Exodus 4:24 gives the report, “And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him [Moses], and sought to kill him.” In Exodus 4:19 the Lord God had instructed Moses to go and return into Egypt. Then in Exodus 4:20 we find that Moses proceeded to obey the Lord God’s instruction – “And Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them upon an ass, and he returned to the land of Egypt: and Moses took the rod of God in his hand.” Yet in Exodus 4:24 the report is given that the Lord God met Moses along the way of his return unto Egypt, and the Lord God sought to kill Moses.
So then, why did the Lord God seek to kill Moses at that particular moment? If Moses was returning unto Egypt just as the Lord God had instructed for him to do, why would the Lord God seek to kill His obedient servant, whom He Himself had called unto this task? The answer to these questions we may discovered through the continuing report in Exodus 4:25-26 – “Then Zipporah [Moses’ wife] took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me. So he [the Lord God] let him [Moses] go: then she said, A bloody husband thou art, because of the circumcision.”
Certainly, Moses was going forth unto Egypt in obedience to the very call of the Lord God upon His life. Yet the Lord God was still displeased with Moses. The reason that the Lord God was still displeased with Moses was because although Moses was going forth to fulfill the Lord’s call, he was not right with the Lord in his personal walk. Moses had not circumcised his son in accord with the Lord God’s covenant requirement for the Israelites through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Even so, when we go forth to fulfill the call of the Lord our God upon our lives, we must take care that we go forth being right with the Lord our God in our personal walk. For when we are not right with the Lord our God in our personal walk, our going forth to perform His public calling upon our lives will not be found acceptable in His sight.
Yet was Moses’ disobedience in not circumcising his son according to the Lord God’s covenant requirement for the Israelites simply a matter of neglect, or was it influenced by some other motivation? For an answer to this question, we might consider the negative response of Moses’ wife against Moses. In Exodus 4:25 the report is given concerning her, “Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me.” Again in the closing portion of Exodus 4:26, the report is given, “Then she said, A bloody husband thou art, because of the circumcision.” It appears from these reports that Moses’ wife, Zipporah, was somewhat opposed to the circumcision of her son. She was a daughter of the Midianites, and the Midianite culture did not include circumcision as a favorable practice. Rather, circumcision was a specific symbol of the Lord God’s covenant relationship with the Israelites. Thus it appears that Moses had been influenced by the culture of the Midianites among whom he had been living and by the opposition of his Midianite wife not to obey the Lord God in circumcising his son. Even so, we must take care that we ourselves not become influenced by the world around us to walk contrary unto our Lord’s will for our personal walk with him.