A Bloody Husband


Ruel watched in fatherly joy for a moment, and then went to gather up the body of the little lamb. Handing it to Yzil, who had just now come out of the tent upon hearing all the commotion, he instructed, "Please prepare this one especially for Moses for the evening meal. I have one more purpose in this picture before we are done."

"But I was not planning any meat for dinner...", complained Yzil expectedly. "I thought we would just eat light this evening and I only put out some fruit. It's almost Sabbath... Now I will have to think of something to go with this for him; he can't eat this all by itself. I am tired from all this extra work. I knew you were going to start doing this to me... I told you I didn't want you to invite this man... Will you stop pushing me and just save this trick for tomorrow!?"

"I don't have time to explain right now. Please do as I have asked. There is no need to prepare anything to go with this. There is a symbol in this broken body that I wish to show him while the joy of salvation is fresh in his soul. It is not for the pleasure of his taste, this is for his heart."

Yzil looked back somewhat puzzled, annoyed at being given another task at the end of the day. "Well, I can see you don't care how I feel about anything. I guess I'll see if Rebecca is up to it. I'd really rather not."

"I'd like to...", interjected Zipporah hesitantly, who had been watching and listening to the entire event, and had some inkling of how special this was going to be for Moses.

"You!?", snapped Yzil. "You don't know the first thing about preparing this type of thing, and you'd make a mess of it. You should take some lessons from your sister Rebecca!"

"Well, how am I ever going to learn unless you show me? I have been wanting to learn for a long time... but you never have time to teach me!", pleaded Zipporah aggressively, a bit irritated at being compared to her sister again.

"Quit your complaining girl! I've had a long day and the last thing I need is for you to go making it longer. Rebecca is the only one besides me who can do this kind of thing right and I don't want you butting in and distracting her. She will have to hurry if this is to be done before midnight. If your father was not so timely in his request, perhaps there would have been more of a chance for you. But I hardly think you should be practicing on our guest."

Ruel was still thinking about the symbolism and the meaning that he wanted to show to Moses, and was not quite following the details of this new development between Zipporah and Yzil. Then, it suddenly occurred to him that the best way to prepare the lamb was to keep it entirely intact and to roast it whole over the open fire. It should not be prepared in the customary fashion. Interrupting as Zipporah was about to escalate the discord with Yzil, he said excitedly to her, "Zipporah! Get me a long sturdy roasting rod that we can use to turn this lamb. Yzil, where did we put those supports the last time we roasted some stuff?"

Yzil's eyes widened. "Oh, no you don't! Go offering our guests some weird concoction of yours! What kind of a cook will he think I am?"

"Nonsense!", exclaimed Ruel excitedly. "This will be the most spectacular meal that he has ever laid eyes on!" he beamed.

Ruel had never intruded directly into the preparation of a meal like this before, and Yzil was speechlessly angered. "You don't know the first thing about..."

"Zipporah?", he interrupted without thinking, "Do we have one that will do, some kind of a sturdy green roasting rod? Can you get it quickly?"

"Well..." Zipporah thoughtfully hesitated.

"I won't stand for it! I don't like this one bit!" Yzil stammered helplessly.

"... I noticed a long sturdy stick in the woodpile this morning... I think I could find it quickly..."

"Great!" exclaimed Ruel eagerly. "Now where did you say those support rods were, Yzil?"

"Ruel!!" demanded Yzil arrogantly. "This is ridiculous! You'll do no such thing in my kitchen!"

"Who said anything about a kitchen?" grinned Ruel, refusing to become angry with her. "This will be wonderful! Why haven't I thought of this before?", he exclaimed thoughtfully to himself as he turned from her.

He walked off to look for some support rods, leaving Yzil standing in the tent door holding the dripping lamb.

"You can't do this to me!", she continued relentlessly.

"I suppose you could try to stop me. That is... if you're not too tired!" he called back warmly.

"That man is impossible! How did I ever get stuck with the likes of him?" she mumbled to herself loud enough for Zipporah to overhear. "And what in the world am I going to do with this mess!" she continued, looking down at the lamb. She thought to herself, "He has his mind set on embarassing all of us... it's a shame to let him... or to throw away such a good meal. Why did he have to do this tonight! It's ridiculous!" She finally went back over to the fire and dropped the bloody mass in the sand where it had first lain, and turned to go back into the tent.

Zipporah, watching her angrily, thought it best to let the argument with Yzil go this time, and to busy herself with whatever her father was so excited about. It had seemed like a good time to really tell her mind to her mother and to get things out in the open again, but there would be other days to confront her over Rebecca... like tomorrow. Well, on second thought, so long as Moses was around, this should probably be deferred in the interest of keeping face. There would come a time soon enough, and she could wait a few more days. After all, she had not brought this up for several years now. The last time she was just a child and was easily overcome by Yzil's fierce manner. But now she was becoming a woman, and her resentment was deepening with the constant comparing and favoritism. She must prepare for another solid, nasty confrontation, but it would be hard to time it properly with guests around all the time. She started out for the woodpile to hunt for the stick.


