Moses was homeless; separated from his family, from his community, from his culture for most of his childhood and until he was forty years old. Wait a minute, you say! Didn’t he grow up as the adopted son of Pharaoh’s daughter? Didn’t he receive the best that Egypt had to offer? Servants, wealth, education, safety and privilege were his in abundance.
Yes, but Moses didn’t fit anywhere. His adopted grandfather hated this child who should have been killed in infancy, as were thousands of other Hebrew children. Others in the palace likely resented this intruder; perhaps they bullied him, but never went so far as to injure or threaten him until at age forty he killed one of their own.
Moses’ parents were Amram and Jochebed of the tribe of Levi. His brother was Aaron and his sister was Miriam. His mother was hired as his nursemaid and then at about the age of five she took him to the palace to be raised as an Egyptian. It’s doubtful that Moses ever saw his family again during those years in the palace. The other Hebrew families were likely bitter that Moses lived in luxury when their own babies had been murdered.
He killed an Egyptian. He ran away to Midian, a region in what is now Saudi Arabia, about nine hundred miles from Pharaoh’s court. Why? God wanted to place Moses in a family. Midian the patriarch of the land of Midian was a son of Abraham through his wife Keturah. Moses met and married Zipporah the daughter of Jethro (Reuel). Jethro was a priest of Midian. Which God did he serve? He served Yahweh, the God of Abraham. We know this because Scripture and history tells us that Jethro was a Kenite, a people who served Yahweh and were linked with the Hebrew nation, some even going into exile in Egypt.
God placed this lonely man in a family, one that had the same values, culture, and most importantly, the same God as Moses’ ancestors. For forty years, in the wilderness of Midian, tending sheep, Moses was restored and prepared to fulfill his destiny as the one that God would use to set His people free. He learned humility, leadership and faith. Leading sheep is not all that different from leading people.
Moses knew about God but didn’t know God face to face. He met God in Midian. Moses now had a family. He belonged. Moses now had a father. Jethro loved, trusted and mentored Moses. Moses the failure, the loner, the man who never belonged had purpose and dignity. He had a God he could trust.
Moses is a life worth watching. His obedience to God’s call ushered in the fulfillment of the promise made to Abraham; the promise that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars.
It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been homeless, felt homeless. Your journey to belonging may have taken eighty years or nine hundred miles. Today you can come home. Jesus said: ‘I was in the world and though I made the world you did not recognise me, but if you receive me (trust me) I will make you a child of God. I will come and make My home in you’.
No matter how devastating your story; no matter what the neglect, the abuse, the rejection, the failure, you can come home today. You have a Father who loves you, receives you and has a destiny for you.
Prayer: Father, I ask that You show me the barriers that hinder me from coming fully home to You. I want to be at home. Amen.
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