Meditation: Exodus 18

Reading: Exodus 18:13-27

Moses is God’s prophet. God speaks to him and Moses tells Israel. Moses is also Israel’s leader. He has understands God’s statutes and laws (vs 16). It therefore is quite natural that he also becomes the people’s judge to settle disputes. However Israel is a nation of many people and there are many disputes to settle. So Moses spends much time and energy acting as judge and making decisions. He is busy all day (vs 13). Indeed he is so busy that his father-in-law Jethro criticises him saying “The thing that you do is not good. Both you and these people who are with you will surely wear yourselves out. For this thing is too much for you” (vs 17, 18). However Jethro is a positive critic, because he also gives good advice. He tells Moses to appoint “able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness … and let them judge the people at all times” (vs 21,22). Notice the qualities: “able men”, that is, men who are willing, able and not afraid to make decisions.  “Such as fear God” that is, who men who are responsible before God, honour Him and have zeal for His cause. “Men of truth” that is, men who are trustworthy, who act truthfully and do as they say; they are not influenced by flattery, desire to be popular or other crooked things which can pervert justice. “Hating covetousness” that is, men who are not eager for money or other material gain, and therefore not open to corruption and injustice. Moses accepts this advice and implements it.

We are all limited in our abilities and resources. Therefore God gives different talents to church members so that the work load is shared. This works two ways: the work should be shared, and each member must carry some of the load. The church cannot function well if some members do not help. He leadership qualities listed by Jethro are also important for the church today.

Key text: Exodus 18:24 “So Moses heeded the voice of his father-in-law and did all that he had said.”

Question: How can Jethro’s good advice help the church today?