Saturday, December 4, 2010

Jethro's Wisdom Helps Moses

By Mary Vee
Exodus 18:12-27

If Jethro kept a journal, he might have written...

The song of the birds woke me this morning.  My stomach was still full from last night's feast with Moses, Aaron, and the elders of Israel. I offered sacrifices to the great God of Israel, then we all sat and talked late into the evening.  

My soul felt a special warmth and encouragement as I listened to their stories from the terrible times in Egypt to God's rescue and direction in the wilderness.  Aaron couldn't stay seated as he told about the battle against the Amalekites. We burst out laughing when he acted out Moses' arms sagging then him rolling a rock for Moses to sit. He wiped fake sweat from his brow before continuing his drama.  

Even Moses wiped tears of laughter then said, "I guess I looked pretty silly. Thanks be to God for giving us the victory that day."

He always knew how to bring every situation back to giving glory to God.  The elders showed their respect for him by nodding in agreement. 

This morning I have been invited to the Israelite camp.  I can't wait to see the people.  Zipporah  and my grandsons are excited to join them as well. 

By the time we arrived, Moses had a long line of people waiting to speak with him.  Zipporah took the boys to meet with friends and quickly bumped into Miriam, Moses' sister. Miriam pulled them over to a group of women their age where the boys also found playmates.

While waiting for Moses I joined a group of the elders where I heard more of their stories about Egypt.  I watched Moses judging the people all day long.  He looked exhausted. How could he get anything done when he judges the people all day?

When the sun set, Moses made the people leave.  He joined me by the fire and warmed his hands.  He closed his eyes for a moment and sighed. I handed him him his dinner. He seemed to tired to eat.  "Moses, what is this thing that you are doing for the people? Why do you sit alone with all the people standing before you from morning until evening?"

He rubbed his eyes and yawned. "Because the people come to me to find what God wants in this or that situation. When they have a difficulty, they come to me and I judge between one and another. I tell them the law's and rules God has made."

Didn't he realize he would make himself sick doing this every day? I had to help. "Moses, what you are doing isn't good. Both you and the Israelites will wear yourselves out. It's too much for you." 

I waited until he had strength from his supper. "You are not able to judge all these people by yourself.  Now, listen to my counsel and God will be with you: Go to God for the people as you have done to learn what God wants you to teach them. Stand before the Israelites and instruct them about God's laws and rules and show them the way they must walk and the work they need to do."

Moses nodded. "I am doing this."

"Yes. But now you must select able men who fear God, men of truth to be rulers over thousands, rulers over hundreds, fifties, and tens. And let them judge the people at all times. When a big problem comes their way, they will bring it to you; but every small problem they themselves will judge. In this way the burden will be shared with you."

He sat back in his chair and closed his eyes. "Jethro, your wisdom is a comfort to me.  I will do as you say."

The next morning Moses turned the people away. He called a group men together and chose rulers then taught them what to do.  At dinner time he laughed and told stories as he had before. That was when I knew I could leave my daughter Zipporah and my grandsons with him. 

The next morning I gathered my things to return home and kissed my family. "God be with you. I love you all."

Moses hugged me. "Thank you for your wisdom, for bringing Zipporah and the boys. I'll miss you."

So I left for home, sad but joyful.


1. Why was Moses so tired?
2. What did Jethro tell Moses to do?
3. Why do you think God had Jethro teach Moses this lesson instead of telling Moses Himself?
4. Did Moses do what Jethro said?
5. How would this lesson help you?

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