Now Moses said to Hobab son of Reuel the Midianite, Moses’ father-in-law, “We are setting out for the place about which the Lord said, ‘I will give it to you.’ Come with us and we will treat you well, for the Lord has promised good things to Israel.” He answered, “No, I will not go; I am going back to my own land and my own people.” But Moses said, “Please do not leave us. You know where we should camp in the wilderness, and you can be our eyes. If you come with us, we will share with you whatever good things the Lord gives us.” So they set out from the mountain of the Lord… (Numbers 10:29–32)
Hobab was Moses’ brother-in-law, tied through marriage. Moses appeals to him to join them as the Israelites leave Mount Siani for Canaan. Hobab first says no, for he wants to return to his people. But Moses pleads with him, knowing he’ll be an asset in the wilderness. The biblical account doesn’t tell us what made Hobab change his mind and join Moses. Was it a conviction from God that this was the right way forward? Pity or compassion for Moses? A puffed-up desire to be a hero?
We don’t know. It could be a combination of the above, for we often have mixed reasons in undertaking new ventures. And even though our hearts may not be clean and pure, God still uses us. He changes our sometimes divided heart, cleansing the black and gunge and making us clean.
When I’m out walking in the park by our home in north London, often I’m in my own world. One day, however, I heard another American accent. After walking past I felt the nudge to talk to her, but I resisted. As I continued my circuit the feeling remained. Finally I struck up a conversation and learned that the woman was newly transplanted, having come from Iowa, the state right next to my native Minnesota, and had been feeling lonely and disconnected. Our conversation brought her encouragement, and I was grateful that I had heeded God’s nudge to reach outside my comfort zone and share his love.
On a much larger scale, Hobab changed his plans radically as he said yes to Moses. Moses was then able to follow God in the wilderness through the ark, complemented by Hobab’s hands-on experience. A good partnership resulted. As you reflect on Moses and Hobab, consider how God might want to mold you this day and this week. How might 2016 shape up as you hear and heed his voice?
Prayer: Lord, make my heart my heart soft and help me heed your nudges. Amen.