Exodus 18

Exodus 18:14-24


18:14 When his father-in-law [cf. Ex. 3:1; Jethro, the priest of Midian (located near Mount Sinai); a non-Israelite who worshiped the one true God] saw [Jethro patiently observed] all that Moses was doing for the people, he said [Jethro asked Moses for an explanation], “What is this you are doing for the people? [Jethro’s questions indicate two concerns…] [1: working alone] Why do you alone sit as judge [one who arbitrates legal issues between parties], [2: working too long] while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?”

18:15 Moses answered him, “Because the people come to me to seek God’s will [or “to inquire of God” (in this case, concerning legal and personal matters/difficulties)].

18:16 Whenever they have a dispute [difficulty], it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God’s decrees and laws.”

18:17 Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing [trying to do so much alone] is not good.

18:18 You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out [many people were worn out because they had to wait all day for their cases to be heard]. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone.

Note: When have you felt on the verge of burnout? In what ways are you currently overextending yourself?

18:19 Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people’s representative [mediator, intercessor] before God and bring their disputes to him.

Note: Who is the most difficult person for you to receive advice from and why?

18:20 Teach [proper instruction about God’s laws could potentially lead to fewer disputes among the people] them the decrees and laws, and show them the way to live and the duties they are to perform.

18:21 But select [a key task of any leader is to help others grow in leadership abilities] capable [refers to persons of strength, valor, and virtue] men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain [decisions not motivated by want of personal wealth and power; bribery is a temptation to be avoided by those in leadership (cf. 1 Sam. 8:3; Jer. 22:17)]—and appoint [meant that Moses had to be willing to share some of his authority over the people] them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.

Note: If God were standing before you as Jethro stood before Moses, what would He ask you to change or give up in your daily routine?

18:22 Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you.

18:23 If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.”

18:24 Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said [humble people have the strength of character to accept sound advice].

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