Moses leaped about, dancing wildly in the sand over the hill from the camp as the sun set. His soul felt as if it would simply burst. He was clean and whole, bright and pure inside. The great evening star in the eastern sky seemed to dance with him. He was IN God, and God was IN him... at last... at long last! This was what he had been after for so long... love! Ah!! Love and intimacy with the divine Being, the God of the universe. It was all that he could possibly have imagined and more, Oh! so much more! He was weaping and moaning from the ecstacy. What a wonder!! What an awesome delight to have a Father, a Husband, a Savior... in GOD!! To be pure and clean, not an drip or a spot in any crevace of his newly born spirit... and it would be forever alive, and so utterly and eternally clean. This work was eternal and complete and perfect. He was as safe and pure as the Lamb Himself... safe from sin, safe from wrath, safe from himself... and it was free, an unconditional gift almost pressed upon him by His Maker. No more darkness, no more wandering, no more alienation, no more fear... no more being alone!

Profound thanksgiving and exctatic worship poured forth from Moses in wet, lush torrents for hours it seemed. He could not get used to the newness of his being... he really had been born anew, born again spiritually as it were, and it was as real and awesome as his own trembling flesh. He looked down with wonder at his trembling hands. He was a new creation, a new creature in a new realm. A living spirit, inbreathed by a Holy Spirit, throbbed with life within, entwined and enmeshed in the very fabric of a deep, holy, loving God. Finally, calming, he came to himself, lying in the sand, looking up into the darkened sky in starstruck wonder. It was time to learn to walk with this God, to take his first few baby steps in this new realm. He rose, fatigued by the exertion of his rejoicing, and moved back over the top of the hill in the direction of the camp.

It was dark as Moses approached, a warm glowing fire inviting him back into the presence of his friend. Ruel, alone, squatting patiently near the fire and facing the tent, was evidently tending to something in the flames, while it seemed the rest of the family had retired for the evening. Hearing Moses' footsteps behind him in the sand, he rose and turned expectedly towards this approaching new life. Moses walked plainly up into Ruel's presence and looked deeply into his eyes. For one brief but profound moment, neither spirit spoke. In the windows of their eyes they both felt and watched the pulse of divine life beating in one another's breasts. Ruel rejoiced in heartfelt thanks, it was so good to see life again at last. It had been so long.

He stepped gently aside and, directing Moses' attention, pointed down into the flames behind him. The carcass of the lamb, balanced about the spit, was roasting to a char above the glowing coals of the large fire. Moses was taken aback, having forgotten about the lamb itself, and sensed his own dismay at seeing the blackened body in the flames. "I want you to eat this," began Ruel, expecting Moses' reaction. "He has given Himself up for you, a whole and complete sacrifice. He has held nothing back from you, for you, and He has purchased you with His own life's blood. Though his blood is spilt, a bone of Him shall not be broken, for you are a member of His body, of His flesh, and of his bones.

"You are no longer your own, you belong to Him; you are His posession, His creation, His workmanship, His seed -- begotten by Him and produced from His nature. Eat this flesh, the tender flesh of this young lamb, whole and complete, as a symbol that you also have died in Him. You will no longer live your own life, or live after your own will, but you will yield yourself up to Him as a living sacrifice, risen again in Him to live only in Him and for Him, dying to yourself... to be consumed by Him and in Him as surely and as completely as He has given Himself up for you. As you eat the remains of this little lamb's life, receive and ingest God's life into your own. As you are one with Him in spirit, become one with Him in your mind, soul, heart and will as well, knowing and carrying His heart and life about in you, having His mind and will at work in you and through you, drawing your strength and energy from Him and His will for you."

Moses stared blankly at the roasted body of the little lamb, still whole and complete... now utterly lifeless amidst the tongues of fire. It was dead, and so was Moses now -- dead to his old ways, to his own life and will and flesh and pleasure. The little carcass was a perfect picture of his old way, an empty shell, void of life and strength. It was also a picture of how fully His God had committed Himself to his redemption. There was no reservation, no hesitation, no turning back. There was no choice to be made, it had already been made; the truth was plain and beautiful. Moses had already recognized his own death to himself. The picture would serve to illustrate it and help seal it in his own mind and heart. As the lamb had given its life for him, now it would give him its lovely death as well, becoming one with him in fleshy death for the rest of his days on this earth. He stooped wordlessly, marveling at the completeness of the picture and drinking it into his soul.

