The next day Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the people, and they stood round him from morning till evening. 14 When his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, ‘What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand round you from morning till evening?’
15 Moses answered him, ‘Because the people come to me to seek God’s will. 16 Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God’s decrees and instructions.’
It often takes an objective observer to see what is going wrong in a situation, and maybe also to advise on necessary steps to rectify things. Jethro acted as an unsolicited, but extremely valuable ‘consultant’ to his son-in-law. He was newly converted; a freshly minted member of the community, and almost immediately he began to make a difference. You don’t have to be a Christian for a long, long time before you can start to offer meaningful service. Everyone has a contribution to make. The gifts and talents of each one are important and needed, and every person in the church should have the opportunity to use their gifts. (I remember someone observing that a redundant member of the body of Christ may become a ‘grumbling appendix’!)
See the humility Moses showed to listen to this new believer (who was also his father-in-law) and adjust his lifestyle accordingly.
Moses’ ministry entailed helping people to know and do God’s Word, and Jethro’s counsel was aimed at enabling him to fulfil his call in the best and most efficient way possible. The daily life of Israel was to be ordered according to God’s revealed truth. Alec Motyer writes that: ‘…18:13-22 brought them to the point where they learned that the supreme obligation of the Lord’s redeemed is to order their lives by the Lord’s revealed truth.’
Then he adds: ‘It was at this central point that Jethro, the newly converted and welcomed Gentile, played a deeply significant part within Israel. His was a full, practising membership – no second-class citizen or merely officially tolerated entrant, but a fellow-member, who could presumably, had he so chosen (cf.Num.10:29-32) lived on in full fellowship, among Israel.’ ‘The message of Exodus’, p.171.
PRAYER: Teach me, Lord, to value and welcome the contributions of all the members of the church; enable me to be open to all you may want to say and do through others. Help me to not feel threatened by, or jealous of, the gifts you give people, but recognise my need of everyone you bring into your church
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