Desert Training (Devotional)

Phyllis Nissila

I sometimes imagine how it must have been for the shepherd Moses in the desert where he fled after killing the Egyptian, where he spent forty years before leading his people out of slavery into the Promised Land.

Sheep content, sun high, Moses rests in a scrap of shade and looks over his shoulder, again, in Egypt’s direction. “I’m sure I had a ministry there,” he sighs.

Perhaps he believed that taking matters into his own hands and killing the enemy nullified his legitimacy, his usefulness. Perhaps in the first year or two he feared he was too young; thirty, thirty-five years later, too old. Or perhaps, at length, Moses realized a greater purpose in all those years of desert training.

Here in nomad’s land–sheep grazing, family growing, skills sharpening–he had ample time to exchange the Egyptian culture into which he was adopted for the Jewish culture, his heritage. Here was unhurried opportunity to absorb the particulars–and the promises. And perhaps it was in this waiting period Moses came to realize that God’s gifts and callings are “without repentance” (Romans 11:29).

Bible commentator Matthew Henry notes, “(We) never find God repenting that he had given a man grace, or effectually called him.” [1] However and whenever the Master Planner reveals His blueprint for our lives, it isn’t damaged by our guilt or our foolishness. God sent His Son to take care of that. We need but access His forgiveness, transformation, and guidance. And age seems of little importance in the stories of God’s people…

Meanwhile, back in B.C., Pharaoh’s heart is hardening, prophecies are maturing, and Moses is getting closer and closer to that burning bush. God’s plan for him is maturing right on schedule, even as His plan for each of us is right on time, here, now, and into eternity.

[1] Matthew Henry’s Commentary in One Volume, Genesis to Revelation. Zondervan, 1981. 1783.

Photo from the public domain:

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3 Responses to Desert Training (Devotional)

  1. Is that why I’m still where I’m at? i must be still growing. If it took Moses 40 years, then I must be patient. Thank you Phyllis for this devotional thought. May God bless you more and more for the work you do for Him. To God be all the glory!


    • pnissila says:

      Thank you, Marie. And here’s more news about the time length: when it’s right, it’s absolutely right. 🙂 No doubts, and the peace of God accompanies whatever the decision is no matter how difficult.
      Blessings, and Merry Christmas!


  2. Cathy says:

    It took Moses a long time before God used him for his ultimate plan! His time in the desert had been planned before the Foundations of the World!
    Phyllis: excellent topic to think on!


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