April 16, 2019

Relationships Matter, So Choose Wisely

Exodus 18

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Jethro's Advice

Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses' father-in-law, heard of all that God had done for Moses and for Israel his people, how the LORD had brought Israel out of Egypt. Now Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, had taken Zipporah, Moses' wife, after he had sent her home, along with her two sons. The name of the one was Gershom (for he said, “I have been a sojourner1 in a foreign land”), and the name of the other, Eliezer2 (for he said, “The God of my father was my help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh”). Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, came with his sons and his wife to Moses in the wilderness where he was encamped at the mountain of God. And when he sent word to Moses, “I,3 your father-in-law Jethro, am coming to you with your wife and her two sons with her,” Moses went out to meet his father-in-law and bowed down and kissed him. And they asked each other of their welfare and went into the tent. Then Moses told his father-in-law all that the LORD had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel's sake, all the hardship that had come upon them in the way, and how the LORD had delivered them. And Jethro rejoiced for all the good that the LORD had done to Israel, in that he had delivered them out of the hand of the Egyptians.

10 Jethro said, “Blessed be the LORD, who has delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians and out of the hand of Pharaoh and has delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians. 11 Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods, because in this affair they dealt arrogantly with the people.”4 12 And Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and sacrifices to God; and Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat bread with Moses' father-in-law before God.

13 The next day Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood around Moses from morning till evening. 14 When Moses' father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, “What is this that you are doing for the people? Why do you sit alone, and all the people stand around you from morning till evening?” 15 And Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God; 16 when they have a dispute, they come to me and I decide between one person and another, and I make them know the statutes of God and his laws.” 17 Moses' father-in-law said to him, “What you are doing is not good. 18 You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone. 19 Now obey my voice; I will give you advice, and God be with you! You shall represent the people before God and bring their cases to God, 20 and you shall warn them about the statutes and the laws, and make them know the way in which they must walk and what they must do. 21 Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. 22 And let them judge the people at all times. Every great matter they shall bring to you, but any small matter they shall decide themselves. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. 23 If you do this, God will direct you, you will be able to endure, and all this people also will go to their place in peace.”

24 So Moses listened to the voice of his father-in-law and did all that he had said. 25 Moses chose able men out of all Israel and made them heads over the people, chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. 26 And they judged the people at all times. Any hard case they brought to Moses, but any small matter they decided themselves. 27 Then Moses let his father-in-law depart, and he went away to his own country.

Footnotes

[1] 18:3 Gershom sounds like the Hebrew for sojourner
[2] 18:4 Eliezer means My God is help
[3] 18:6 Hebrew; Samaritan, Septuagint, Syriac behold
[4] 18:11 Hebrew with them

Relationships Matter, So Choose Wisely



Key Verse | Exodus 18:10-12a

Jethro said, "Blessed be the Lord, who has delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians and out of the hand of Pharaoh and has delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians. Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods, because in this affair they dealt arrogantly with the people." And Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and sacrifices to God . . . .

Bio | Brooke Ann Battles

Hello, Journey fam! I have had the pleasure of living in the Fort for 15 years. I love its diversity as well as its cowboy culture—so much so that I finally bought my first pair of boots. I spend my days in a local high school, supporting teachers and students as a literacy coach. I spend my Monday nights serving in re:generation, Watermark's recovery ministry where we get to share about Christ's immense love and the lasting freedom that can only be found in Him. My prayer is that I would live in a way that exalts Christ and communicates that this freedom is available to all!

Central Truth

Relationships matter. The company we keep can build us up or tear us down. We must surround ourselves with Christ followers that we can emulate. God provided a mentor for Moses in his father-in-law Jethro. Their relationship was based on respect, transparency, wise counsel, and teachability.

Devotional | Exodus 18

This passage offers a glimpse into the relationship between Moses and Jethro—one that was loving, respectful, transparent, teachable, and humble. We see the first indication in Exodus 18:7,...

This passage offers a glimpse into the relationship between Moses and Jethro—one that was loving, respectful, transparent, teachable, and humble. We see the first indication in Exodus 18:7, "Moses went out to meet his father-in-law and bowed down and kissed him. And they asked each other of their welfare and went into the tent." It is evidenced by their greeting that their relationship was one of love and respect, and they genuinely cared for one another.

Second, Moses was open, transparent, and faithful in proclaiming what God had done, and this made an impact on Jethro's recognition of the Lord. In Exodus 18:1, we know that Jethro had heard of the miraculous ways God delivered Moses and the Israelites. But it added credibility when he heard Moses proclaiming firsthand what God had done. "Then Moses told his father-in-law all that the LORD had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel's sake, all the hardship that had come upon them in the way, and how the LORD had delivered them. Jethro rejoiced for all the good that the LORD had done to Israel, in that he had delivered them out of the hand of the Egyptians. Jethro said, 'Blessed be the LORD, who has delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians and out of the hand of Pharaoh and has delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians.'" (Exodus 18:8-10)

Third, the relationship between the two was mutually sharpening. Jethro saw an opportunity to speak truth—he offered constructive, objective advice to help Moses create an efficient, organized system to settle disputes. What Moses did in response is worthy of emulation—he listened. Moses was teachable and responded well to Jethro's loving, wise counsel. Moses was humble, and his ministry was helped by his humility, not hindered by his pride.  

My life has been enriched by my mentor, Violeta, and the counsel she has provided over the years. Her wisdom has made exponential impact on my relationship with Christ. Her influence and wise words are invaluable to me!

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Discussion Questions

1. Jethro heard that God rescued the Israelites, and it was confirmed by Moses' testimony. There are those who have a front row seat to how you respond to the circumstances, problems, and struggles in life. What do you need to be more transparent about in proclaiming God's goodness and work in your life? Who can you tell this week about what God has done in your life? 

