Yesterday we looked at Moses' impulsiveness.
Let's look at his CV for a moment:
Age 0: The only survivor of Pharoah's "Hebrew Male Genocide."
Age 1- aprox 20: Adopted as the Princess' son with the education
and privileges of royalty.
Age +-20-25: Murders an Egyptian, trashing all his privileges, has to flee.
The next 40 years: A wandering shepherd in Midian, married with two sons.
One can imagine that the young Moses was urbane and educated. His rash murder of the Egyptian demonstrated his confidence and sense of invincibility. But the years of his exile wore away his confidence. Our text verses show the extent of the depression and regret he has dropped into. "I have become an alien in a foreign land."
Forty years is the amount of time he waited in Midian. In Biblical symbolism forty has become the number of waiting, preparation, separation, renewal and refocusing.
- The flood was for forty days
- Israel wandered the desert for forty years
- Moses spent forty days on Mount Sinai receiving the Law
- Joshua, Caleb and the spies were in the land for forty days
- Elijah walked forty days to get to Horeb to hear from God
- Jesus was tempted in the wilderness for forty days
After forty years God called Moses at the burning bush to lead Israel out of slavery. One of the excuses is that Moses offers is that he is "slow of speech and tongue." I often jokingly suggest that forty years of herding sheep made Moses a stutterer - "Ba-aa-ah!"
Forty years: A time of waiting. A time of unlearning impulsiveness. A time to forgive yourself for past failures. A time to learn about the beauty of the land, the simplicity of the rhythms of work, rest, marriage and parenting. Forty years to forget the gods of Egypt and have one's heart ready for the call of the one true God.
Moses may have always been slow of speech, or he may have learned it in the wilderness. There is no doubt that in view of the leadership task ahead of him, he needed a good deposit of quietness and simplicity.
Is there room for quiet simplicity in your life?