Moses stretched out his hand and drew the blackened flesh from the flames. He raised it to his lips and blew the steam from the charred surface in the flickering firelight. Deliberately, he bit freely into the warm flesh and began to eat, taking the body of the lamb into his own being to become one with himself in its death. He ate, with Ruel watching prayerfully, until he could hold no more, and laid the remainder aside. Quietly, as the fire dwindled and the coldness of the desert night moved in about them, Ruel prepared the lamb's remains to store for the morrow, as Moses watched with quiet, curious interest. Finishing, Ruel turned to give Moses a strong brotherly embrace and both men retired for the evening.


Morning dawned to start his second full day with the family, and Moses awoke rested and refreshed, a brand new man. The intensity of his conversion the previous day had so distanced him experientially from the danger and stress of his escape that he had at last slept quite soundly. The family was already up and about as he rose from sleep, and all were busy about the minimal preparations for the Sabbath morning, anxious for Moses to begin to tell of his origins and background. Ruel, noticing Moses waking, wasted no time in informing him that he wanted no further delay in hearing of his experiences if, of course, Moses felt the freedom to indulge them. As the sun crept higher in the sky in another beautiful day, with all nine of his new acquaintance circled about him shortly after the morning meal, Moses began enthusiastically.

"Forty years ago, shortly after Pharoah had ordered the slaughter of all newborn males among my people, I was born a Hebrew slave in Egypt. My mother, knowing in her spirit that I was not an ordinary child, and fearing the exposure that would come upon me by using a midwife for my delivery, did not call for one when she went into labor, but bore me privately with the help of my elder sister Miriam in our little hut. It took a great deal of strength for my mother to bear me in silence like that... she was quite a woman, that lady was. I was very weak when I was born, due to the struggle and duration of the labor. Somehow my mother knew that God was interested in me and she did what she could to keep me alive. When pressed by the soldiers as to my whereabouts after it was plain that she had given birth, my father managed to convince them that I had been still-born and that they had already tossed my body into the Nile, while my sister kept me hidden in some weeds a good distance from the hut.

"The initial danger past, the family managed to keep me quiet for several months, which was perhaps easier than normal because of my weakness, but they soon recognized that it was hopeless. Since they knew that they couldn't hide me indefinitely, they knew that they would lose me to an Egyptian sword soon if God did not intervene in some way. So, my dear mother, she reluctantly decided to float me down the Nile river in a small craft that she and my sister fashioned from the riverbank bullrushes. It broke her heart to send me off like that, and she just could not bear to watch me floating a way. My sister, however, could not resist following to see what would happen, which turned out to be the handy work of the God that day.

"Unbeknownst to them all, they had let me go out into the river at precisely the same time that Pharoah's only daughter was coming down to the Nile to bathe a few hundred cubits downstream, accompanied by her servants. I was rather quiet from what Miriam says, which made it easy for her to follow me without drawing much attention to herself. Well, the God's hand was upon that little boat, and He brought me squarely in front of the group of girls as they walked along the river bank. The princess spotted the little ark and sent one of the servant girls to fetch it. When she got it, and opened the lid, the brightness startled me badly and I began to wail in the most pitiful way, so Miriam says. It was no great suprize to anyone at that point that the princess fell in love with me. It was love at first sight, as they say: a budding young woman and a terrified, weak little baby boy.

"As she took me up in her arms to comfort me, I settled right down in her bosom and began to try to nurse from her, so they all claimed. Laughing and fawning over me as little girls do, they realized right away that I was one of the Hebrew children, and that some desparate parents were trying to give me a chance on life. Miriam was right on top of things, as usual, and asked the princess if she would like to have a nurse to feed the baby for her. I guess the princess could not resist this unexpected turn in her life and decided to keep me. Miriam ran and got my mom, who was immediately paid to feed her own baby! How the God can work sometimes!

"Well, Mom nursed me as long as she could, which was until I was about five years old. She loved me deeply and taught me only one thing before she brought me to Pharoah's daughter to be her son. It is something I will never forget: it was that she herself was my real mom. It was a link that proved to be vital in my upbringing.

"As I grew up in Pharoah's court, I had the liberty to get out of the palace after school and go about the Hebrew camps as I wished. During those glorious evenings I would often go back to Mom and sit with her. We would talk about what I was learning in the court school and how they were grooming me to be the next Pharoah. It seemed like the Egyptians forgot all about my Hebrew birth and really adopted me into the family. There were no other males in the family, as Pharoah only had one daughter and he was getting old, so they were investing everything in me. Why they did not supervise my visits with Mom, only the God knows: it was evidently His providence, it is the only possible explanation. It was during these times that she began to see what she thought was the Lord's plan for me. She was constantly thinking about God's promise to deliver us from Egpyt after so many years, and she thought that I was the one to do it.