2. Is there anyone in your life who is a bad influence or offers unwise counsel? Is there anyone who doesn't need to be in your sphere of influence? What changes can you make today?

3. Are you providing wise counsel to those around you? How much of the mentoring/counseling you give is informed by Scripture? Is there anything preventing you from saying, "Follow Me as I follow Christ"? Ask the Lord to search your heart and make any adjustments that need to be made.

4. Who are the "Jethros" in your life? How can you encourage them as they have encouraged/supported you? If you don't currently have one in your life, ask the Lord to provide!

11 Comments available

Jay Caruso 1 day ago

Great devotional brooke. The one thing I got out of this chapter was a mentor I’m struggling with that part of my walk and need a lot of prayer for me too release my pride I think find a mentor and That i can connect with and guide and give me Tough and gratifying counsel

Michael Scaman 3 days ago

Jethro means excellent. He had another name Ruel which is friend of God.

His advice can be taken many ways. There’s something healthy about getting more people involved in the work as long as it’s supervised properly.

Before anyone serves Jesus, Jesus must serve them first. “The Son of man has not come to be served but to serve and to give his life a ransom for many” So the people should have grace for the work they need to do as well.

greg jones 3 days ago

@Hugh there’s this guy who has a unique way of teaching.

https://peteenns.com/finally-positive-biblical-proof-that-god-is-yankee-fan/

Michael Scaman 3 days ago

“…Moses’ father-in-law, had taken Zipporah, Moses’ wife, after he had sent her home, 3 along with her two sons. …”

I wonder when Moses sent his wife and sons home? Difficulty of traveling? Strife over circumcision? but maybe if the Bible doesn’t explain this we should not be overly concerned about it either.

greg jones 3 days ago

“Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods, because in this affair they dealt arrogantly with the people.”

Q4 Jethro, the priest of Midian, apparently offered his services to many gods for the people in that area. In that regard I have no Jethros. But I do have people who recognize the same God as I although they come from a different tradition. Much like the picture you would get in verse 12 with one God greater than the other gods being the common denominator.

Great devotional, great comments so far today.

Lindsey Driscoll 3 days ago

Great devo Brooke. As I was pregnant, sick and busy last week I thought a lot about how I had to do many things on my own. We see in 18:17, 18:21-23 that from Jethro’s encouragement there were other capable Israelites to help Moses so he did not try to shoulder the weight of all of the hundreds of thousands of people. We have seen Moses cry out “Lord what am I to do with these people;(17:4)” as if he feels he is the only one to bring order to Israel. What a blessing that the Lord provides brothers and sisters in Christ who are capable of helping us and reminding us of God’s goodness and provision of others around us, just like Jethro did.

Sue Bohlin 3 days ago

Wonderful devo, Brooke Ann, thank you! I loved your Q2 about who to stop listening to–the opposite of responding to God’s gift of the wise Jethros in our lives. Years ago a wise speaker talked about who’s on the “board of directors” of our lives, the people we listen to even if they are not actually in our lives, such as the apostle Paul and wise writers of books. And some people should be kicked off our board, such as a critical parent or teacher who continues to berate and undermine us in our heads. It is so freeing to kick that person out of our head and refuse to listen to the tapes of their voice! Much better to seek out a Jethro or two. (2 of mine are John Townsend and Henry Cloud, who wrote the Boundaries books.)

Hope Harris 3 days ago

GM JTJ Peeps! Verses 13-26 stood out to me as well. Jethro was observant and wise to help Moses learn to pace himself and equip others to share the workload.

It’s easy for me to spiral towards emotional and spiritual burnout when I don’t rely on God and follow the the example of surrounding myself with others who can walk with me on the mission God has called me to do,

The last two days of reflection in Exodus has shown me the value of not engaging in ministry alone and equipping others to share the workload.

Hugh Stephenson 3 days ago

Open question - 13 times Jethro is named “father-in-law”. That seems significant. Yet, I can’t find edification in the commentaries. Does any one have any insight on this?

Hugh Stephenson 3 days ago

At CLC there was a discussion of the kind of people that you want in an organization; faithful, available and teachable - or F.A.T.

2 Timothy 3:16 - I see God demonstrating that both Jethro and Moses were F.A.T… Moreover, Jethro’s advice was to appoint other F.A.T. people.

Constable links Jethro to Melchizedek as another “righteous gentile” that appears and blesses Moses (Abraham).

But am I F.A.T? Well of course I am! Most of the time. Sort of.

Years ago, I was taught that most people want affirmation, not transformation. They are not teachable. That is a tough issue for me. I want praise, not correction.

Jethro is a good model. HOW he taught Moses might be a better lesson that WHAT he taught him.

Q4 – My Jethros? Best one is Amy.

In ministry - Jay, Steve, Jim, Larry, Ginny, Kelly, Terry

In business - Peter, Sandy, Jamie, Larry.

Julie Newmeyer 3 days ago

Crazy how God puts everything together. I was speaking with my pastor’s wife (and best friend) yesterday and we were talking about some discussion Qs from a bible study: “What type of company do you keep? Do your closest rela consist of those who’re saved & freed but only halfheartedly pursue God’s heart? Do your friends arouse in you a pursuit for more of God?” Then asks to make a list of the 5 closest ppl we spend our time with. She stated that our rela is one that is, “challenging each other to know God more…just because God is worth the rela. God is worth the time & we’re worth becoming who God created us to be. Naturally the effect of that will be serving Him, but it has to start with us & our heart toward God.”

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