Faith is a mysterious thing.
Some people, it seems to me, have faith in great abundance. Faith in God seems to come very naturally to them. They either do not question the ways of God or their questions are bathed with faith. Their faith never wavers even as they seek to figure out the seemingly confusing things about God.
Meanwhile, for other people, faith is not so easy to come by. Some simply cannot believe God exists. In thinking about the origin of the universe, for instance, the very last option they may consider is the possibility an all-powerful Being set everything in motion. They would much rather think about more materialistic origins of the universe – whatever those might be.
So is faith just something some people have and others do not? Is it like blue eyes versus brown eyes? Some have one kind and others have another kind? I don’t think so because I think faith has more to do with the human will than eye color does.
To be people of faith means we are more than just people who believe something to be true. It also means we must act according to that faith. If I trust you, I believe you will do what you say you will do, and I will act accordingly. This comes out of my will. I decide of my own accord that you are trustworthy, and I live as though that were true.
This is why we can have all sorts of doubts about God and his ways and still be people of faith. A person can be naturally trusting or naturally skeptical and still be a person of God. Our natural predisposition doesn’t matter as much as what we decide to do about God – to trust in him or not. And by God, I also mean Christ.
The writer of Hebrews said, “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).
We see in that verse the importance of faith. It is critically important to our relationship with God. If we don’t have faith – that willful trust in God’s existence and in his goodness toward his children – we are hopelessly lost. At least, that’s how I read it. We must believe in Jesus Christ in order to be saved (John 3:16).
If there is one thing that is different between a person who is destined for heaven and a person who is destined for hell, this must be the thing. And so faith is very important.
And you can begin to have faith right now, in this moment. Just decide in your heart, out of your personal human will, that Jesus is who he says he is and that he did the things the Bible says he did – namely dying on the cross for our sins and rising again to new life.
It is impossible to please God without that kind of faith.
So what does this have to do with Exodus 4? I began to think about faith as a necessary component to our relationship with God because it appears Moses forgot about a necessary component in his own relationship with God.
Circumcision was the mark of faith in God and his covenant with the Hebrew people. The descendants of Abraham – if they were part of the covenant community – had to be circumcised. I assume Moses was circumcised as a baby during those three months in which his parents hid him away. But Moses didn’t circumcise his son, and we don’t know why.
How could Moses possibly lead the Hebrew people out of slavery if he wasn’t following, in faith, the commands of God? It almost cost him his life. Afterward, Moses could thank the Lord for a godly wife, who acted in faith and who pleased God. (There’s a message about blood here, too, but that will have to be for another day.)
For Christians, circumcision continues to be the mark of faith in God. But it is not physical circumcision. Rather, it is a circumcision of the heart that is performed by God himself after we believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. The apostle Paul, under the new covenant of Christ, wrote “circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter” (Romans 2:29).
Paul also wrote, “In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ” (Colossians 2:11).
So I suppose the thought for the day, for me, is the need to trust God and to live into that trust. There are all sorts of areas where I have questions about God and his ways. And I think God wants me to dig into those areas, to study them, and to pray about them.
But God also wants me to trust him. Even when I don’t fully understand, he wants me to believe in him – to give him the benefit of the doubt.
And, of course, this results in real changes in how I live my life. My heart has been circumcised by God, and I now trust God by being obedient to, not neglectful of, his commands.