April 12, 2016

What You Learn While Tending Sheep

Exodus 3:1-3

Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian.

—  Exodus 3:1

During the years while he lived in Midian, Moses often had to learn and practice humility. Back in Egypt he had acquired knowledge and power. Then in Midian, where he spent forty years as a foreigner and a shepherd, he realized that there were many times when he wasn’t in control of his situation and he didn’t know as much as he thought he knew. 

The work of tending sheep taught Moses more than humility. Sheep need shepherds to lead them to green pastures and quiet waters. They need shepherds to separate aggressive sheep from timid sheep, ward off predators, and keep strays from wandering. Moses learned how to do these things for his sheep in preparation for having to do them for God’s people.

Israel would need someone to lead them in a way that directed their attention to God. That’s humble leadership. Israel would also need someone who could lead them to food, water, and safety, and who could gather them when they wandered. That’s capable leadership.

It’s a mark of God’s love for his people that he prepared Moses so well to be their leader. Later God showed his love by sending Jesus to lead us, through his death and resurrection, out of our own slavery from sin and into life. That’s where we become recipients of his wonderful leadership, if we accept his love.

Thank you, Father, for sending us the perfect leader, Jesus Christ. Thank you, Jesus, for leading us into full life by your death and resurrection. Amen.

About the author — David Den Haan

Pastor Dave Den Haan has served at Fairway Christian Reformed Church in Jenison, Michigan, since 1999. Previously he served a church in Minnesota. Dave and his wife, Connie, have three children.

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