Moses learned all about patience in the wilderness. For the better part of 40 years, he herded sheep from place to place without the help of a collie. Instead, he used his rod and his staff. It is thought that the rod was used like a javelin and thrown ahead of the sheep to herd them. Because sheep are somewhat skittish, this saved the lone shepherd from trying to run ahead of the sheep and herd them in the opposite direction.
I grew up on a farm, not with sheep, but with a hundred head of cattle (give or take a few steaks here and there). My Dad constructed a 3-tiered cedar fence all around the property to keep the cattle from wandering, but every once in a while a cow with a leadership gift would plow through the fence, leading the rest of the herd to the neighbour’s property. Before long, we would get the phone call informing us of their escape and their exact whereabouts.
Arriving on the scene, my Dad would quickly assess which one was the leader, that is, the cow who had gone the farthest fastest. Most times, she was also the fullest, having filled her stomach(s) with apples or some other delicacy that couldn’t be found on the Golan farm. The followers did what followers do and they were a reluctant bunch to get back home. The more neighbours involved in the raid, the quicker and easier it was to round up the cattle and herd them into the barn while my Dad fixed the fence. But on the occasions when it was just my Dad and me, it was always a test of his patience.
So when Moses faces Pharoah again and again, he is experienced in perseverance. With the utmost in patience and humility, he couriers messages back and forth between God and Pharoah as many times as needed for Pharoah to sign the papers.
We know from the account in Exodus 7 right through to chapter 12 that some time has passed while Pharoah plays “Deal or No Deal” with God and Moses. But God is not into deal-making. Also known for His patience, He remains composed while executing His plan with precision and even goes so far as to harden Pharoah’s heart a few times just to make a better bedtime story for the grandkids (Exodus 10:2).
While Pharoah thinks he’s in control, God indicates differently. In fact, at one point, God reveals the purpose for Pharoah’s existence plain and clear and lets him know exactly who is Boss. With the introduction of each new plague, Pharoah has a change of heart but when things go his way, he chooses again and again to save his ego.
God states the ultimate purpose in all of this: that everyone will know He is the Lord. Even though every one of us has a unique calling, our ultimate purpose is the same today: to glorify God so that the world will know Him.
It’s not about your gifts, talents and abilities, although God will use those things. It’s about trusting Him with the plan for your life, that ultimately, whatever you go through and wherever you end up, God will work His purpose in and through your life. You were born for this very purpose. And no matter who you are, He can use you to make a difference.
Have you ever struggled to know your purpose? Why do you think you’re here?
“But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”