This week I wanted to discuss a condition that occurs at times in our lives. I am going to refer to that condition as being in the fog, for lack of a better term. I don’t believe that any of us are immune to it. In fact, I can testify that I have experienced this condition in my own life and at different levels. Let me explain further by going to the Word of God.
Follow with me to the book of Exodus. In chapter four we find a character that is only named three times in the Bible. Oftentimes, we look at minor characters as just that; minor. They are not minor in any way. Everyone has a place in God’s plan. Many times it is these seemingly unimportant people who are there at just the right time. I certainly hope that I am one of those people. I don’t want to be well known or famous but I do want God to use me according to His will. This character is in verses twenty-four through twenty-six. Her name is Zipporah (pronounced Sephora) and she was the wife of Moses.
Now, we all know that Moses was a great man of God. He was one of the greatest men of faith. One thing that I always appreciated about God is that He never hides someone’s character and shows them one-sided. One way to put it is that the people in the Bible are always painted with whatever imperfections that they had. That gives me great comfort. If I struggle to be like Christ and can’t even attain to be like Joshua or David I will soon feel like there is no hope for me. God, in His infinite wisdom, knew that we needed to see the shortcomings of men so that we could learn from them. Moses is no different, as he had faults, too.
At this point in the text, Moses has been given a mission from God to deliver the Jewish people from 400 years of bondage toEgypt. Pharaoh is not going to let these slaves go easily and Moses knew it. Moses has been living for 40 years as a shepherd in the wilderness. Now, he must deliver and lead between two and three million people. That is quite a jump in a person’s mental activity! Being shepherd over a flock of two to three hundred sheep is quite a job. But shepherding millions of people….wow!
A few months ago I talked about running with horses. Sometimes God steps us up to a different level. We are required to leave the comfort zone that we are in and step up to the plate of activity. For Moses, he did not adjust to this step easily. I have done some research on this passage and it seems that some people think it is controversial. For today, I want to focus on one thing. Moses was neglecting his duty as father and priest of his home. He was in the fog that I am talking about. Look at verse twenty-four. Moses was on his way toEgyptdoing the will of the Lord and it says that God met him to slay him. This sounds very strange since we don’t immediately read the reason why. But, since God is a just god we automatically know that He had good reason to do this. Let’s read on.
In the next verse it says that Zipporah took a knife and circumcised their son and threw it at Moses feet. Logic will tell us that this has something to do with God being angry with Moses. She then told Moses that he was a bloody husband to her. In the following verse God is appeased and she again repeats that he is a bloody husband because of the circumcision. On the surface none of this makes any sense. Let’s think about it for a moment and see what God has for us.
Moses was a focused man. He was driven to do what God had called him to do. There can be no doubt as to his leadership ability. As leaders go down through history, he ranks right at the top. But I see Moses as missing one important thing here. He failed to lead his own family. Moses was so mindful of his task from God that he failed to minister to his family. I’m sure that he ministered to other families. But his family was left out of the picture. You could easily miss these three verses and what God wants us to see. Zipporah has a small part in the story. And yet, she delivered the deliverer, so to speak.
This fog that I am talking about today comes from having your thoughts on any one thing and neglecting other things around you. We can easily make excuses as to why we can’t seem to juggle all the balls. If these three verses were not in the Bible we might think that Moses was a superman. If we didn’t read that God was going to kill him and that his wife circumcised their son we might say she stepped out of line. Perhaps we might think that God knew that Moses couldn’t handle all of the duties and overlooked his lack of ministry to his family. But none of that happened.
This fog that Moses was in is just like a real fog. Have you ever read of a massive traffic wreck where people were in a fog and two cars wrecked and then more? Fog is deceptive. It leads us to think that there is nothing else out there. It gives us the impression that all is well and that nothing bad is about to happen. But it always does. No other hazard on the road is like fog. When it rains we usually slow down. When the road gets curvy and narrow we slow down. These hazards are apparent. But fog hides the truth. It blinds us to reality. The mental fog that we can get into is the same way. It fools us into believing that all is well and we should drive full speed ahead.
A few years ago there was a young lady that our family knew whose husband was killed from driving in the fog. He was at the end of a dead-end road and never saw the sign. He never touched his brakes and crashed into a steel sign post. The sudden stop of reality is a hard lesson. What if someone told you that there were some things that you failed to see? Would you be offended or alerted? Maybe you are in ministry and you do an excellent job taking care of your flock. Are you also ministering to your wife and children? Perhaps God has given you a directive to take your family in. Maybe He has shown you deeper Holiness that you are now walking in. Have you neglected to love them like you used to?
You see friend, we can get so busy with something that we fail to do all that God requires. As I mentioned earlier, we can make excuses and state that we can only handle a certain number of tasks. One of my favorite excuses used to be that there were only a certain number of hours in a day. I always made myself feel better by bringing that up when I was questioned about getting things done. But God says that we must do it all. If we are not getting the job done we probably have something less important on our minds.
What do you suppose causes this fog I’m talking about? There is a modern equivalent in this age of technology. It’s called inattention blindness. Look that phrase up sometime and you will probably see if linked to the subject of cell phones. I have experienced this weird phenomenon. While driving and talking on a cellphone you have the attention ability of someone who is legally drunk. I was talking to Angie one afternoon on the way home from work. I was in the middle of telling her some long, detailed story. All of a sudden, I came to an intersection where the light changed to red. I got so mixed up that I dropped the phone and started stammering in the middle of a sentence. I found that I wanted to hit the brakes but could not as long as I was focused on that cellphone.
That made me really study the effects of inattention blindness. A friend of mine from work did a college paper on the subject and we had quite a few discussions about it. Almost weekly you can read about someone who had a major accident while using a cellphone or text messaging someone. Last week there were people killed when a commuter train collided a freight train inCalifornia. The findings were that the engineer was text messaging someone. So, how do we relate this to Moses and Zipporah? Well, Moses was so focused on what God had just given him to do that he failed to do all of the things that God gave him earlier. As an example, when he married his wife he had the responsibility to completely take care of her and any children that they would have.
I have seen ministers go off to a foreign country and leave a wife and children behind to fend for themselves. This is wrong. We have an obligation to do all that the Father has said and not just the things that look impressive. It draws a lot of attention to be on the mission field but if that missionary is neglecting his family then he is in sin. What a shame that we can’t see this! What is the answer to all of this?
Today I give you that God has given us time to do anything and everything that He says. If the Lord starts our walk by giving us tasks A and B and later on we are give task C it does not mean that we are exempt from the first two. The path to God is like building a structure. The foundation is laid and then the floor, walls and roof. If we presume that we are at the walls stage and neglect our foundation we are about to suffer a catastrophe.
Look at one final passage. In first Corinthians 10:12-13 Paul starts to warn that we should not assume that we are standing stable or else we are likely going to fall. Then he says that there is no trial or test coming that God won’t make a way for us to get through. As we mature we must be diligent to do all that God requires. Even this great man Moses was about to neglect his family. It makes me cautious to be alert for all the tasks at hand. How about you?
Prayer-Father, thank You for the warnings that You clearly give in Your Precious Word. Today make us aware of any dangers we might be headed for. Open our eyes to see what may have been hidden in the fog. If we have neglected something or someone in our lives, help us to see it. May we truly be complete and wholly people of God.
In Jesus’ Name-Amen
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