The story of Moses has always captivated me. I love the miraculous stories throughout his life – the parting of the sea, the epic ways God revealed himself to Pharoah, etc… And while those events are incredible, what captives me the most is the 40 years he spent as a shepherd in Midian. I know what you’re thinking, BORING! There is nothing interesting about being a shepherd in a desert! But hang with me for a second.
We don’t have a lot of information about Moses being in Midian for 40 years, we just know that 40 years is a long time! After living a life of privilege as a prince of Egypt and having huge dreams – one murderous event changed the course of his life. After killing an Egyptian, Moses flees to Midian and becomes a shepherd for 40 years. And what captivates me about this is that God already knew Moses was going to be one the greatest leaders ever written about, yet places him in a desert for 40 years. Gee, thanks God. But what seems like “just 40 years in a desert” is really God’s 40 year strategic plan of preparation for Moses. 40 YEARS!!!!!!
Allow me put this into perspective for you – 40 years ago Jimmy Carter was president. The internet wasn’t even invented. The Atari was released. Elvis died. The first Star Wars was released in theaters. And I wasn’t even alive yet! That’s a long time ago if you think about it like that. So for 40 years Moses is living on his father-in-laws land without internet, shepherding their flock. But while he felt like he was doing nothing with his life and possibly haunted by his past, this was all a part of God’s 40 year strategy plan for him.
In those 40 years, God was preparing Moses to learn what life was like in the wilderness. He would learn things that we take for granted today – how to sleep in the wilderness, how to find water in a wilderness, learn the wildlife and plant life. Because, unfortunately or fortunately (however you want to see it), Moses would spend another 40 years wondering in a desert. But this time he’d have an estimated 2 million people following him. What some would see as a waste of time, this 40 year plan was God preparing Moses to learn the way of the wilderness. This 40 year plan was how God would shape Moses to become one of the greatest leaders ever written about.
I would like to think that while Moses was leading the Israelites around in the wilderness, he would often look back on that 40 year time of preparation and not complain about it, but rather be thankful that God was preparing him for the greatest movement of his time.
We don’t get to determine how long our time of preparation is, but understand that what you do in that time has a lot to do with how you handle the future God has for you. Your 40 year plan of preparation may only be 4 years at a college, or 10 years of learning on a job, or perhaps 40 years as a shepherd without internet, but regardless of the time it takes, the 40 year plan is necessary. Because whatever you’re doing right now is preparing you for your tomorrow.