Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Moses Marries in Midian -- Exodus 2:18-22


When they came to Reuel their father, he said, "Why have you come {back} so soon today?"  So they said, "An Egyptian delivered us from the hand of the shepherds, and what is more, he even drew the water for us and watered the flock."  He said to his daughters, "Where is he then? Why is it that you have left the man behind? Invite him to have something to eat."  Moses was willing to dwell with the man, and he gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses.  Then she gave birth to a son, and he named him Gershom, for he said, "I have been a sojourner in a foreign land."

With Moses’ help, the daughters of the Midianite priest named Reuel returned to the house from their water-fetching duties much earlier than usual.  So Reuel asked them, “How come?”  Their reply was most interesting.  “It was an Egyptian,” they said that not only helped them, but they felt Moses had “delivered” them from the hands of the shepherds.  Moses must have still been wearing some of his expensive Egyptian royalty fashions.  But more interesting is that it seems he continued to play the role of a “deliverer” as he did for his Hebrew brothers back in Egypt when he smote an Egyptian in their defense.  Seems, from what we will learn later about his purpose in life, being a deliverer was indeed what God had in mind for him.  What he did in Egypt and what he did by the well in Midian was simply a foretelling of not only what he himself would be called upon to do for his people the Israelites living in bondage, but also of what the ultimate Deliverer, Jesus Christ, would do for the world.

So what does the father of the girls do?  He asks, “Well, where is he?  Why did you leave him there?  Go get him and have him eat with us.”  Yes, that’s Middle Eastern hospitality at its best that still continues today.  But Reuel, I am sure, had something more in mind.  Surely this Egyptian would make an excellent husband for one of his daughters.  So, the text says he had Moses “invited” to join them.  Moses was the ‘deliverer’ and the family had to “invite” him in.  I don’t know about you, but I sense a slight parallel here to how we are to “invite our savior” in to join us.  Like Moses, who had already delivered the young women from the shepherds, Jesus has already delivered us from our sins by what He did on the cross.  We need to first recognize it and then “invite Him in” to our daily lives as our “Deliverer” and Lord.

And what does Moses do?  The Scripture says He was “willing to dwell with the man”.  Moses stayed as Jesus wants to stay with you and me.  And if that’s not enough, Moses takes a bride from among Reuel’s daughters.  That’s what Jesus does – when He comes to stay within, we become part of His Bride, His Body -- the Church.  The parallels are there to be appreciated if we so choose, but never to be exaggerated beyond the obvious.

The woman that Moses married was Zipporah.  We’ll hear more about her later, but for now suffice it say that the meaning of her name is “a little bird”.  Well, we’ll see about that soon enough.  And speaking of his new in-laws, we’ll soon come across more implications of names and who’s who in this whole clan – watch out for Jethro vs. Reuel (later in Exodus) vs. Hobab (in both the books of Numbers and Judges).  But that can wait.

For now, let’s focus on the facts we know.  Zipporah gave Moses a son whom Moses named Gershom.  Moses called him that because ‘Gershom’ means being a “sojourner in a foreign land”.  That’s how Moses felt about his situation at the time.  And here any parallelism between Moses and Christ may seem to break down, but perhaps not totally.

A sojourner is a person who resides temporarily in a place.  And that place is often seen as foreign ground.   Jesus certainly came to earth from His heavenly home and sojourned among us for thirty-three years.  But He is coming back.  The rest of us, including Moses, started off here on this earth and when we leave it, we’re headed elsewhere.  In a way, we’re all sojourners.  There is much good we can and must do while we’re here, but ultimately, for the Christian, this is indeed a foreign land.

Before we return to Moses, we would do well to think about our own personal temporary residence.  How can we make it better?  How can we occupy until He takes us home or until He returns?  At the least, we should never forget that our real citizenship is elsewhere.  I pray that God, no matter what your circumstances are, will give you courage and patience to serve Him well until such time.

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