Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. (Ex. 3:1)
For the first 40 years of his life Moses had been trained to be a commander of armies. For his next 40 years Moses was a shepherd of grubby sheep in a backwater called Midian.
In Midian, did Moses feel like a disappointment and failure? While watching those sheep, did he question if he had squandered his training, wasted his gifts, and missed his purpose?
Many people know Midian. Think about Midian not as a place on the map, but as a place in life. Midian is the land of unmet possibilities, unused talents, and lost dreams. In Midian, we see a gap between what we’re doing and what we think we could or should be doing.
After spending 40 years in Midian, God came to Moses in new and stunning ways. In that desolate place, God gave Moses an incredible mission. Instead of being Pharaoh’s warrior, Moses would now be God’s champion. Instead of leading an army into battle, Moses would be leading former slaves into freedom. God’s work eclipsed what he had been trained to do, and the gifts Moses feared had been wasted would now be needed to lead the people to the Promised Land.
Midian is a grim place. You’re dumbfounded how you got there. You question if you’ll ever escape. You worry you’ve missed your chance. You fear God’s done using you.
If you’re in a Midian-time, I’m here to say that Midian isn’t your home or end. I can tell you that because God has brought me out of my own Midian-season to a better and brighter place. This new place might not be the one I expected, or the one I thought I’d been trained for, but I believe it’s the one God has brought me for His purposes.
What God’s doing for me, God can do for you. I pray that the story of God calling Moses out of Midian will encourage you. This story tells us that we’re never too lost that God can’t find us, never so low that God can’t raise us, and never so old that God can’t use us.
- Have you ever gone through a time in Midian, a time of desolation and loss and confusion? If so, how did you get there? If so, did you learn anything there?
- If you had once gone through a Midian-time, what or who brought or led you out? Once out, did your life look or feel any differently? If so, how?
- God used Moses’ time in Midian to prepare him to lead the Hebrews to the Promised Land. How could God might have used, or might be using, your time in Midian? What was God, or what is God, equipping you to do?