the Gershom years


Exodus 2:11-22.

11 Then after Moses had grown up, he went out to his brothers and saw their oppression, and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brothers.   12 He looked this way and that, and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.              13 When he went out the next day, see, two Hebrews were fighting together. And he said to the man in the wrong, “Why do you strike your companion?” 14 He answered, “Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you intend to kill me like you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid, and thought, “Surely the thing has been made known.” 15 When Pharaoh heard of it, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses ran from Pharaoh and stayed in the land of Midian. And he sat down by a well.                  16 Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters, and they came and drew water and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. 17 The shepherds normally came and would drive them away, but Moses stood up and saved them, and watered their flock. 18 When they came home to their father Reuel, he said, “Why have you come home so soon today?”                 19 They said, “An Egyptian rescued us out of the hand of the shepherds and even drew water for us and watered the flock.”            20 He said to his daughters, “Then where is he? Why have you left the man? Call him, that he may eat bread.” 21 And Moses was agreeable to dwell with the man, and he gave Moses his daughter Zipporah. 22 She gave birth to a son, and he called his name Gershom, for he said, “I have been a temporary resident in a foreign land.”

the Gershom years

Having been raised in Pharaoh’s household, Moses was used to taking charge. It was second nature for him to see a problem that needed solving, and jump in with both feet. It had led him to kill the Egyptian, which only served to isolate him from both them and the Hebrews. It had led him to stand up to the shepherds, which had served to connect him to Reuel’s household. But his time in the land of Midian would be a long and surreal journey for him. He would not fit in. His son’s name showed the way he viewed this time. He knew God had a plan for him, and he would feel out of place where he was living. But God also had a purpose for the Gershom years, and Moses had to surrender to that purpose, because it also fit into God’s plan.

LORD, help us to surrender to your temporary purposes as we seek your greater plan for our lives. Help us to live fully in and learn deeply from our Gershom years.

About Jefferson Vann

Jefferson Vann is a former Christian missionary and a candidate for pastoral ministry. You can contact him at -- !
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