Summary: Exodus 18 provides a wonderful example of Moses taking advice and learning to share the work load.
A. Standing on the tee of a relatively long par three, a confident golfer said to his caddy, “Looks like a four-wood and a putt to me.”
1. The caddy disagreed with him a bit and advised that he, instead, play it safe and hit a four-iron then a wedge.
2. The golfer was insulted and proceeded to yell at the caddy telling him that he was a better golfer than that and how dare the caddy underestimate his game.
3. So, giving in, the caddy handed the gentleman the four-wood he had asked for.
4. The golfer proceeded to top the ball and watched as it rolled about fifteen yards off the front of the tee. It was still about 200 yards from the hole.
5. Immediately the caddy handed him his putter and said, “And now here’s the putter for your putt...”
B. How good are you at receiving and following advice?
1. If you are like me, then sometimes it’s a struggle.
2. Sometimes our pride kicks in and we don’t want it to look like we don’t know what we are doing, so we ignore the advice and often regret it.
C. In the part of the story of Moses we are going to consider today, we will see that Moses was stressed out and overloaded.
1. Someone close to Moses is going to come along with some advice about the situation.
2. How will Moses respond? Will he take the advice or reject it?
3. Let’s take a look at the story and see what we can learn from it.
I. The Story
A. Our story begins with a visit by Moses’ father-in-law.
1. Such a visit might raise the blood pressure of those who view their spouse’s parents as outlaws, rather than in-laws.
2. But that was not the case with Moses, it appears that over the years, his father-in-law had become one of his best friends.
3. The Bible says: 5 Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, together with Moses’ sons and wife, came to him in the desert, where he was camped near the mountain of God. 6 Jethro had sent word to him, “I, your father-in-law Jethro, am coming to you with your wife and her two sons.”
7 So Moses went out to meet his father-in-law and bowed down and kissed him. They greeted each other and then went into the tent. (Ex. 18:5-7)
4. Now that’s what I would call a warm greeting.
5. Moses hadn’t seen Jethro, his father-in-law, for an extended period of time, and Israel’s leader was ecstatic that his father-in-law had come with Moses’ wife and children for a family reunion.
6. Soon the two men began to talk about all that God had done in Moses’ life since he had left the desert of Midian to go to Egypt.
7. The Bible says: 8 Moses told his father-in-law about everything the LORD had done to Pharaoh and the Egyptians for Israel’s sake and about all the hardships they had met along the way and how the LORD had saved them. (Ex. 18:8)
B. I want you to notice how Jethro responded to his son-in-law. He showed not an ounce of jealousy, rather Jethro rejoiced over what had happened
1. The Bible says: 9 Jethro was delighted to hear about all the good things the LORD had done for Israel in rescuing them from the hand of the Egyptians. 10 He said, “Praise be to the LORD, who rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians and of Pharaoh, and who rescued the people from the hand of the Egyptians. 11 Now I know that the LORD is greater than all other gods, for he did this to those who had treated Israel arrogantly.” (Ex. 18:9-11)
2. Then, in good priestly fashion, Jethro topped off the day by offering sacrifices.
3. The Bible says: 12 Then Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and other sacrifices to God, and Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat bread with Moses’ father-in-law in the presence of God. (Ex. 18:12)
4. What a beautiful picture of family harmony – here we have in-laws and family members and friends who have come to eat together and to rejoice in God’s mighty works.
5. It is a wonderful thing to be rightly related to others, especially family!
C. After the joy of this happy reunion, Jethro began to observe Moses in his ministry and leadership.
1. Let’s stop and take a look at what Jethro observed. The Bible says: 13 The next day Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the people, and they stood around him from morning till evening. 14 When his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, “What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?” (Ex. 18:13-14)