Moses and the far side of the desert

You probably have read these words many times, “3 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God” (Exodus 3:1). Maybe today you feel a bit like Moses. Expectations and dreams shattered, and out of a sense of self preservation you have fled. Whether your running from a situation, people, or yourself, self-imposed exile isn’t always a bad thing. It isn’t always a good thing either. Moses may have wandered if he was loved by God, whether or not he had missed his calling. When we run from God, we don’t run alone. He isn’t as far from us as we think.

Moses was 40 years old when he runs to the desert desperate for the protection that the wilderness may afford. I wonder if Moses thought his life was over? He had gone from the palace and provision of Pharaoh to the sun and sand of the desert. Moses, may have thought he was abandoning his post in the kingdom of God, but what he discovers and what we need to remember that even in the desert, God isn’t done with the hiders. The very next verse and the rest of the chapter tells how Moses sees a burning bush, and goes to investigates. And the rest is history…

But that phrase, “the far side of the desert,” caught my attention today. How often do we think we are on the far side of the desert? Whether self-imposed or conditioned by our experiences, we are there thinking we are alone. In those moments of solitude and separation from society, we should remember that God hasn’t abandoned us. Moses was a murderer, but he was also sent to the desert to grow and learn. May we learn from our desert times too, that no matter what our pasts are, there is no place beyond the reach of our God.

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About Jason Retherford

The random musings of a youth minister.
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