Thursday, April 2, 2009

Midian: The Land of Habitual Strife


Exodus 2:11-15 Time passed. Moses grew up. One day he went and saw his brothers, saw all that hard labor. Then he saw an Egyptian hit a Hebrew--one of his relatives! (12) He looked this way and then that; when he realized there was no one in sight, he killed the Egyptian and buried him in the sand. (13) The next day he went out there again. Two Hebrew men were fighting. He spoke to the man who started it: "Why are you hitting your neighbor?" (14) The man shot back: "Who do you think you are, telling us what to do? Are you going to kill me the way you killed that Egyptian?" Then Moses panicked: "Word's gotten out--people know about this." (15) Pharaoh heard about it and tried to kill Moses, but Moses got away to the land of Midian. He sat down by a well.


Midian means strife, and is the fourth son of Abraham by Keturah, the father of the Midianites (Genesis 25:2; I Chronicles 1:32). It also means: judgment; covering; habit.

To escape punishment for killing the Egyptian, Moses ran away to Midian. He became a stranger in a strange land, separated from his home and family. It took many years after this incident for Moses to be ready to serve God. But he trusted God instead of fearing the king (Hebrews 11:27). We may feel abandoned or isolated because of something we have done. But though we feel afraid and separated, we should not give up. Moses didn't. He trusted God to deliver him, no matter how dark his past or bleak his future.


It is so easy to end up in the land of strife! And, as Midian means, to form a habit of strife. There are times that I just find myself agitated, aggravated, frustrated, irritated...any "ted" you can think of, and I don't really know why. When I am like this, nothing or no one can make me happy. When I am hanging out in Midian, I don't really want to spend time in God's Word, nor do I desire to pray. I have to be disciplined enough to push through my "lack of desire" if I expect to leave Midian victoriously.

Sometimes, instead of pushing through, I linger in Midian longer than I should. This happened to me recently. I was mad at a situation, and it bled over into my relationships with my family. I seemed to be unhappy with my children and my precious wife. I couldn't understand it until my son-in-law mentioned this past Sunday morning in a sermon he was preaching about "Midian meaning strife." As he continued to preach, I continued to meditate on that one phrase. I have spent several hours this week studying the word Midian. In fact, I plan to preach a message this Sunday night entitled, "Leaving the land of Strife."

We must leave the land of strife if we expect God to use us, bless us, or prosper us. If I find myself getting mad very easily, or if I develop a tendency to become offended easily, or have a tougher time than usual to control my tongue, there is a good chance that I am hanging out in "Midian, the land of strife."

It is time God's people stop living and dwelling in disunity and strife. That is not pleasing to God, nor does it help build God's church. In fact, quite the contrary. It tears down His church. I am either a part of the construction team or the demolition team when it comes to building Christ's church. How about you? Are you building up or tearing down? How about at home? Do your kids respect or not respect someone because of your lack of self-control? Are you leading your kids to the Land of strife by your words and actions?

I have seen it happen too many times. Kids develop a dislike, or distrust of the church because parents would not leave the land of strife. In fact, Sunday night I will show through the word that the land of strife is very appealing and attractive to the flesh. Many are content to dwell there. But I must make up my mind to leave this land, if I ever want to be anything for God.


"Lord, I ask you to help me today to leave the land of strife. But before I make a decision to leave Midian, I have to recognize that I am dwelling there. I have been frustrated, irritated, aggravated, agitated for too long. I have become offended too easily. I have pointed my finger at others in contempt but turned a deaf ear to your Holy Spirit as you try to show me that the problem isn't always someone else, but it is me. I need your help today. I need your guidance today. I make the choice to leave the land of strife. I thank you that as I do that, you will give me the strength to make wiser decisions than I am right now. I love you Lord, and thank you for this Word. In Jesus name, amen!"


Pastor Rusty


Rick Bruce said...

Amen, Pastor. Your message truly blessed me today. As you said, we tend to "camp out" in the land of Midian, instead of pushing through. It becomes a stopping and resting point, instead of a "blip" on the map of our journey. Thank you for bringing this to my attention and sharing with us. I know things can look bleak when I dwell on them but, praise God, when I focus on Him, I can leave the land of Midian and walk through to the promised land of God.

I love and appreciate you, my brother, and I thank you again for your message. I am ready to leave Midian and serve the Lord for His purpose and His glory.

Pastor Rusty said...

Rick, what an encourager you are my friend. Thanks for your words. Midian is so easy to dwell in instead of passing through. When we dwell there, it does effect every area of our life, including our testimony. I love you brother!

Beth said...

Ouch! My toes hurt after reading this. I definetly needed this today. Thanks for always sharing what God's lays upon your heart. I want to be part of the construction team and build up those around me and the church.


Pastor Rusty said...

Thanks for your comment Beth. You are a blessing and an awesome administrative assistant! Thanks for all you do! rlb