Have you ever wondered why it is that our service to God is fraught with so much trouble? If God has sent us, it seems reasonable to assume that we will be successful. Yet, even Moses, a central figure in God’s plan of Redemption, struggled and often failed. Why do the difficulties of life hit us so hard when we serve God? As we look at the second half of Exodus chapter four, I see two reasons that stand out to me.
Husband of Blood – SERMON AUDIO
Exodus 4:18-23 So Moses went and returned to Jethro his father-in-law, and said to him, “Please let me go and return to my brethren who are in Egypt, and see whether they are still alive.” And Jethro said to Moses, “Go in peace.” 19 Now the LORD said to Moses in Midian, “Go, return to Egypt; for all the men who sought your life are dead.” 20 Then Moses took his wife and his sons and set them on a donkey, and he returned to the land of Egypt. And Moses took the rod of God in his hand. 21 And the LORD said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do all those wonders before Pharaoh which I have put in your hand. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go. 22 Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the LORD: “Israel is My son, My firstborn. 23 So I say to you, let My son go that he may serve Me. But if you refuse to let him go, indeed I will kill your son, your firstborn.” ‘ “
First we see that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart. God is Glorified when we are not able to take credit for His victories. As the Apostle Paul sought the Lord concerning his thorn in the flesh, God responded to him, explaining this.
2 Corinthians 12:7-9 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
We are a stubborn race. God has to make it absolutely certain that He is the One who does the work through us and we are not responsible for our successes. Otherwise we will be lifted up by pride and our victory will become our downfall. Another reason for our difficulties is often our own unfaithfulness in the face of God’s great faithfulness.
Exodus 4:24-27 And it came to pass on the way, at the encampment, that the LORD met him and sought to kill him. 25 Then Zipporah took a sharp stone and cut off the foreskin of her son and cast it at Moses’ feet, and said, “Surely you are a husband of blood to me!” 26 So He let him go. Then she said, “You are a husband of blood!”–because of the circumcision. 27 And the LORD said to Aaron, “Go into the wilderness to meet Moses.” So he went and met him on the mountain of God, and kissed him.
Moses also failed to keep the covenant that God had established with Abraham all the way back in Genesis 15:1-21. This is not due to God’s ego, rather it is to our benefit. Self-reliance is the opposite of faith. Apparently, Moses had had a difficult time when he circumcised his first son, Gershom. His wife, Zipporah and her father Jethro would have been unfamiliar with the ritual that God had established with Abraham hundreds of years earlier. If they were not pleased with the idea of circumcising their sons, it may be that Moses allowed them to persuade him not to do it to their second son. But to refuse to administer the “covenant sign” of circumcision to his son was a sign to God that Moses did not believe that the covenant was important to him. How could a servant of God act in disbelief and contempt for God’s promise and power to do what He had said? Much of our trouble is due to our own lack of faith and inattention to the details of our relationship to Him. Once Zipporah had circumcised her son, God let Moses go and sent him on his way! She purchased the life of her husband with the blood of her son.
There is so much more to this, since circumcision is a picture of Christ in His being “cut off” for the sins of His people (Isaiah 53:8). The challenge here is one of our own obedience and our trust that God will keep His word. Are we trusting God for something that He has not promised? Are we disregarding the covenant that we are in with Him through Jesus Christ? Are we seeking to do what He has called us to do in our own power? These are all reasons for difficulty in our lives and in our service to God. If we are trusting Him as we ought, those difficulties will become sourced for our glorying because in them, we will be looking for God to manifest His power! Serve God in faith, believing that the difficulties you face are there for His glory, as an opportunity for Him to display His power in you! Examine your own obedience level and see where you have let things slip and do what you need to acknowledge that you believe the promise of God and His ability to bring to pass what He has promised. Listen to the sermon and pray about your own ministry, then act faithfully and trust that God will act even more faithfully than you. When it is all over, He will succeed and He will get the glory for the success of your service to Him.
Husband of Blood – SERMON AUDIO