The best way to remain rooted in life is to realize who you are and who God is.
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Exodus 18 (ESV)
the priest of Midian,
heard of all that God had done
and for Israel his people,
how the Lord had brought Israel out of Egypt.
2 Now Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, had taken Zipporah, Moses’ wife, after he had sent her home, 3 along with her two sons.
of the one was Gershom (for he said, “I have been a sojourner in a foreign land”),
4 and the name of the other, Eliezer (for he said,
“The God of my father was my help,
and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh”).
5 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.
6 And when he sent word to Moses,
“I, your father-in-law Jethro,
am coming to you with your wife and her two sons with her,”
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.
8 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.
9 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.”
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!
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.
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.
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Exodus 18 Summary
Moses' Father-in-Law shows up and sees how overwhelmed Moses is in trying to administrate and adjudicate life in the Israelite community. Moses clearly has the right idea: when problems arise, the solution will be found by seeking and applying God's law.
But with so many grumbling people, Moses was being overwhelmed in trying to seek God's will in each and every case on his own. Jethro comes in and provides sage advice which has been used by God's people ever since: Surround yourself with respected, godly men and trust them to follow God's leading.
This chapter certainly has good advice on administration and the value of solid leadership for a community, but there's a little gem v4 that's even more interesting:
The name of one of Moses' sons was Gershom (for he said, “I have been a sojourner in a foreign land”), and the name of the other, Eliezer (for he said, “The God of my father was my help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh”).
One of the reasons Moses was able to stay rooted while the people around him were so fickle was that Moses understood his situation in life so clearly that the names he chose for his sons reflect it. Whereas most people have an instinct to find immediate comfort in life and to constantly worry about every problem that crops up, Moses knew that lasting comfort must wait until they arrived in the Promised Land, and that God would continually supply their every need.
You need to keep this in mind as well, otherwise you're making yourself prone to becoming like the faithless grumblers wandering through the desert. Like Gershom, realize that this world is not your home, but that you're a pilgrim, making your way to the Promised Land, and like Eliezer, remember that the God of your fathers has been and always will be your help.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our blessed God, who has delivered us out of slavery (v9)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you will live as a pilgrim, focused on the Promised Land, and thank God for His never ending provision in your life.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: