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How to love.

Exodus 4:24–26

And it came to pass on the way, at the encampment, 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 Moses’ feet, and said, “Surely you are a husband of blood to me!” So He let him go. Then she said, “You are a husband of blood!”—because of the circumcision.

This passage is a real cypher. Instead of just reminding Moses to circumcise his son, the LORD met him and sought to kill him. Then Zipporah does something that looks like an irrational outburst, except that it works, placating the LORD. What’s going on here?

First off, this is clearly about circumcision. Gershom isn’t circumcised, and this triggers God’s wrath. He’s not just mildly irritated about this.

Second, Zipporah figures this all out and solves the problem. But note that she’s also angry at Moses. So she must already know about circumcision, and know enough to recognize that this is why God is angry.

Another clue is that Zipporah performs the circumcision. That’s not normal. Then she cast it at Moses’ feet and said, “Surely you are a husband of blood to me!”

I know this is speculation, but if this isn’t a preexisting marital dispute, I’m the Queen of England. Zipporah is acting like she just caved in a bitter argument.

If so, then Gershom wasn’t circumcised because Zipporah wouldn’t allow it—which makes sense.

“You’re going to do what to our son? Over my dead body you will!”

So the first class in Moses’s study in the college of hard knocks is a real wake-up call. The lesson is simple but profound—“Take my commandments seriously.”

Moses will need to have that one down cold.

The greatest commandment to take seriously is to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:28–30). But that love is not some warm, fuzzy feeling; it’s obedience.

“He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me.” — John 14:21a

This sounds like a curious definition of love, but it’s not. How should a toddler love his mom?

By not being a brat. We don’t expect heroism from children, or any other adult level sacrifices. Parents only want kids to not cause trouble.

Obedience is how a lesser being loves a greater one. My dog can love me by not peeing on the carpet.

Obeying God isn’t just a good idea. It’s love.

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These weekday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. Saturdays' by Matt Richardson. Subscribe here:

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NASB stands for the New American Standard Bible. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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