Jethro’s Advice

Jethro’s Advice

In the midst of the Exodus narrative, we are given an account of something that is often forgotten in the book. In Exodus 18, a character who had not been mentioned since chapter 4 comes back on the scene. Moses, father in law, Jethro, had heard of all that the LORD their God had done through Moses in leading them out of Egypt (18:1). So, he decides to take Moses’ wife, Zipporah, their children and takes a trip out to see Moses at Israel’s pre-Sinai encampment (18:2-6). What Jethro sees when he arrives is Moses being the sole judge over all of Israel. Moses would sit and hear of their matters and judge on behalf of them (18:13-16), Jethro sees this, and in his probably advanced aged and wisdom knows that this will wear down Moses as this was too much for one man. So, Jethro gives Moses the advice for Moses to select trustworthy men and delegate the judging among the people to them (18:17-23). So, Moses heeded this advice and did as his father-in-law said (18:24-27). It is not stated explicitly, but we can assume that this was a source of relief for Moses as he took the advice and did not go back to his old way of doing things. Two things stick out in my mind that we can learn from this seemingly obscure section of the book of Exodus:

It Is Okay To Take Advice. Do you ever get irritated when someone offers advice to you? Do you sometimes take it as them saying that you do not know what you are doing? This might sometimes be the case, but oftentimes, they are just giving genuine advice. Maybe it is somebody like Jethro who is advanced in age and experience. These are the type of people who are fit to give advice. So, it might be the case that we need to lay down our pride and accept advice from those who are giving it sincerely.

It Is Okay To Accept Help. Moses seemed to think that he could do it all himself. And for a while, he probably could. But the more that he took solely on himself, the more that would wear down on him. I can imagine the relief that Moses felt the first day that he started this new system of delegating work to others. As it is with taking advice from others, we too act at times as if we can do it all ourselves. The New Testament is clear that we need the help of our brothers in sisters in Christ, whether that be their prayers (Jas. 5:16) or them bearing some of our burdens (Gal. 6:2). We are finite, imperfect people. Therefore, we should have no problem with again laying down our pride and accepting help.

-Brennan Hooper


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