Good morning everybody. Our passage from the Bible today is Exodus Chapter 18. It is a different but I think a really interesting chapter.
We see something of the family life of Moses, and in particular his relationship with Jethro, his father-in-law, who is the priest of Midian. The Midianites are a particular people group who pop up from time to time in the OT story. I am presuming (though I do not know for sure) that he is a priest of a different religion. I am being slightly cautious because apparently his other name, Reuel, used back in Chapter 2 when Moses first meets him, means ‘friend of God’. However, whatever he was before, it is clear that after hearing the work of the LORD in rescuing the Israelites from Egypt, Jethro makes a clear profession of faith (v.11) that the LORD is above all other gods.It takes us back to the promises first made to Abraham back in Genesis Ch.12, that he and his offspring should be a blessing to all the nations and not just their own. The Lord and His Son are not just for the few, but for the many.
The 2nd part of the chapter from v.13 onwards, is about Moses being the judge, the dispute-solver, for the Israelites. Here is an irony, because back in Ch.2, when Moses had just started out, before his commissioning from God, when trying to solve a dispute between 2 Hebrews, one had asked him, ‘Who made you ruler and judge over us?’
But the other key teaching point from this chapter is Jethro’s advice to his son-in-law that he won’t be able to do all this judging work by himself. ‘What you are doing is not good. You will wear yourself out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone.’ (vs.17-18). And Jethro’s advice is all about delegation, about sharing the load, about teaching others their responsibilities, about having the right officials, who fear God and are trustworthy (v.21), about having some kind of tiered system . All of which Moses listened to and then put into practice (vs.24-26).
And of course the New Testament model of church is the same. No one person can do it all. We saw an example in Acts Ch.6 in our recent Sunday morning series, and we read about it in Paul’s teaching about the body in various passages, that we all have different gifts and abilities; and a healthy church needs to share out responsibility, that we all need to play our part in the life of the church. ‘Sorry Lord, when I take upon too much of the work myself, and think that I am indispensable for the church to flourish.’
From our extended church address list, let us remember in our prayers today,- Andrew- George & Pat