As we have gone through the Exodus series, Rick recently covered a passage of scripture that contained a verse that popped out at me:
And Moses was content to dwell with the man, and he gave Moses his daughter Zipporah. She gave birth to a son, and he called his name Gershom, for he said, “I have been a sojourner in a foreign land.” (Exodus 2:21-22)
Moses was in inner turmoil. He had just committed a major crime in the name of social justice, and was now on the run. He went from living in comfort to living as a nomadic fugitive. But really the passage above describes Moses best. He was a “sojourner”, a foreigner. He exemplified what God’s people have always been. Ever since God specifically called out Abraham, God’s people were known as sojourners.
Another way to think about the idea of a sojourner, is that a sojourner is a “spiritually curious God-seeking traveler who has intersected the missional community [of God]” (Tangible Kingdom Primer, 2009). Isn’t that what Moses was? He was restless, disturbed, out of place, and he knew something was up, but he didn’t know what that something was. So it says that he was content to dwell or settle in the land of Midian, but God heard another group of sojourners who had settled in the land of Egypt. He heard their groaning and set about to deliver them, using a cowardly sojourner in the land of Midian.
As Moses discovered the purpose of his sojourning (the burning bush experience in Exodus 3), he was forced to face THREE realities that you and I also must confront:
- Stay or Go — Moses was settling down, building a family, and safe from the hand of Pharaoh. God was calling Him to go and sacrifice his newfound comfort, safety, security, and stability; he was the hero in this land and no doubt felt the perks of this land. Would Moses be content to STAY? Moses and Zipporah remembered that ultimately they were sojourners, and sojourners are NOT settlers. Sojourners GO! They understand that to follow God means to take risks, make sacrifices, and endure change, but also that following God holds the potential for blessing, adventure, and hope! What challenges, fears or barriers exist that keep you from following God’s call to go?
- Live in the Tension — Can you imagine telling your newly acquired family and friends, “God is calling me to go and deliver an enslaved people from one of the most powerful rulers this world has ever seen”???? They would think you are nuts! To follow God sometimes means moving into new culture or community that implies tension. Following God means coming to terms with the reality that your new call is not dependent on what you “bring to the table.” It is about relying on God’s power and timing, which if you’re new to following God, rarely goes as one might expect, but never leaves one wanting! Tension though? Oh yah!
- Be willing to Cross… — Imagine Jesus walking into your room right now and asking you to follow Him. Where would He call you to go? Just as Moses was called to cross into new territory, Jesus is calling all who would follow Him to cross your fence/cubicle space to reach a neighbor or co-worker; cross your street to reach someone who is close in proximity but far relationally; and finally to cross a social, political, or ethnic barrier. Jesus’ circle was mostly made up of people from diverse backgrounds. He was willing to go to the cross so that we would move from sojourner, foreigner, and exile, to adopted child of God. He calls us to participate in helping others along that journey as well.
“He is wooing you from the jaws of distress to a spacious place free from restriction, to the comfort of your table laden with choice food.” (Job 36:16)
Are you spiritually curious? Restless? Wanting more in your walk with Him?
God may just be beckoning you toward Him on an amazing adventure, that will challenge and stretch you but where you will find faith, comfort, hope, and love! His name is Jesus.