And Moses went out to meet his father in law, and did obeisance, and kissed him; and they asked each other of their welfare; and they came into the tent. And Moses told his father in law all that the Lord had done unto Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel's sake, and all the travail that had come upon them by the way, and how the Lord delivered them. And Jethro rejoiced for all the goodness which the Lord had done to Israel, whom he had delivered out of the hand of the Egyptians. And Jethro said, Blessed be the Lord, who hath delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of Pharaoh, who hath delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians. Now I know that the Lord is greater than all gods: for in the thing wherein they dealt proudly he was above them. And Jethro, Moses' father in law, took a burnt offering and sacrifices for God: and Aaron came, and all the elders of Israel, to eat bread with Moses' father in law before God. And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses sat to judge the people: and the people stood by Moses from the morning unto the evening. And when Moses' father in law saw all that he did to the people, he said, What is this thing that thou doest to the people? why sittest thou thyself alone, and all the people stand by thee from morning unto even? And Moses said unto his father in law, Because the people come unto me to inquire of God: When they have a matter, they come unto me; and I judge between one and another, and I do make them know the statutes of God, and his laws. And Moses' father in law said unto him, The thing that thou doest is not good. Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou, and this people that is with thee: for this thing is too heavy for thee; thou art not able to perform it thyself alone. Hearken now unto my voice, I will give thee counsel, and God shall be with thee: Be thou for the people to Godward, that thou mayest bring the causes unto God: And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do. Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens: And let them judge the people at all seasons: and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge: so shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear the burden with thee. If thou shalt do this thing, and God command thee so, then thou shalt be able to endure, and all this people shall also go to their place in peace. So Moses hearkened to the voice of his father in law, and did all that he had said. (Ex 18:7-24)
2) Moses' humility and Jethro's wisdom also stood out to me. Often, it is easy to discount the advice of those we don't think are as qualified as we are:
- they don't have the experience,
- they don't have the education,
- it is not their area of expertise while it is mine,
- they are so young,
- old they are out of touch and "don't have a clue,"
- they are brand new believers,
- I don't see anything in particular that impresses me about their individual walk with God,...
and the list of excuses could go on and on... This is something that has often frustrated me in dealing with people here. It is quite accepted and normal, even encouraged, to have a type of "oligarchy" where if you have education and/or position, you are automatically "superior" to those who don't and thus can lord if over these others. The "boss" can treat those who work under him like dirt because of his position; yet those who work for him must never forget his elevated and more worthy position. We, in our family, are often treated favorably simply because of the color of our skin - and although at times, that is admittedly nice (like the times I have't had to wait "my turn" to see the doctor, or when Tim is bumped to the front of the line at the bank), I must also say that the principle behind such behavior bothers me and I usually try to discourage it.
- Jethro hadn't heard God's voice directing him specifically,
- Jethro hadn't been leading the whole nation of Israel,
- Jethro hadn't personally confronted Pharaoh,
- God hadn't used Jethro's hand to perform His mighty acts in Egypt,
- Jethro's relationship with God wasn't as intimate as his own...
- He kindly, respectfully, clearly and gently (i.e. he could have used words much stronger than "not good") stated what he saw as the problem and why.
- He spoke precisely and wisely, recognizing Moses' special position before God (that had been given to him by the Lord) and before his people - probably knowing that it was not something that Moses had desired, sought or initiated, but rather something to which God had appointed him.
- When giving his guidance, Jethro offers a short prayer "May God be with you," recognizing that Moses couldn't just accept what Jethro said carte blanche without first seeking God's counsel.
- And in his last comment, he then specifically encouraged Moses to seek God's guidance before accepting his words.