But Moses fled from Pharaoh. He settled in the land of Midian, and sat down by a well. (Exodus 2:15)
Moses had survived as a baby from Pharaoh’s edict to kill all Hebrew boys. His mother had hidden him away until she couldn’t hide him anymore. She put him in a basket and cast him onto the Nile, with the wild hope that someone would find and take him in. Someone did find him. Pharaoh’s daughter. And then Moses’ sister, Miriam, showed up and asked if Pharaoh’s daughter needed a wet-nurse. When Pharaoh’s daughter said that she did, who did Miriam go to find? Moses’ mother, of course.
In time, Pharaoh’s daughter adopted Moses, which meant that Pharaoh became Moses’ step-grandfather. As Moses grew up, he must have known he was being groomed for big things.
One day Moses saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew. He stepped in with all his training and killed the Egyptian. Soon Pharaoh found out and now Moses was on the run for his life.
Moses lands in Midian. Midian was a nowhere town, a dead-end place, and Moses must have wondered how he landed there, what he was going to do, and what kind of life he would have moving forward.
We know Midian. Midian is where we go when we lose someone we love, when important work has been lost or taken away, when someone we trust betrays us, when we lose our health, or when we don’t know what to do with our talents and abilities, our dreams and plans, because our life has suddenly taken an unexpected turn.
In other words, welcome to Midian. That’s where we are. We are in-between the times, out of sorts, and don’t know how much longer we’re going to be in this limbo space.
How do we find hope in Midian? Let’s return to Moses. Even though it must have felt to him at times that his life was over and that his talents were wasted, there were things Moses was learning there that he couldn’t have learned in Pharaoh’s palace. While watching those sheep, he was learning skills that would help him to lead the sheep-like Hebrews from their slavery into freedom. While feeling like his life was finished, God was actually preparing him for a greater endeavor than he could have ever imagined. Remember, it was Moses, the wash-out and fugitive, who faced down the greatest power of his day, and whose courage and bravery freed a group of slaves to become God’s Holy Nation.
The hope of this time, our Midian time, is that God can use it to teach us some new skills. What might we need to learn about patience during tough times, resilience when we are stressed, creativity when our usual distractions have been taken away, or trust that God is with us no matter where we might find ourselves? Without Midian, Moses couldn’t have done what God eventually called him to do. May we have that same hope during this time.
- What hope do you need from God during your own Midian-time?
- What could God now be wanting you to learn?
- Moses needed Midian to get prepared to lead the Hebrews to this Promised Land. What could God be preparing you for to eventually take on during this season?