Can you imagine being put in charge of a bunch of crabby, ungrateful people? Can you imagine to struggle to do what's right, handling situations and messing up with these people? If any of the above are a yes for you, then you are in good company with Moses. This week's devotion isn't about Moses, though. It's about his father-in-law, Jethro. But to get to know Jethro, you will usually see him with Moses and briefly through his daughter. To be able to have such a wise man to help guide Moses would have been awesome!
Jethro, also referred to as Reuel, is seen in Exodus 2:18-21. He was the priest of Midian and the father of Zipporah, Moses' wife. He had seven daughters who herded his flocks. Because they were being harassed by some shepherds, Moses protected them and saved the flock when he saw what was happening. Moses was referred to as an Egyptian by the young women. He had just come from Egypt, so he still looked like one. It would be unheard of normally for an Egyptian to be so kind to Israelites. Jethro found out about it, wanting to reward this kind man, he told them to go get Moses so they could have him join them for dinner. Jethro had seven daughters and lived in the middle of nowhere, so he offered his daughter, Zipporah, as a wife to Moses. Evidently, in those days, the daughters could be given in marriage by the father. No romantic interludes or dating. As long as the man who was being offered a daughter for a wife was willing to accept her, it was a done deal.
Moses and Zipporah married and had two children together before he went back to Egypt to get the Israelites released from Pharaoh.Jethro's influence on his daughter is evident in Exodus 4:24-26. As a PK, she knew what the law said about having the male children born into the house of Israel circumcised on the 8th day. Moses didn't do what dads in Israel should do. She recognized that God was about to kill Moses for his neglect of duty. She immediately circumcised their son, then in disgust, tossed the foreskin at Moses' feet. She vehemently calling him a Bridegroom of Blood. Zipporah probably saw her father perform this ceremony and knew the law from his teaching, which was why she did it.
All of the people who were out to kill Moses had died. Moses left Zipporah and his sons in the caring hands of Jethro and left to do what God told him to do.
To keep from being lengthy, Jethro visits Moses after Israel was released and was absolutely impressed. We are skipping to Exodus 18 to see how Jethro's wisdom really shines through. He gave the praise to God for what was done for Israel and offered a sacrifice. While he was there, he saw how Moses led Israel. One day while he was visiting, he recognized burnout in Moses and it's effects on Israel. Moses was handling all of the dispute cases that started early in the morning and continued until late in the evening. It wasn't good for Moses, Israel, nor Moses' family. So he offered a recommendation that would ease the stress for everyone. This was the beginning of organization for Israel. He could trust those whom he chose to help in his ministry with the small stuff while he took care of the big stuff. Jethro imparted wise management skills he evidently learned in the priesthood that he applied to Moses' situation.
Jethro was a very wise man of God who served God in the ministry directly, as a father, and as a father-in-law. Although we don't really know as much about him as we do Moses he is best known for his wise mentorship to one of one of the Bible greats of all time.
Here are some takeaways from the wisdom of Jethro:
1. Parents, never minimize your influence over your children. When you hear the words from their mouths are the same as yours, you will know what they have learned from you.
2. Leaders beware of how you influence those around you because you are being watched. You will see your behavior and attitudes in those who look up to you.
3. Finding wise mentors is critical to becoming the godly man or woman you need to be. The wrong advice can be disastrous. The right advice will be fantastic!
4. If you see someone had been told by God to do something and they don't do it, get it done!
5. PKs , you have the best influence from your parents. Follow what they have taught you well. Rebellion is very costly.
6. Pastors and ministry leaders, take note: you will burn out unless you have people to whom you can entrust some ministry areas within your congregation or organization. Burnout is not from God! Your first ministry area is to your family, then to your church/organization.
7. Recognize the opportunities God gives when He gives them; otherwise, if you wait, someone else may do it for you and completely embarrass you.
8. Just because someone is older than you at work doesn't mean you won't learn something valuable from their years of experience. Listen and watch carefully.
May you gain the wisdom of Jethro. God bless you!