Reaching our twenties is a major milestone in the lives of many of us. We have become adults. We have left our school days or nearly left them behind us. Even if we have gone on to college often by our early to mid-twenties we have graduated and have moved on to finding a job in our chosen career (hopefully) or are pursuing an advanced degree.
We are not only filled with dreams, we have determined how they are going to be fulfilled. Most of us believe that we see the course our life is going to take and we settle down to make it happen. Of course, things don't always quite work out exactly the way we planned.
Take Moses for example. It is true that life didn't exactly start out very promising for him. There were people in authority who wanted to kill him as a newborn simply because he was male and he was an Israelite. God had other plans for Moses.
Instead of being executed, Moses was raised by Pharaoh's daughter. Egypt was a very wealthy and powerful kingdom back in those days. Moses would have received the finest education, had access to great wealth and been groomed for a powerful position within the government. He appears to have followed that course for the first forty years of his life.
Abruptly, his life changes course. After murdering an Egyptian who was mistreating an Israelite slave, Moses finds himself on the run. Instead of being in the palace, he is fleeing across the desert. Instead of using his talents and ability in the palace, he's herding sheep out on the desert. One job would have been considered to be for "the elite". The other job was for, well truthfully it was often a job left to children or people who were considered to be unfit to do any other sort of labor. Hmm...
For forty years he wandered about the area of northern Arabia and southern Jordan (Midian) as a bedouin shepherd, learning about the surrounding land and how to survive there. At this point, Moses may have felt that his talents were being wasted. After all, he had been trained to be a leader of people, not of sheep out in the middle of nowhere! Can you imagine how hard it must have been to go from a palace to a tent out on the desert? What if that had happened to you? You suddenly discover your "plan" for life was interrupted and you're out in the middle of the desert herding sheep instead. Would you complain to God about your talents being wasted? Would you tell God that sheepherding wasn't exactly your "gift"?
At the time, Moses didn't realize how important these ages and stages of his life were. He didn't realize that he would need the shepherd experience as well as the desert experience forty years later. He didn't know he would eventually be leading upwards of several million people across that very desert.
We have the privilege of hindsight. We can see that Moses would need experience he'd received as a bedouin shepherd as he led those people through the desert. He would need the training he'd received in the court of Pharaoh in order to be a good leader.
For Moses, all these things were important learning experiences which God would use. In our own lives, we will have experiences like this as well. We will feel like we are out on the desert, wasting our talent and abilities. While out on the desert, God may attempt to get us to learn new skills and develop new talents. He has his reasons. Will we cling to the old and reject the new or will we follow Him wherever He leads us and be an apt pupil?
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