Read Exodus Chapter 18. After you have read the chapter, read the passages below to help you dive deeper into the Chapter. Conclude in Prayer.
Exodus 18: 1-12
“If Jethro came with his heart to glorify God for His work of salvation, Moses also, went out to meet his father-in- law with humility, “bowed down and kissed him” (Ex. 18: 7), even though he was one of the greatest among the prophets whom God granted all those wonders. Prophecy did not teach him to feel haughtiness over others, but humility; and by that, he most probably gained him to recognize the works of God.” - Fr. Tadros Y. Malaty
We really begin to see the humility of the great Moses in this chapter. By whose hand did God save the Israelites? Whose rod split the Red Sea, and whose hands were lifted to deliver the people from war against the Amelekites? Certainly it was Moses. Yet Moses knew it was not Him, but God working through Him. I think this reality made Moses more humble. The servants of God reckognize their weakness more when God does great things through them. They realize they have done nothing, and know their true state. How do you react when God does a good work through you? Do you feel puffed up and proud?
“The encounter of Moses’ father-in-law was from the Lord. It was all about glorifying His name, and it was characterized by spiritual joy. The Scripture says: “Then Jethro rejoiced for all the good which the Lord had done for Israel...and Jethro said, ‘Blessed be the Lord, who has delivered you…now I know that the Lord is greater than all the gods’…then Jethro…took a burnt offering and sacrificed to God” (Ex. 18: 9 - 12) How wonderful are the encounters that take place in the circle of God and His amazing works of salvation. As they fill the heart with joy, let the tongue utter praise, and gain even the unbelievers to faith.” - Fr. Tadros Y. Malaty
What and amazing scene this was! The gathering of Moses and his father in law was to praise God and to offer sacrifices. This should get us to think about the purpose of our own gatherings. We read everyday the Lord's Sermon on the Mount. In it, He tell us "Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father Who Is in heaven." Truly this meeting was the fulfillment of this verse. Jethro must have heard all the good works that Moses did for the people of Israel. In hearing this, Jethro, a Gentile, had no choice but to glorfy God and offer him sacrifice. When we meet, is it to share about the the glory of God? Do people see you or God, when you speak of all your good works? Do we gather together to praise God and speak to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs? Do we sing and make melody in our hearts to the Lord or do we spend our time in foolish talking, gossip and slander?
Exodus 18: 13-25
MOSES LISTENED TO JETHRO - "God spoke to Moses, did he not? Yet Moses very prudently and humbly yielded to the advice of his father-in-law, foreigner though he was, with regard to governing and directing such a mighty nation. For he realized that from whatever intellect right counsel proceeded, it should be attributed not to him who conceived it but to the One who is the Truth, the immutable God.” - AUGUSTINE
MOSES FREED TO LEARN SPIRITUAL MATTERS - "Moses, who speaks with God, is judged by the reproof of Jethro, a man of alien race, on the ground that he devotes himself by his ill-advised labor to the earthly affairs of the people. At the same time counsel is given him to appoint others in his place for the reconciling of quarrels, so that he himself may be more free to learn the secrets of spiritual matters for teaching the people.” - GREGORY THE GREAT
THE HUMILITY OF MOSES - "For nothing was ever more humble than he, who, being leader of so great a people, and having overwhelmed in the sea the king and the host of all the Egyptians, as if they had been flies, and having wrought so many wonders both in Egypt and by the Red Sea and in the wilderness, and received such high testimony, yet felt exactly as if he had been an ordinary person. As a son-in-law he was humbler than his father-in-law; Moses took advice from him and was not indignant. Nor did he say, What is this? After such and so great achievements, have you come to us with your counsel?" CHRYSOSTOM
“When I think of Moses, filled with God, with whom he used to talk face to face; when I see how he responded to the counsel of Jethro, the pagan priest of Midian, and his father-in-law, I get impressed and astonished. The Book says, “Moses heeded the voice of his father-in-law and did all that he had said” (Ex. 18: 24). He did not look at him, who was speaking to him, but listened to his words. So should we, if we find ourselves in such circumstances, we should not reject the wisdom of unbelievers, for the sake of its source; with the assumption that we, who received God’s Law, have the right to swell with haughtiness, and to despise the counsel of the worldly wise. Moses, who has been exceedingly humble, more than all men (Numbers 12: 3), accepted the counsel of somebody less than him, giving an example of humility to the rulers of his people, and a portrait of the anticipated secret." - ORIGEN
O Moses, your humility is so refreshing. Let us consider the example of Moses again, who did not reject the council of his father-in-law, Jethro. This should be an example to us as the Church on how to correctly use the knowledge and philosophies of this world. There are things in the world that can be useful and suitable to us, but rather than antagonize them, we should learn how to properly use them for the purpose of enhancing our ministry. All Moses did was for the good of His people, so too we should have the same heart and mind.
“And 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.” Exodus 18:25
We must be wise in our service not to take on too little or too much. A great leader not only leads but also knows how to empower and build up others. As we can see, there must also be discernment in selecting leaders, as they need to be "able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness." Servants who fear God will also cherish the flock that the Lord has placed in their hands.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the example of the humility of Moses. Give us O Lord, the humility you gave your servant. His humility is surpassed only by Your Own. Teach us O Lord to be servant leaders as You and your servant Moses were. For we know the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many. We pray Lord that we can learn to build up others, so that we can truly care for your sheep. Lord, we know how much you resist the proud but gives grace to the humble. We ask O Lord for this grace, so that we may let our light shine before men, so that they may see our good works, and glorify You, O Our Father Who Art in Heaven. Amen.
Posted on Fri, December 23, 2016
by Mathew Shehata