set the stage is as follows:

Ex 4:18 And Moses went and returned to Jethro his father in law, and said unto him, Let me go, I pray thee, and return unto my brethren which are in Egypt, and see whether they be yet alive. And Jethro said to Moses, Go in peace. 19 And the LORD said unto Moses in Midian, Go, return into Egypt: for all the men are dead which sought thy life. 20 And Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them upon an ass, and he returned to the land of Egypt: and Moses took the rod of God in his hand. 21 And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go. 22 And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn: 23 And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn.

Here Moses gets the approval from his father-in-law, Jethro, to return to Egypt. After receiving Jethro's blessing to depart from his obligations to him, God reminds Moses of his task: how he would approach Pharaoh, and how Pharaoh would reject him. Eventually God would bring the tenth plague upon Egypt so that even Pharaoh's son would be slain. But an interesting turn happens on his way to Egypt: God determines to kill Moses, whom He has commissioned to confront Pharaoh so that all of Israel would be set free from their rigorous servitude.

Ex 4:24 And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him, and sought to kill him.

Why was it that God wanted to kill Moses? Was this diametrically in opposition to God's patience and kindness; was this a “kink in the shiny armor” of God's perfect nature? The answer is found in the ensuing two verses.

Ex 4:25 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. 26 So he let him go: then she said, A bloody husband thou art, because of the circumcision.

The Bible student learns that only after Zipporah had circumcised their son, Eliezer, did God let Moses go. Moses' marriage to Zipporah was a union of different customs and cultures. That God required all males to be circumcised as a token of their covenant relationship, which had been commanded to Abraham and all of his descendants (Gen. 17:9-14), could have been a point of contention which Zipporah's Midianitish culture may not have understood. Regardless, Zipporah's circumcising their younger son saved Moses from death. Zipporah expressed her discontent with circumcision by casting the tissue at Moses' feet, reproachfully declaring “A bloody husband art thou to me” (or a bridegroom of blood). Note the clarification in verse 26, “because of the circumcision,” the reason for her exclamation.

Moses was disobedient to the commandment of God by neglecting to circumcise his younger son. This left Eliezer without that covenant relation with God. God, having given Moses a most important task to perform, required Moses to be in obedience in all points, not just those things which were convenient. In the book of James there is taught a very important principle:

James 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. 11 For he that said Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.

So, it was with Moses that, his being God's servant, would be required to keep all of God's commandments thus far given, and could not be negligent in one, even as seemingly insignificant as that of circumcision of his own son. Remember Nadab and Abihu (Lev. 10:1-3), and Uzzah (2 Sam. 6:1-7). There were and are matters which God will not compromise. In fact, today there is no excuse; God no longer allows for ignorance.

Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent:

Those who would serve the Lord, let them do so without hypocrisy or deceit. Who would deceive himself in thinking he can fool God?

Gal 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

We all must understand that, although God is very patient, He is still the God of this universe. He deserves the reverence and respect of us all. His desire is to save us, not kill us;

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

We should always be aware of the goodness and severity of God.

Rom 11:20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: 21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. 22 Behold, therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.

Moses was about to be a recipient of God's severity; but, because of Zipporah's actions Moses received God's goodness, instead. We are admonished not merely to casually look at, but to peer into, investigate, and give diligence at understanding the goodness and severity of God.

How many folks think that, after they have obtained salvation by doing those things which are required (hear the word of God, believe, confess Jesus as the Son of God, repent, and be baptized for the remission of sins), God will require nothing else? Why does one continue in the way he always has, neglecting to live a life to which God calls him, not forsaking that previous manner of life of sin?

Rom 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Those who profess to be Christians cannot carry the attitude that “That doesn't apply to me.” The Christian is better than that: he shows his love for Christ in his obedience to his commands (John 14:15; 15:10).

Curtis A. Little, Royse City, TX

Curtis A. Little
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