I’ve been doing a lot of research and writing for my upcoming book. Along the way, I have become a bit fascinated with this scriptural tidbit from Exodus 4:24-26:
At a lodging place on the way the Lord met him and sought to put him to death. Then Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son’s foreskin and touched Moses’ feet with it and said, “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me!” So he let him alone. It was then that she said, “A bridegroom of blood,” because of the circumcision.
Was this just a small 3-verse occurrence, or was it a life-shaping event? Let’s think about YOU for a moment. If you were fully aware that the God of the universe had little ole you in His cross-hairs, and was deliberately taking aim at you, do you think you would be traumatized? This wasn’t some New York Minute event. I tend to believe that it happened for a period of days.
How would you KNOW God was “seeking to kill you”? Let’s think about this seriously. It had to be alarming to be made aware of this as an undeniable fact. If you or I had just been chosen by God to do a great task, wouldn’t we have doubts that God was now seeking to kill us? Something of a traumatic and alarming nature was occurring that would cause all doubt to leave the mind. Moses knew that God was in the process of killing Him. He wasn’t guessing. He knew it. He actually experienced a very non-pleasant confrontation “The Lord met him” followed with deathly results “sought to put him to death”. I’m not sure that I would ever want to meet God again…unless it was to experience His grace. Thank God for grace.
What was happening? No one really knows but there are some interesting and disquieting opinions. The 1599 Geneva Study Bible believes that God struck Moses with a deadly illness. Although probable, it raises a lot of other issues. On another front, Jewish Rabbinical teachings suggest that Moses was being singed by two fiery angels of God called Af and Chemah or Hemah . Interesting to me: In the Bible, the Hebrew words Af and Chemah (Anger and Fury) are used together when describing the highest levels of God’s anger throughout O.T. scripture. Moses himself only used “Af and Chemah” once to describe God’s extreme anger in Deuteronomy during His great prayer of powerful intercession. This fact fascinates me and is used in uncovering the truth of intercessory prayer in my upcoming book. All we know for sure is that something happened that left a indelible brand in the psyche of Moses. We know he wrote, “God sought to kill me”.
It is a fact that when some people have a life-altering, traumatizing event happen to them, they often will not talk about it. Some people will simply say, “I was in ‘Nam during 69-70”, and that is all they will ever say to you about it. Others may say, “I was abused”. It is a one sentence statement that has shaped their very lives. I wonder if this 3 verse event was a life-shaping event for Moses. I think that it was. I believe it was traumatic and life-altering. Moses had a vivid experience with God’s unusual nature of grace and truth. He keenly knew what it was like to be on both sides. I believe it would forever shape his view of God, his relationship with God, and his worldview. Traumatized people can affect God in unusual ways. Although it was only 3 verses, He would never forget it, and he would write it down.
How many of you have ever had an ongoing relationship with a person that you knew had once actually and undeniably “sought to kill” you? How chummy would you get with them? What if you knew that they could turn on you again, how would this affect your behavior towards them? Would you be completely comfortable with them, or would you sleep with one eye open? Moses did not want to be the leader of the Exodus. He was against it, and I am not certain that he ever warmed up to the job. Moses didn’t seek God. God originally sought Him. Their relationship was unusual. I honestly don’t think Moses always liked God. He loved God, but I’m not convinced that he always liked him. But God decided that He wanted to have a real relationship with Moses. In order for two parties to have a real relationship, both of them have to become truly vulnerable. The idea of God becoming vulnerable is foreign to many theologians; and yet, real relationship demands vulnerability from both parties. God’s desire towards Moses would result in true vulnerability on His part, and the traumatized yet insightful Moses would know what to do to make things work from his end. He would find a way to work with this God who had once sought to kill him. More about this in the book.
This event happened soon after God had chosen Moses to be top dog. It appears to me that being “chosen by God” does not mean that you are qualified for the job. When God chose Moses, he had not fully met the conditions of the Abrahamic Covenant. This is why God sought to kill him. I suppose that if someone believes that they are chosen or called by God for a specific purpose, they need to be careful not to rush into things, but allow God to qualify them for the task ahead. Some preachers have said, “God’s calling is the only qualification you need”. Wrong. God has a process. Salvation is followed by baptism which identifies with death. It’s not just a symbol, baptism is a reality of dying to self. I fear that too many people have jumped into the ministry out of their own zeal and moved ahead of God’s timing for their lives. Some things have to die before you can move forward in God.
I could go on and on about the things I see coming out of this passage. I’ll be short and say this: When God called Moses, it was as if God had placed a new canvas on an easel in front of a painter. What was the first color that would be stroked upon this new canvas? It was a color called, “And God sought to kill me”. Remember, It was the NEXT THING that happened after the calling! As an artist continues to paint over the canvas, you will not be able to see the first color. But know this, it will forever shade every color that comes after it. When you read the rest of the story of Moses, don’t forget these 3 verses. Don’t just focus on “God sought to kill him”…Look, think, and pray through every part of that 3 verse story. IT’S AMAZING! The entirety of those 3 verses shape everything else that comes after it. A traumatized man made a decision to follow God anyway and ended up affecting God later. It will help you to see, know, and understand the context of everything that follows. For me, it becomes a chilling, thrilling, enthralling, and warming story.