God's Out of Town Expert [Exodus 18]

8Moses told his father-in-law all that the LORD had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel's sake, all the hardship that had befallen them on the journey, and how the LORD had delivered them.

 9Jethro rejoiced over all the goodness which the LORD had done to Israel, in delivering them from the hand of the Egyptians.

 10So Jethro said, "Blessed be the LORD who delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of Pharaoh, and who delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians.

 11"Now I know that the LORD is greater than all the gods; indeed, it was proven when they dealt proudly against the people."

14Now when Moses' father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, "What is this thing that you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge and all the people stand about you from morning until evening?"

 15Moses said to his father-in-law, "Because the people come to me to inquire of God.

 16"When they have a dispute, it comes to me, and I judge between a man and his neighbor and make known the statutes of God and His laws."

17Moses' father-in-law said to him, "The thing that you are doing is not good.

 18"You will surely wear out, both yourself and these people who are with you, for the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone.

 19"Now listen to me: I will give you counsel, and God be with you. You be the people's representative before God, and you bring the disputes to God,

 20then teach them the statutes and the laws, and make known to them the way in which they are to walk and the work they are to do.


24So Moses listened to his father-in-law and did all that he had said.

 25Moses chose able men out of all Israel and made them heads over the people, leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens.

 26They judged the people at all times; the difficult dispute they would bring to Moses, but every minor dispute they themselves would judge.

 27Then Moses bade his father-in-law farewell, and he went his way into his own land.


My Dad was a business professor and did consulting for corporations on the side. He often talked about being the out of town expert for these businesses. As I was reading this chapter in Exodus, I suddenly realized that Jethro fit the definition of the out of town expert. Before he said anything to Moses, he listened and rejoiced in the good report from Moses. Next, he observed the day to day operations in the Israelite camp. Then, he made a well thought out presentation identifying the major problem and the consequences of continuing in that way. Finally, Jethro laid out a well organized plan to solve problem. In all that he said, Jethro was clear to encourage Moses to consider this before God and not just listen to his advice. Moses was humble enough to recognize and accept Jethro's wisdom. Jethro was gracious and wise in His dealings with Moses.

So what does this mean to me? As I grow in the Lord, I need people in my life who can be like Jethro. They are the ones who care about me but who have enough distance from my day to day life and wisdom to be able to identify ways my life could be better in the Lord.  


God, we praise You that You have provided an eternal family on earth who care about us and are willing to be wise guides for us. Cause us to pray for, seek out and recognize the wise people who know and love you and gently can show us what we can't see.

Beth Warlick, 5/8/2010