By: Ely Lagajino
Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. Proverbs 19:20-21 (ESV)
Israel’s camp in Rephidim was near Jethro’s territory, Jethrois Moses’ father-in-law who is a priest of Midian. The priest heard the incredible saving power of God for the Israelites. One day Jethro visited Moses, his wife and two sons Gershom and Eliezer. They had a happy family reunion.
After a few days of Jethro staying in the camp, He observed the long line of people who wanted to talk to Moses every day. Some were asking help others to solve their grievances. Moses wanted to attend to them all; so he can have an opportunity to instruct them. But it was impossible to accommodate them all by himself, even if he worked 24/7.
His job as a leader and a judge was too heavy and stressful. A couple who already had 20 children would like to ask whether or not to end childbirth. This system might affect Moses’ health and will hinder the progress of the reformation.
Jethro suggested to decentralize his way of leadership without affecting the theocratic way of governance. After receiving a message from God, it would be easy for Moses to disseminate the information if he designated one to lead over the thousand, then one to lead over the hundreds, and tens. This leader would also serve to attend to the minor problems within their tribe, just like the present day local government units.
Moses humbly accepted his father-in-law’s suggestion. After consulting God, right away, they started organizing. He selected a strong God-fearing leader, and Jethro saw the immediate results. It brought relief to Moses’ load and helped in faster establishing the order of the unruly crowds.
Moses invited his father to join them, but Jethro just said thanks. He couldn’t leave his priestly duties in Midian. These timely changes happened before their next stop at the foot of Mount Sinai, where they would receive the most important revelation of God.
PP P.315-317 Exodus 18:1-27