Why did God want to kill Moses?


After Moses had met the Lord at the burning bush and was sent by God to go to Egypt so that God’s people would be freed from bondage, we immediately read how God was going to kill Moses, after Moses set out to do as the Lord had said.  And this because Moses did not circumcise his son.

At a lodging place on the way, the LORD met Moses and was about to kill him.[1]

Is it that:

  1. 1.  This is proof that “the God” of the Old Testament was a psychotic bloodthirsty deity who was all too happy to punish anyone He was displeased with?
  2. 2.  God is not the psychotic bloodthirsty “God” of the Old Testament, but He did punish most severely those who did not obey Him to the letter of the law, since it was grace that was waiting to be revealed in Christ.
  3. 3.  God was defending the grace that He already demonstrated in the gospel of His word by opposing Moses to kill him.

Most of us believers would choose option two and most non believers probably would choose the first option.  However I think the real answer is the third option.  God is not the punishing God of the Old Testament, but the loving God of the Old Testament and He demonstrated His love and commitment to our very gospel when He was going to kill Moses.

As crazy as this sounds… Let me show you how scripture actually proves this.

I have been advocating in “The Gospel According to the Gospel” the New Testament teaches the justification that we have as post cross believers was not given to us first.  Instead it is taught in our New Testament gospel that those who were declared righteous were Abraham and his descendents.

What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”[2]

And what does the New Testament teach was the sign that God gave Abraham and his descents concerning their imputed righteousness?  It was circumcision.

And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them.[3]

So when a member of Abraham’s descendents would not be circumcised he would be cut off from the people.

Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”[4]

So what was it God was using Abraham as our example for?  He was our example of imputed righteousness that comes by faith.  The seal of this imputed righteousness is circumcision.

So why was it that God stood in the way to kill Moses?  Moses had made light of the grace that God was demonstrating through Abraham His friend.  This grace was declaring a sinful man righteous, just as God does for us gentiles today through Christ.  This grace had a daily reminder of the covenant that God made with Abraham as circumcision.  Moses mistakenly took this covenant without serious consideration.

Even though Moses took this covenant lightly, God did not.  God defended the very hope found in our gospel when He stood to in the way to kill Moses.  His covenant of grace is so important to Him, He would not allow anyone to mistakenly make light of it, not even the deliverer of His people.  This is how much our God who has given us His covenant of love upholds His claim of righteousness for those who live by faith.

So now rejoice, it is not option one or two, it is the better option three.  Our God is a merciful loving God, even in the Old Testament.  You can see more concerning this topic at “Abraham”.

If this has been helpful, please let me know.


[1] Exodus 4:24

[2] Romans 4:3

[3] Romans 4:11

[4] Genesis 17:14

One thought on “Why did God want to kill Moses?

  1. Very interesting. I had never taken notice of the Exodus 4:24 scripture. It required some prayerful thought to rightly divide the Word. First, I asked why the Lord would seek to kill Moses since Moses clearly would deliver Israel out of bondage of Egypt, by the hand of God. Also, Moses is one of the two witnesses who will be ‘prophecying’ before the spiritually blinded and deafened ‘remnant’ during the final 3 1//2 years of the Age of Grace. Both Moses and Elias (Elijah) are purposed by God to be the voices of God to bring restoration and fulfillment of God’s covenant to His people. So, in light of all these plans God had for Moses…why would he seek to kill him. I suspect He would not…unless there are other scriptures that show differently. And, of course, if God had killed Moses…He easily could have restored him again…as with Lazarous. Whatever the encounter was….it was for the purpose of teaching this chosen man of God who did not remember his own circumcision (since Moses was raised buy the pagan Egyptians from infancy)….about God’s ‘fleshy’ covenant which represented the ‘spiritual’ covenant. The encounter reminds me of Abraham being asked to sacrifice Isaac. God never intended Isaacs to die. He intended the EXTREME incident to demonstrate to all throughout generations….of the faithfulness of Abraham. God already knew. He was not testing Abraham.

    Hey, thanks for the post. I’ve learned something. Very interesting.

    Carolyn / internetelias.wordpress.com

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