In this weekly Torah portion, we learn the Moses had sent his wife Zipporah and their two sons, Gershon & Eliezer to stay with his father-in-law for a while. The time had come for the family to be reunited and Jethro brought his daughter and grandsons to Moses, who was camped with the Israelites in the wilderness, by the mountain of God.
Moses told his father-in-law all about what the Lord had done for Israel’s sake. It had been hard, but the Lord had saved them. Jethro was glad to hear the report and praised the Lord for rescuing Israel from the hand of the Egyptians and the Pharaoh. Jethro brought a burnt offering and sacrifices to the Lord for what He had done for Moses and the Israelites.
“Now I know that the Lord is greater than all other gods, for he did this to those who had treated Israel arrogantly.” Exodus 18:11
Jethro was a religious man, a priest of Midian, and he recognized the power of the Lord. But he was also a very practical man. And when he saw how overburdened Moses was with caring for the people he spoke up with some good advice.
Whenever the people had a question they’d come to Moses directly to hear the will of the Lord. Moses was busy morning till evening and Jethro saw that this was too much. The work was too heavy and would wear him out. Moses needed to get some help.
Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. Exodus 18:19
Jethro advised Moses to not only teach the people the Lord’s decrees and instructions, but to find capable men who could assist him. Trustworthy men, who feared God and hated dishonest gain, were to share the load. Sharing the burden would make Moses be able to keep up and the people would still get their answers. Moses followed the advice of his father-in-law and began to teach the people the law. He also chose capable men who he installed as leaders.
Jethro was used by the Lord, to help Moses. It is not the first or the last time that we read about an ‘unbeliever’ who is being used by the Lord. God can use anyone to encourage us and remind us of His love. The advise given by someone from the ‘outside’ can be inspired by the Lord and add a lot to our life.
Have you ever gotten advice from that was clearly from the Lord, but came from an ‘unbeliever’ source? How did you know it was really the Lord? Are there people in your life that speak love even though they don’t serve the Lord?