What we see in Moses and Chuck Noland is a rebirth. I believe God wants that for each of us. We’ll have to say goodbye to the island, the wilderness, the site of sadness, the comforting place of our languishing, to set out on the new adventure stirring in our soul. My grandfather, Pastor Louis Heaston, used to preach a sermon long ago about the Prodigal Son he called, “Giving the Pigs a Permanent Wave.” You’ll have to give the rut a permanent goodbye wave. Getting those wheels in motion is the most challenging part. We’ll have to break through the barriers` pounding against our hopes. Moses had three different waves of adversity as he set out to fulfill God’s call. Let’s look at each.
The first wave was adversity in his marriage. Exodus 4:20 says, “So Moses took his wife and sons, put them on a donkey and started back to Egypt. And he took the staff of God in his hand.” The Bible is silent on how Zipporah felt about the transition, but we learn a lot from her actions. Big moves are always tough on a family. Following this wild dream meant saying goodbye to her childhood home, her loving father and extended family. This was no vacation, but a donkey ride across the wild desert.
We all know Moses was not a big talker. He admitted at the burning bush, “I am slow of tongue.” I’m not sure, but Zipporah could probably tie him up in linguistic knots before he got a word out. As they traveled with nothing but time to spend together, there wasn’t much communication, especially about one huge, contentious issue. It had to do with the sacred rite of circumcision, the outward sign commanded by God to show covenant relationship (Genesis 17:10). Zipporah believed it was disgusting. Remember, she could water an entire flock of sheep, so she was no wallflower. She put her foot down, and mighty Moses gave in.
In a marriage, usually one is a skunk, and the other is a turtle. The skunk explodes and stinks up the house: the turtle retreats and hides. But hiding and stinking up the joint only magnifies our problems. Their relationship was at a standstill, and they were not working together.
So we read in Exodus 4:24, “At a lodging place on the way, the Lord met Moses and was about to kill him.” Apparently, God is deadly serious about his commands, especially for those he calls to leadership. Whatever the relational dynamics, God held Moses responsible. How could Moses be the lawgiver God wanted him to be when his own family didn’t keep God’s laws? We don’t know if Moses came down with leprosy, if a viper bit him, or if an angel stood ready to strike him with a flaming sword. The Lord was just about to kill Moses when Zipporah acquiesced.
Exodus 4:25-26 says, “But Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son’s foreskin and touched Moses’ feet with it. (She said) ‘Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me…’” In our language today it would be, “Fine. You win. Have it your way your kingship. But I don’t like it.” What a way to start off in ministry together.