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Daily Devotion for September 3, 2015

Moses Leaving Egypt, Pietro Perugino (Sistine Chapel) ca. 1483
Moses Leaving Egypt, Pietro Perugino (Sistine Chapel) ca. 1483. In the lower center, Moses is attacked by an angel, while in the lower right, Zipporah delicately circumcises their son. See full-size.



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Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.


Prayer for the Morning

I  bless you for the day you have made, Mighty Lord God, and pray that I may spend this day rejoicing in your creation. I pray for your Holy Spirit to fill me with the joy of my salvation, so that your light may shine through me into the world, that your honor and glory may be known to all people.

Remind me of your blessings, I pray, with every tribulation I may face, so that I may act with energy, forgiveness and love, ever mindful of the grace You have shown to me. Through Christ I pray,


Ancient Prayer: Jesus Wash My Feet

Jesus, my feet are dirty. Come even as a slave to me, pour water into your bowl, come and wash my feet. In asking such a thing I know I am overbold, but I dread what was threatened when you said to me, “If I do not wash your feet I have no fellowship with you.” Wash my feet then, because I long for your companionship.



[The meaning of Christ making Himself our servant or slave.]


May God the Father bless us; may Christ take care of us; the Holy Ghost enlighten us all the days of our life. The Lord be our defender and keeper of body and soul, both now and for ever, to the ages of ages.


Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.

Moses, Botticelli
Scenes from the Life of Moses (detail), Sandro Botticelli ca. 1482. This detail of a painting in the Sistine Chapel shows the barefooted Moses talking to God in the burning bush.

A Full Measure

An infinite God can give all of Himself to each of His children. He does not distribute Himself that each may have a part, but to each one He gives all of Himself as fully as if there were no others.

~ A. W. Tozer

Blue Latin Cross

Exodus 4:18-26 (ESV)

Zipporah at the Inn

Moses went back to Jethro his father-in-law and said to him, “Please let me go back to my brothers in Egypt to see whether they are still alive.” And Jethro said to Moses, “Go in peace.”

And the Lord said to Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt, for all the men who were seeking your life are dead.” So Moses took his wife and his sons and had them ride on a donkey, and went back to the land of Egypt. And Moses took the staff of God in his hand.

And the Lord said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all the miracles that I have put in your power. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go. Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, Israel is my firstborn son, and I say to you, “Let my son go that he may serve me.” If you refuse to let him go, behold, I will kill your firstborn son.’”

At a lodging place on the way the Lord met him and sought to put him to death. Then Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son's foreskin and touched Moses' feet with it and said, “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me!” So he let him alone. It was then that she said, “A bridegroom of blood,” because of the circumcision.

Notes on the Scripture

We have seen how reluctant Moses was to accept God's commission as leader of the Hebrews; he simply does not have the pridefulness or lust for power that characterizes most great leaders. We see this again; he seems content to be subordinate to his father-in-law and ask his permission to travel.

Exodus 4 is odd in many ways. Reuel is now called "Jethro" and Moses does not seem to mention the startling events that have just occurred. Then God tells Moses in excruciating detail what he should say and do when he gets to Egypt; He seems to compensate for Moses' diffidence and lack of self-confidence. Also note that Moses' staff is now called the "staff of God".

Zipporah from Exodus, by Botticelli
Zipporah as painted
by Botticelli

Then, suddenly, God tries to kill him! It seems as if we have lost some of the book over the millennia. This fragment, however, punctuates the point that Moses was not much of a Jew. He had failed to circumcise his son and was therefore, in point of theology, not living under the Hebrew covenant with God. Zipporah, of all people, comes to the rescue.

The meaning of it all is a bit obscure. When I was a kid in Sunday school, I remember that we sort of skimmed this part. They didn't have us making imitation stained glass windows of Zipporah throwing a freshly cut foreskin at Moses' feet, and there was no question-and-answer session about "bridegrooms of blood". (The passage is actually even cruder than it sounds, since "Moses' feet" is almost surely a euphemism for his genitals.)

The most apparent meaning of the last paragraph is that Zipporah had somehow become anxious about whether she was Moses' true wife, since she wasn't Jewish, and she thinks the circumcision will seal her marriage, that Moses won't go get a second, Hebrew wife and declare that she is wife #1, whose children will be ahead of hers in the line of succession.

God's seeking to put Moses to death is also missing something, since it doesn't seem likely that God tried and failed. The Jewish translations of the passage say an angel of God sought to kill Moses, but an inept angel of God isn't really a satisfactory explanation, either. Non-Biblical sources (especially The Book of Jubilees from @ 100 B.C.) say that it was actually Satan disguised as a prince — Satan was, after all, an angel, albeit a fallen one.

Perhaps the best way to read this, is that God threatened Moses with death, or started some action that would have killed him, except that Zipporah saw the problem and made Moses righteous by circumcising the baby. This makes the most sense and, because there is clearly text that did not survive, we can only imagine that the context would have been clear in the original.

endless knot

Daily Inspiration

“ Digging Up Bones ”

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Psalm 16:8 (NKJV): I have set the Lord always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.

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