[exodus 18: continued]
This is a recreation of a part of the sermon preached by Bob Skinner on Sunday, September 25. I translated, but I also listened to the sermon and it was a great one – well, just like the rest of his sermons. This isn’t word for word, but I still cannot claim authorship here.
I mentioned the entire passage last night so if you want you can go read it again, but I’ll try to recreate the story…
We have seen Moses in all kinds of situations before Exodus 18. He was a helpless baby in the basket, an Egyptian man, a refugee, a stuttering shepherd, and a leader of multi-million nation. We’ve seen him flee and we’ve seen him face dangers, trusting God to come through. He is the man who can talk to God almost face-to-face. In the second part of the chapter 18, we see Moses as a judge.
Considering there was quite a lot of people, I can only imagine all the quarrels they had and complains about each other. The sun was hot and the lines were long. It just so happened (purely on accident… *sarcasm*) that Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law (the fact that was mentioned over 12 times in this chapter), was observing the situation.
A bit of background on Jethro. He was a priest. A Midianite priest. The Midianites are thought to have worshipped a multitude of gods, including Baal-peor and the Queen of Heaven, Ashteroth. Jethro was a pagan priest. So we’ve got Moses – with direct access to God YHWH – and Jethro – the priest who did confess that the Lord YHWH is above all other gods (Exodus 18:11), but we have no idea whether he converted to the religion of Moses.
After observing the “epic fail” (to borrow the modern phrase) of Moses’ judging the people, Jethro comes to his son-in-law and says, “Now listen to me, and let me give you a word of advice, and may God be with you.” And he proposes to establish a whole judicial system. Moses (the one who could speak to God almost face-to-face) listens and says, “Nah, that’s not going to work. God has not told me to do this. Jethro, I really appreciate you and I know you are a smart man and everything, but God and I hang out together quite often – I listen to what He says. No offense, but you’re not exactly from my Church.”
Um… That’s not what happened.
Moses listened to his father-in-law’s advice and followed his suggestions. Almost immediately, Moses obeys the advice and reforms the system.
…For Jews in those days, there was no separation between what is of God and what is of the world. God wasn’t simply “aware of the situation” for Israelites. God was “IN all situations.”
It’s one thing to say “Yeah, God knows all and can do everything.” But it’s so much more to believe that besides simply knowing and being all-powerful, God actually cares about what is going on.
We often disregard smart advices because they do not come from the source we want it to come from. We think that if we have heard something on TV and that’s not a Christian channel, then the information is inherently wrong. For Moses there was no such problem. Whether the words came directly from God through a burning bush or they came from Jethro, a pagan priest – those words were from God.
How often do we separate our lives in such a way that we disregard the wise advices (which we know make sense) given to us just because they came from a source we did not think was “Christian enough”? What are your thoughts on this matter?