Tending the flock

Exodus 3:1, 7-10 New Living Translation (NLT)

One day Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro,[a] the priest of Midian.

Then the Lord told him, “I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and lead them out of Egypt into their own fertile and spacious land. It is a land flowing with milk and honey—the land where the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites now live. Look! The cry of the people of Israel has reached me, and I have seen how harshly the Egyptians abuse them. 10 Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.”

We all know the story of Moses and the burning bush. God called an adopted Egyptian, as he was tending his father in laws sheep, to do an extraordinary thing. Moses would be the one to confront Pharaoh and lead God’s people out of Egypt – out of slavery. The entire nation of Israel would be taken through the wilderness by a tongue-tied shepherd who was married…with children.

Moses didn’t abandon his wife and sons to fulfill the call. He didn’t neglect his God given role as husband and father in order to perform miraculous signs in front of Pharaoh. He didn’t choose to lead the people into the Promised Land and ignore his family. Moses went back to Egypt with his wife and children as he carried the staff of God in his hand.

Exodus 4:18-20 New Living Translation (NLT)

18 So Moses went back home to Jethro, his father-in-law. “Please let me return to my relatives in Egypt,” Moses said. “I don’t even know if they are still alive.”

“Go in peace,” Jethro replied.

19 Before Moses left Midian, the Lord said to him, “Return to Egypt, for all those who wanted to kill you have died.”

20 So Moses took his wife and sons, put them on a donkey, and headed back to the land of Egypt. In his hand he carried the staff of God.

 

For a time, Exodus 18 tells us, Zipporah and their sons went home to stay with her father (the boys probably had school and soccer practice to attend!). Regardless of the reason, Jethro eventually escorted them back to be with Moses and the people.

Exodus 18:2-6 New Living Translation (NLT)

Earlier, Moses had sent his wife, Zipporah, and his two sons back to Jethro, who had taken them in. (Moses’ first son was named Gershom,[a] for Moses had said when the boy was born, “I have been a foreigner in a foreign land.” His second son was named Eliezer,[b] for Moses had said, “The God of my ancestors was my helper; he rescued me from the sword of Pharaoh.”) Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, now came to visit Moses in the wilderness. He brought Moses’ wife and two sons with him, and they arrived while Moses and the people were camped near the mountain of God. Jethro had sent a message to Moses, saying, “I, Jethro, your father-in-law, am coming to see you with your wife and your two sons.”

All throughout Scripture, we read about the heroes of faith. Ordinary men, called by God to do extraordinary things:

Noah.

Abraham.

Joseph.

These ordinary men married ordinary women and raised ordinary children.

My husband is an ordinary man. I’m ordinary. Our kids are ordinary. My man, an adopted child of God, has been called to lead His people out of slavery to sin. But in this season of life, the Lord is teaching him to be a shepherd. He’s tending to the flock at home. He’s loving his wife. He’s training our children. And soon, when the Lord speaks to him through a “burning bush,” he will GO, make disciples…with his wife and children.

sheepAre you an ordinary man? Do you have an ordinary wife? (perhaps you shouldn’t answer that!) Are you raising ordinary children? Whether you are called to lead a nation out of bondage, a local church or a small group, you are a child of God and you must GO, make disciples… with your wife and children.

Spend some time with the Great Shepherd. Ask Him: “Lord, am I tending the flock at home? Am I loving my wife? Am I training our children?” If any answer brings conviction from the Holy Spirit, confess, repent, and choose this day to serve the Lord, by serving your family. They are part of your extraordinary call. And one day, as you’re tending the flock, the Lord will tell you it’s time to GO.

1 Timothy 3:1-7 New Living Translation (NLT)

This is a trustworthy saying: “If someone aspires to be a church leader,[a] he desires an honorable position.” So a church leader must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife.[b] He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must be able to teach. He must not be a heavy drinker[c] or be violent. He must be gentle, not quarrelsome, and not love money. He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him. For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church?

A church leader must not be a new believer, because he might become proud, and the devil would cause him to fall.[d] Also, people outside the church must speak well of him so that he will not be disgraced and fall into the devil’s trap.

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