As a youngster, I always looked forward to summertime and family reunions on Grandpa’s farm. My cousins and I would thoroughly enjoy climbing into the haymow, running into the pasture and getting into all sorts of mischief. Each year we would reminisce about last years antics and then proceed to make new ones to be shared the following year. My Dad and his five siblings would relate their accomplishments of the year, new babies would be fussed over and the women folk would dish up one of the hardiest down on the farm meals that would cause any mouth to salivate. Reunions can be a sad time as well, such as in the passing of a loved one or the deployment of a family member in the military. God records in his Word, a family gathering that not only entails the sadness of loved ones moving to another country, but also the heart wrenching disappointment of a particular family member choosing to remain behind.
The story begins in the Wilderness of Paran. Moses had led the children of Israel out of Egypt and they were in route to Kadesh-Barnea. As the Cloud of God rested in the wilderness of Paran, Moses and his family took advantage of the opportunity to have a family gathering of sorts. Moses of course, was present as well as his wife Zipporah, their children, Miriam, the sister of Moses, Jethro, her father and Moses’ father-in-law, and Hobab. This is the only place in the Bible that this person is named, and he was the brother of Zipporah. Their father was Jethro, the Midianite.
During the festivities of the gathering Moses has the opportunity to share with Hobab about their journey to the place where God said that He would give them. It would be interesting to know if Hobab responded as most unsaved relatives and sort of tolerated the conversation so as not to cause any ruffled feathers, or perhaps the man was one of those head nodderers who sat there with a sly grin on his face. Irregardless how Hobab responded, Moses took advantage of the opportunity to share His God with his brother-in law. During the conversation, it is recorded in Numbers 10: 29, that Moses asked Hobab to come with them.
The world’s people can come up with a plethora of excuses why they do not want to journey with us to heaven. Some are just down right ridiculous. In verse 30 we learn that Habab stated that he would not go, but that he would depart to his own land, and to his own kindred. Hmmmm! Now wait Hobab, your sister and your father are going with Moses, and they are kindred.! Moses pleaded, “Leave us not, I pray thee, forasmuch as thou knowest how we are to encamp in the Wilderness, and thou mayest be to us instead of eyes.” Hobab had talents that could be used for God, and as a result he would receive any goodness that the Lord bestowed upon Moses and his family………….
Hobab sustained his answer. What could possibly keep him from journeying into the Promise Land with God’s people? Well, let’s check out some historical practices in those days. Jethro, Hobab’s father was not just any ordinary Midianite. He was their high priest. The custom of the Midianites was that when the High Priest stepped down, his oldest son would become the new High Priest of the Midianites. Hobab was the oldest son, and he knew that when he returned to his people there would be much celebration and praise as he accepted this coveted position among the Medianites. The wealth and fame that would be his was just too much for him to sacrifice in order to accompany Moses on their journey.
Isn’t this so typical of the unsaved in today’s world. Instead of accepting the opportunity to spend eternity with the Lord Jesus, they hold onto their fortune, fame and friends. Hobab knew that he had a golden opportunity to begin a new life with his father and sister, but he chose to return to his heathen lifestyle. Can you imagine how Moses must have felt when he returned to his tent to face his dear sweet Zipporah? How he struggled in sharing with her that her brother had refused to journey with them? Perhaps tears of sorrow trickled down the cheeks of this dear lady as she contemplated the fate of her rebellious brother. There are those today, who can relate to the sorrow and heartache that Moses and Zipporah experienced, when a love one refuses to accept Jesus as their Saviour.
The Bible does not specifically state what ever became of Hobab, but we do know that in Numbers chapter 31, the children of Israel under the direction of Moses, after God spoke to him, armed themselves and warred against the Midianites as the Lord commanded; and in verse 7 it states that they slew all the males., and the Kings, and others. Hobab?