Redeeming the Plagues: Part 13
Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. (Exodus 3:1)
Moses is about to complete his basic training. He’s been thrown out of his comfort zone in Egypt, chased through the desert, beaten up bandit bad guy shepherds, married a kick-butt Bo-Peep, had a kid and is now the security detail for a flock of sheep.
That may not seem important, but I’d like look at this progression in the form of a widening sphere of influence.
Moses, as an Egyptian had influence but no real power. Suddenly he takes the law into his own hands, and it results in him losing his status as “Very Important Law Abiding Citizen.” (Who could have, eventually, had a hand in releasing the Israelite people.) This results in complete and total loss of influence.
Moses runs. He meets a woman. She’s a woman who can give him a run for his manhood, and still look like a lady. She’s fire to his oil lamp… warmth to a soul who’s been destroyed and displaced. He rescues that woman and her sisters.
This rescue is a small increase of influence. What follows is shelter with a tribal family and a marriage. Moses finds himself with a wife and son. Then, he’s placed in charge of not only his personal resources, but his father-in-law’s resources.
God gave Moses a wife and son to support – but they are also supposed to support him in his endeavors. This is the family network. This is the balance husband and wives strike to make a partnership. And it must be an equal partnership. A woman who can defend her own will not stay with a man who doesn’t or isn’t willing to partner with her.
This is also the test. This is the work-life balance all leaders struggle with. We have few details on Zipporah and Moses’ marriage, but in the beginning years, it seems to be working out.
Moses is placed in charge over his father-in-law’s sheep. He’s defending a massive flock of brainless animals from bandits, lions, wolves, and other poisonous creatures which live in this desert region. He has to make certain none of them wander away. He has to care for them like helpless children. They are a commodity easily replaced, but they are also a food source. They are vital to the tribe for their survival as a people.
Shepherds are warriors. They are the protectors of the weak. That is why Christ was portrayed as a shepherd. Not just any shepherd – the Good Shepherd. (John 10:11-18)
The moment Moses shows himself capable and the next logical step for him would be tribal leader, replacing his father-in-law – there’s this flicker off in the distance, near the Mountain of the Lord.
Moses’ reaction is curiosity. And notice – he takes the sheep with him. He’s not abandoning them – he’s guiding them toward the light.
Guiding others toward the light of God reignites passion. That is what a good shepherd does.
And this is what Moses will be doing with the chosen people… leading them from slavery, to sheepdom, through the wilderness, where they learn who, and what they are – not in the eyes of their master – but in the eyes of the covenant-making God.