Marriage and Ministry (Exodus 18–Zipporah)

Moses and ZipporahZipporah and her sons were reunited with Moses in our reading this week, and that reunion has a lot to teach us. First, we don’t know how long Moses and Zipporah had been separated. As we learned earlier, many scholars believe that after the incident on the way to Egypt, Zipporah and her sons turned back and lived with her parents while Moses went on to Egypt alone. That would mean that Zipporah did not experience the plagues, the parting of the Red Sea or the initial miracle of manna. It would also indicate that Zipporah and Moses’ marriage was not the compatible partnership that we might have anticipated that it was.

We might imagine that for Christians, especially for people called to full-time ministry as Moses was, marriage would be nothing but a blessing. Often that is not the case. Marriage is hard. Ministry is hard. Put those two things together and you get double hard. The Bible does not claim that marriage will not be hard, in fact in Matthew 19, when Jesus explains the responsibilities of marriage to His disciples, they responded, “If such is the case of the man and his wife, it is better not to marry.” Jesus agreed that marriage was not for everyone.

On the other hand, we know that marriage was created by God and that it is meant to be a good thing. Though there may be times of great struggle, remaining faithful in marriage carries blessings. We don’t know how long Zipporah and Moses were separated or what transpired between them, but we do know that they eventually began living together again, hopefully peacefully.

In the book, The Good News About Marriage, by Shaunti Feldhahn, the author sites a study that asked a huge group of married couples to rate their marriages as very happy, happy, neutral, unhappy or very unhappy. Of the couples that reported their marriages to be unhappy or very unhappy, if they stayed married for another five years, when asked again to rate their marriages, 2/3 of them reported that their marriages where now happy or very happy! Isn’t that remarkable?

This statistic gives us scientific reason to believe what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13:7 that, “love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things.” We can have real hope that just because things may be miserable today does not mean that it will always be that way.

If, like Zipporah, you find yourself in a marriage that looks nothing like a Hallmark movie, do not fall into a pit of discouragement. God can change situations and people. He can restore and heal. He can give us enough grace to forgive and be forgiven. After all, He tells us in Jeremiah 32:27, “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?”
(For those who have missed any of the previous lessons, you can go to and view all previous postings.)

Week Twelve

Day 1: Exodus 13:1-22 (Hebrew Women)
Day 2: Exodus 14:1-31 (Hebrew Women)
Day 3: Exodus 15:1-27 (Miriam)
Day 4: Exodus 16:1-36 (Hebrew Women)
Day 5: Exodus 18:1-26 (Zipporah)