Zipporah’s Zeal

Jeremiah 9:26 “All the nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised of heart.”

Observation: Jeremiah had been called to stand in the gate and proclaim the word of the Lord. Chapter 9 ends with God complaining of this: “all the nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised of heart.” His heart was utterly broken by how deadened to Him His people had become. He said that even storks, thrushes, swifts, and turtledoves discern the seasons, setting the wisdom of these simple animals against the dullness of God’s people (see Jer. 8:7). In the end, His grief is summed thus: the people are uncircumcised of heart.

Application: Surely if having an uncircumcised heart is a condition sufficient to cause God to mourn and judge His people, I ought to consider what it is to have a circumcised heart. Zipporah knew. In Exodus 4, God charged Moses with the task of confronting Pharaoh. Yet despite the “chosenness” of Moses, verse 24 says that as Moses and his wife Zipporah encamped one night on their journey to Egypt, God sought Moses to kill him. Zipporah instantly understood that Moses’s vulnerability came from his failure to have circumcised their son as mandated by the Law. So she gabbed a rock (imagine!), cut off her son’s foreskin, and in fury, flung the flesh at Moses’s feet.

Now there was a family gatekeeper! Moses’s failure to obey God had nearly cost his life. This call to circumcision, this abandonment of my pursuit of the pleasures of the world, is what must happen to my own heart. I am required to be the gatekeeper, the watchman, over my own soul. My heart circumcision is my own responsibility; no one else can do it for me. God has planted deep in me an innate understanding of just how critical this is for my spiritual health; no excuses will be acceptable in the end. Surely I can be at least as bright as a flock of birds compelled to migrate to avoid wintry death.

I often wish my knife were sharper; like Zipporah’s surgery on her son, my self-surgery seems often to leave blood and jagged bits of flesh as far as the eye can see. Oh, for the ability to slice clean and swift, once and for all! But regardless of the imprecision of my instrument, I am thankful that God has given me the zeal and determination of Zipporah to see the surgery through to its completion.

Prayer: Father, You see my heart perfectly. I know that within it You see passion to pursue You, but it isn’t yet a pure, clean place, is it? Cause me to be like Zipporah, acting with urgency, using whatever tool You place in my hand, that my heart would be fully circumcised. I want all flesh to be cut away, that what remains would be pleasing in Your sight. You are not put off by blood.

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