Then Moses was content to live with the man, and he gave Zipporah his daughter to Moses. And she bore him a son. He called his name Gershom, for he said, “I have been a stranger in a foreign land.” (Exodus 2:21-22)
The man referred to is Reuel, also called Jethro, who was a chieftain among the Midianite tribes. In time, Moses married one of his daughters and shortly thereafter the Bible records the birth of his firstborn, Gershom. This name literally means “a stranger there” and defines Moses’ status living among people who were, in turn, strange to him. Nevertheless, he adapted to his new surroundings and adopted the vocation of his father-in-law — tending sheep.
To be a stranger in a strange land pretty much sums up the life of God’s people, almost from the very beginning. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and most of those who followed them, considered themselves to be sojourners — living among people who were foreign to them. To God’s glory, even though they were looked upon as foreigners, often they were respected and favored by those they encountered. Then, of course, there are those times when they were seen as the enemy, hence the story of Moses. As a reminder of this, one of the instructions God gave to Israel was:
“You shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the heart of a stranger, because you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 23:9)
As followers of the Messiah, we should all identify with the stranger because we are, indeed, sojourners in this world. Though we all have places we consider to be home, we understand that this present age shall pass away and our present existence doesn’t really represent “home.” In other words, we are citizens of another kingdom and one day we shall all live under the Kingship of our Redeemer. And so, like those who have come before us, who “confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth” (Hebrews 11:3), we sojourn until the day we are raised incorruptible to live with our King for eternity. Only then, will we truly be “home.”
Blessings and Shalom,