Moses was taking care of the children of Israel, which was a tremendous task. His father-in-law Jethro arrived, bringing with him Moses’ wife and sons (Exo. 18:5). I believe that Jethro was a godly person, for he rejoiced that God had brought the children of Israel out of bondage in Egypt (vv. 9–10). However, he was bothered by what he saw in the Israelite camp. People were standing from morning to evening, waiting to speak to Moses. Therefore, according to his view and understanding, he gave Moses some advice. He said, “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; you are not able to perform it by yourself” (vv. 17–18). Isn’t that logical? There were two million people and only one judge. How could that work? Moses would surely wear himself out.
Jethro continued, “Listen now to my voice; I will give you counsel, and God will be with you” (v. 19). Jethro told Moses what to do, yet we must remember that these were God’s people. Many times, we prize man’s counsel above God’s. Jethro advised, “Stand before God for the people, so that you may bring the difficulties to God. And you shall teach them the statutes and the laws, and show them the way in which they must walk and the work they must do” (vv. 19–20). Doesn’t this sound like good advice?
In verse 25 we are told that “Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people: rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.” Moses followed his father-in-law’s advice and organized the people.
Adapted from Joshua: A Life of Service, page 18.
Tomorrow: “Jethro’s Advice to Moses (2)”