“At a lodging place on the way, the Lord met Moses and was about to kill him. But Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son’s foreskin and touched Moses’ feet with it. ‘Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me,’ she said. So the Lord let him alone. (At that time she said ‘bridegroom of blood,’ referring to circumcision.)” — Exodus 4:24-25 (NIV84)
Moses was called by God to go back to Egypt as His messenger of deliverance to an enslaved and abused Israelite people. He experienced God’s presence at the burning bush, and in our verses for today, almost ended up dead (at the hands of God) because he failed to have his sons circumcised. In the Old Testament God required His people to observe His covenants. If you read in Genesis about the covenant of circumcision given to Abraham, and in Exodus about the covenant of the Passover, you will see that God takes His covenants very seriously. He gave detailed descriptions of how these rites were to be understood and practiced. You see, these were serious things because they were directly connected to God’s relationship with His people. The uncircumcised male was considered to be outside the Lord’s covenant promise. The family that failed to follow the rite of the Passover properly would be banished from the people of God. People were not allowed to mess with these covenants because they were set up and established by God Himself. Moses, living out in the country of Midian for decades, away from his people and their practices, failed to circumcise his boys. And before Moses was allowed to be God’s spokesman in Egypt, God needed him to take His Word seriously and get his house in order.
Lately, I have been pondering whether we Christians take baptism and the Lord’s supper as seriously as we should. I know that the Christian church has argued for centuries about the sacramental nature of these two New Testament covenants. But think about it for a minute. Regardless of where you stand on the sacramental issue, ought not these two rites be followed and practiced with the highest reverence and honor? Baptism was instituted by John the Baptist and was continued by Jesus’ disciples. Jesus, in the Great Commission, tells us that baptism is directly connected to “making disciples of all nations.” The Lord’s supper was instituted by Jesus during the festival of the Passover as the “new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you for forgiveness of sins.” I get the impression that, to God, baptism and the Lord’s supper are as serious and important as His Old Testament expression of His covenant (circumcision and the Passover).
When it comes to issues of how God relates to us, let’s not take those things lightly. Let’s afford them the reverence and sanctity that they deserve.