Q. My husband and I lead a small group at our church. The church has decided to have all the small groups use the same curriculum for a 7-week series. I’m having trouble with this week’s chapter. The author is wanting to use Moses’ time in Midian as a negative thing – that he lost sight of his dream for freeing the Hebrew slaves after starting his new life in Midian. He goes on to say that many of us also get sidetracked by unexpected life situations. And, as a result, sometimes God has to remind us of His dream for our lives – there enters the burning bush. The author also uses the analogy of Moses’ staff as a “crutch”. That the staff was a constant reminder that he had blown it. “No wonder God told him to throw it down!”
I always saw Moses’ time in Midian tending sheep as preparation for leading the nation, much like David did centuries later. Also, while studying the name, Jehovah Nissi, I came to see the staff of Moses as the Staff of the Lord. To call it a “crutch” doesn’t settle well with me.
I can see where the author wants to take the lesson, but don’t quite agree with the route he takes to get there. What do you think?
A. There are two reasons why Moses spent 40 years in Midian. One is that he was a fugitive from justice, having killed an Egyptian soldier. (Exodus 2:11-12) And the other is that he was too well known as an authority figure in Egyptian society, being the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, to be of any use to God. Once everyone who had ever known Moses had died and he was just an old man no one knew, then God could use him to do mighty works on His behalf. (Exodus 4:19)
The lesson in the call of Moses is repeated in the advent of the Messiah. “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.”(Isaiah 53:2) It’s further clarified by Paul in 1 Cor. 1:27-29. “God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things–and the things that are not–to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.”
When Moses was no longer the powerful son of Pharaoh’s daughter, but a helpless old shepherd from Midian, then he was ready to do God’s work.