Celebrating Women of the Bible: Zipporah

Have you ever taken the time to really think about the people God chose to accomplish his will through? They certainly are a ragtag bunch and aren’t the ones I would’ve chosen — his ways are clearly better than mine and his thoughts infinitely higher than my own! I often find myself drawn to some of the most interesting characters. I always want to acquaint myself with the ones the Bible is surprisingly silent about.

Last year, I helped write a devotional that dives into the stories of 12 somewhat obscure women found in the Bible (you can check it out here). When we were first talking about women to include, my mind consistently returned to Zipporah, but we didn’t end up including her. But still, my desire to learn more about this woman who was married to Moses continued to grow. So we’re going to talk about her today!

Zipporah is one of the strangest characters in the Bible; we know very little about her and there is massive speculation on the interwebs about this woman and her character. Was she a heroine? Was she malicious? Was she supportive of Moses? Did she resent him? Unfortunately, that’s all up for your interpretation.

Here’s what we do know:

  1. She was one of seven daughters of Jethro the Midianite priest. Jethro was a wise man and someone Moses respected.
  2. Zipporah married Moses after he came to the defense of her and her sisters when a bunch of shepherds came and harassed them.
  3. She and Moses lived together for years and had two sons together until Moses was called to go deliver his people from Egypt.

Now that we’ve covered the things we can all agree upon, let’s get to one of the weirdest passages in the Bible found in Exodus 4. Moses is on his way back to Egypt and Zipporah is along for the ride.

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.” Exodus 4:24-26 (ESV)

What in the world?! What a truly strange chunk of Scripture!

I’m not going to lie, a lot of times in the Bible, when the word ‘circumcision’ appears, I start to tune out a little bit. Circumcision isn’t something that’s important to me, but it was insanely important to the Lord. And yet, despite God’s opinion about it, the future leader of his people had declined to obey until, in a moment of desperation, Zipporah circumcises her son.

Regardless of Zipporah’s faith, her motives, or even her relationship with her husband, she managed to identify what was important to God and followed through. She was able to deliver the man who would become the deliverer of a great people.

What’s important to God?
And are those things important to you? 

Loving God and loving others sum up every command in the Bible, so that’s a good place to start. Do your actions stem from a love of God? Are your interactions with others draped in love and kindness?

Honestly, my list of priorities doesn’t always match God’s. I don’t always believe that loving people well is important, but he so sweetly reminds me that loving others is something he’s called me to do. So I work at it. I ask God to show me how he feels about people so I am able to treat them the best I can.

If your priority list doesn’t match up with God’s, I encourage you to accept that’s where you’re at today and take that to God. Ask him to change your heart and your mind so it matches his own. Will we ever be perfect? No, of course not! But we can improve day by day as we continue to seek his face and follow his leading.

I don’t know the character or faith of Zipporah but I do know this: she was able to clearly identify what was important to God and she acted upon it when it mattered the most! I hope and pray that I am able to do the same.

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