No it’s not a movie starring Vincent Price, or for you young whippersnappers, a movie written and directed by Tim Burton. It’s from an odd piece of a story found in Exodus 4:24-26 involving Moses and his wife, Zipporah. It’s after the burning bush incident. Moses with his family in tow is headed back to Egypt.
It becomes apparent that Moses has not kept the Abrahamic covenant regarding the circumcision of his own son. Moses finds his own life in jeopardy as the Lord is about to kill him. Zipporah, his Midianite wife, whips out a knife, circumcises their son and flings the bloody foreskin on Moses’ foot. By this act she saves her husband’s life. Though I have read numerous explanations I don’t pretend to understand all the ins and outs of this story. It seems a kind of exchange took place. By this last minute bloody act, Moses’ own blood was not spilled. He was brought back into compliance with the covenant.
Zipporah, though the heroine of this story, is appalled by the whole situation. Remember, her background is Midianite, not Israelite. At least in some ways, she’s still on the outside looking in. She exclaims to her husband, “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me.” Rough translation—what have I married into?!?!
For some unknown reason they had resisted circumcising their son. It had become a barrier. A barrier they finally crossed just before tragedy struck.
For those on the outside looking in there’s always some barrier in the way. Consider the following examples.
Paul speaks of the barrier of the crucifixion in 1 Corinthians 1:23 when he says, “but we preach about a crucified Christ, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.” It was something they couldn’t get past. To them it looked like a humiliating defeat, not a glorious victory. If it’s your first contact with Christianity, it’s a reasonable idea. You will have to dig deeper to get to the truth.
Looking back to those early years of the church we learn they were accused of cannibalism and why not? Didn’t Jesus say in John 6:53,54 “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in yourselves. The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life.” If you’re on the outside looking in and not one to think spiritually, it’s a tough barrier to cross. It just seems gross.
We love to canoe those beautiful rock-bottomed spring-fed rivers of southern Missouri. Many of us don’t just stay in the canoe, but go into the water. As you take that first step into the cold spring fed water your mind begins to question your sanity and you ask yourself if you really want to do this. Then you just make yourself go on in. You get about knee deep in the water, the perfect place to skip rocks across the surface. You cut loose with that perfect stone, count how many times it bounces and the competition begins. Later you grab your floatable seat cushion, go to the fast water and jump in. Typically, in 30 or 50 yards the water calms down and you wade over the riverbank. You run back up and do it all again. You no longer think about how cold the water is. You’re body has adjusted. Laughing, splashing, everyone in the water is having a great time—but not everyone is in the water. Some only watch from the bank. Most would like to come in, but there’s a barrier. They can’t get past the cold water. They’re not convinced they can adjust. Even though right before their eyes they see that everyone in the water has adjusted they remain on the outside looking in.
Do you know people like that? Some are at church every Sunday yet do not come to Christ. Some stand out a little further. They don’t come to church, but by every indication they’re interested. They love to talk about Jesus, but when pressed to take the next step, whether it is deeper study or becoming a disciple, they hesitate. No matter how much they might profess their love for the Lord, they stand on the outside looking in.
For some the barrier is the commitment itself, others struggle with baptism, and many find the moral teachings of Christ too constricting. The particular barrier obstructing your way to the Lord matters little. This is what matters. Tragedy is about to overtake you if you die unprepared to meet God. Most people either can’t or won’t make things right with their God in the moments before they die. It is the greatest of all tragedies.
The Hebrew writer is emphatic. “Oh, that today you would listen as he speaks!” Hebrews 3:7. Don’t be “almost persuaded.” Salvation is only in Christ.
Don’t stand on the outside looking in. Force yourself today to deal with whatever barrier is between you and salvation. Learn more. Pick up your Bible. Read. Make yourself accountable. Grab your phone. Call. Decide on a course of action. Get in your car. Go. Determine this moment to do something today!