"She carefully taught me all the stories of how the Hebrews had become a people through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and how we had ended up in Egypt during the riegn of our ancestor Joseph. She told me about Abraham and Lot, Melchisiedek, Jacob and Esau, Noah and the Great Flood, the trial of Job... story after story of all kinds. I'll have to tell you them some time. They're just fascinating!

"She also taught me the creation story and got me to memorize my lineage all the way back to Adam, just like all the other Hebrew kids did. She told me the story of Enoch, and how he had walked with God, and how he was taken up by God into heaven. It was then that I really developed a hunger to know and walk with the God like Enoch did.

"Anyway, every evening, Mom would get me to tell her whatever my tutors taught me in school and she would carefully straighten me out whenever they tried to teach me about the Egpytian religion. I know she prayed and agonized over me daily that I would not be overcome by the mysticism of Egyptian witchcraft and idolatry. The idolatry was so strong and tempting that many of the Hebrews were even polluted by it just by being around it in the Egyptian culture. Yet, here I was right in the center of the very strength of it all the time; she prayed me through it with all of her might, right up to the day she died.

"Well, to make a long story short, the Egyptians have taught me everything they know: their witchcraft, their astronomy, their geometry, statesmanship, history, art, ediquette, culture studies, languages, reading and writing, ethics, personal fitness, personal combat, military tactics, economics, you name it. I got it all. Yet, my mother's prayers were strong. Every evening since the day she died, and that was when I was about twelve, I have walked about the Hebrew camps thinking about my mom, longing to walk with God and wondering how I was going to free the Israelites from slavery. Everyone had forgotten that I was a Hebrew and I didn't want to remind anyone, but I would see the Hebrew men and women being mistreated and it troubled me that I couldn't do anything about it. I was becoming more powerful in the court and was getting more and more responsibility, but I couldn't think of any way to help my people and the feelings and frustration just got stronger and stronger until about a month and a half ago. It was then that I finally took matters into my own hands and got into trouble.

"One evening, on my regular walk, I noticed one of the soldiers beating one of my brothers quite severely. It angered me so much that I could not help myself. I looked around to see if there was anyone else around, and the coast was clear. I walked up behind the soldier and broke his neck before I had really thought about what I was doing. He dropped to the dirt without a whimper and before I knew it, I was standing face to face with a Hebrew brother... with a dead soldier lying in the dirt between us. He hadn't actually seen anything since he was all hunkered over from the blows he was getting from the soldier. But it did not take any real smarts for him to figure out what had happened. He did not know I was Hebrew, or what was in my heart, but just gratefully nodded in thanks to me and ran off. He left me standing there with this dead soldier and I had to move fast. It was getting dark, so I dragged him over to a nearby wall and quickly buried him in the deep sand that had blown up against it. No one had seen me, except the slave, so I thought I would just play it cool and see what happened.

"Well, the very next day, again out on my evening walk, I saw two slaves going at it. One was beating the other and I could not resist. I walked up to them, grabbed the aggressor and pulled him off. "What are you doing!" I demanded, gripping him by the arm. "Why are you striking a fellow slave?" I was indignant and angry with him; he could tell I meant business and that I would back up my words. He retorted angrily, 'Who made you our ruler and our judge?? You Egyptians think you own the world! You may be our task masters, but you are not our gods! What! Are you going to try to kill me like you did that soldier?'

"Well, when I heard that, I dropped my hold on him and let him go. I realized that the word had spread like wildfire among the Hebrews, naturally. What a fool I was to think otherwise. I had to get out of Egypt right then and there. I turned to go and both of the slaves ran off. I got a few things together and walked toward the city gate. I knew the guards well, but they wondered what I was up to as I left. I told them I just wanted to go for a long walk. They offered to accompany me for safety but I told them I wanted to be alone. They knew I could take care of myself and consented. That was the last I have seen of them.

"I knew that they would be hot on my trial within hours and it took all of the tricks in the book to evade them. Pharoah heard of my deed the very next morning and was hotly in pursuit by noon. Somehow I managed to evade them, traveling at night and sleeping in the sand during the day. I think the God confounded their search in some way. I really expected them to catch me but they haven't. I think, after a month, that they have given up and counted me dead or lost by now.





Days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months, and Moses became more and more a part of the family. Learning of their life and helping where he could, he began to understand the mind of the shepherd and was able help more and more with the work of living in the Midian wilderness. Zipporah and


In the pain and anguish of his crushing, as he groaned aloud and staggered up the hill, his spirit reached out somehow and began making love with his God, touching, caressing, flowing, penetrating, receiving, deep piercing intimacy that was altogether pure and holy and lovely. This was why he had been created, this was what he was alive for, why Moses existed... it was to love his God and commune with Him. This love was not just in the mind, not just an idea or a disposition, not just a state or a feeling, it was an activity.


To be continued ...