We continue to explore people in the Bible, and today it is the turn of Zipporah.
Recognise her name? Mmm, nor did I. She was the wife of Moses. On the run in the desert Moses came across some women with their sheep, being harassed by male shepherds. One imagines that these women would be accustomed to dealing with this kind of annoyance, but Moses was roused to act in a chivalrous manner and saw off their tormentors. These seven sisters then took him home to meet their dad, Jethro.
By way of thanks, Jethro invited Moses to stay and help with the livestock, and then gave him Zipporah’s hand in marriage. We read in Exodus that ‘Moses was willing to dwell with the man, and he gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses.’ (Exodus 2:21) They had two sons, but their union was not a picture of homely bliss. She and Moses lived in the desert for forty years before Moses encountered God in the burning bush, and then he went off on this crazy mission back to Egypt. One can readily believe that Zipporah was an industrious and resourceful woman.
There are two aspects of this woman I ponder today. One is that God did not enable Moses to choose a wife from among the Hebrew slaves in Egypt. Formational years in the desert were particularly necessary for Moses, brought up in the comfort of the Egyptian palace. As a novice desert dweller, one imagines a slave woman may not have been endowed sufficiently with skills to support and aid her companion.
I have read that the years of his carpentry provided Jesus with the necessary physical toughness to endure his life of ministry out in the open. Jewish carpenters of that time were required to obtain their wood from living trees, cutting them down and conveying them back to the workshop themselves. Equipping people for specific situations is what God does, and it often takes years.
The second aspect of Zipporah I ponder is that God provided a wife for his ace leader from another tribe, the daughter of a Midianite priest. While we see that Midian was a son of Abraham and his wife Keturah, (Genesis 25:2) in Numbers there is an account of the Israelites at war with Midian.
This is not the first time we see this sort of union with other tribes in the Old Testament. Boaz married Ruth, a Moabite woman, and the shameful origins of that tribe can be read in Genesis 19: 30-38. Ruth and Boaz became the descendants of Jesse, father of King David. Apart from perhaps expanding the gene pool, we see that God did not consider the nation of his people a closed club.
So I leave you with these two questions. For what could God be equipping you? And are we, as the Body of Christ, really willing to invite outsiders into the family?
May God’s peace be on you today.