Exodus 4:24 “At a lodging place on the way the Lord met him and sought to put him to death.”
How well do you think you know God? What is the basis of your knowledge of Him? I’ve heard many people talk about God as if He were so loving that He would never do anything to harm anyone. Often, I’ve heard people say things like “My God . . . this or that” in explaining away their sinful lifestyles or attitudes by justifying themselves before a god of their own making. The same for the Son of God. So often I’ve heard people justify what they see as “little sins” or not sin at all, by explaining that Jesus’ priority is to love people, no matter what, rather than judge them for one thing or other that they deem as “not that bad.” But is God like this? How do we know the truth about Him? Well, if our thoughts are coming from our own mind, we need to be very careful, for we don’t even know ourselves very well, let alone the God who made us. Our hearts are very deceitful. The scriptures tell us this in no uncertain terms (Jeremiah 17:9).
This brings us to the verse above from Exodus 4 which is a passage about Moses not long after God spoke to Him at the burning bush. What an incredible experience this was; God speaking to man face to face, as it were, and giving him the awesome responsibility of freeing His people Israel from Egyptian oppression. Moses was God’s chosen instrument for one of the most important missions God had ever given to anyone. Yet, in the verse above, we are told that God sought to put him to death! But why?
In reading further on in this account, we find that it was because of Moses’ failure to circumcise his own son in violation of God’s command for all Israel first given to the patriarch Abraham. It didn’t matter that Moses’ son was only half Jewish (Moses’ wife was an Egyptian). We are told later that his wife was disgusted by the practice. However, that was no justification for Moses’ disobedience. Nor was Moses “off the hook” with God, in that he had been chosen to do great things for Him.
Nothing ever justifies sinning against a Holy God. The wages of any sin is death (Romans 6:23) – regardless of whether it was Moses’ failure in this instance, Adam’s disobedience in eating the forbidden fruit, or David’s adultery with Bathsheba. No one, no matter who they are, should ever act so presumptuously and sin against God. This is true for the vilest sinner or the greatest saint. God judges sin, and just because He has been incredibly merciful with so many of our past sins doesn’t mean that mercy will extend into the future with no consequences. The same God who is a God of Love is also a God of Justice, and He exacts judgment when and how He alone determines. Moses learned a very hard lesson in Exodus 4. He learned another such lesson later when he struck the rock instead of speaking to it as God had commanded (Numbers 20). For this he was forbidden from entering the Promised Land. Such a small disobedience in our eyes, but a preposterous offense in the eyes of a holy and sinless God. God has told us what He expects from us, and He expects obedience from those He has made. Why do we think we can disobey Him and do as we please just because we’ve “gotten away with it” so often before? God’s eyes are never blind, for He is “the God who sees (Genesis 16:13).” May we have the wisdom to listen closely to Him, and even fear Him, for it is the fear of God that is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10), and the protection against reaping the consequences of disregarding the commands of the Omnipotent One.