The Life of Moses: Day 11

Moses and Jethro


Today's Text: Exodus 17:8-16, Exodus 18:1-27, Proverbs 19:20

Text: Exodus 17:8-16, Exodus 18:1-27, Proverbs 19:20

Life as a young mom had left me exhausted and exasperated. My hair was forever in a ponytail, and I rarely snagged a shower. Variations of snot, food, and crusted drool had taken up residence on the sleeves and shoulders of my shirts. The hope of ever again going to the bathroom in peace—alone and with the door closed—had become a distant memory.

I was in the throes of a whole new world, just trying to keep the littles alive and fed. And I was struggling to connect with God. The loss of that connection gnawed away at me, and left me with a deep sense of guilt. The days of long, uninterrupted Bible study and prayer now seemed long gone, and I missed them.

My friend Prisca has three grown sons, and her youngest was once part of our on-campus college ministry. He was mentored by my husband throughout his college years, and so we got to know him well, witnessing firsthand how he lived out his faith—grounded, humble, secure, and wildly generous.

I grew to admire and appreciate the role his parents played in raising him, and in particular his mom. I can clearly remember one of our first meals together in their home. Prisca listened with warmth and understanding as my tears rolled down and words tumbled out. I shared both the struggles and joys of new motherhood, and confessed my shame in not feeling connected to God during such a challenging season of life.

Jethro knew Moses was in a difficult season. He knew well the call God had on Moses’ life and how his son-in-law’s heart longed to serve God and minister to His people. But he could also see the unsustainability of how Moses was going about his life. He took the time to listen to Moses and observe his situation, before offering wise counsel (Exodus 18:13-16).

“‘What you’re doing is not good,’ Moses’ father-in-law said to him. ‘You will certainly wear out both yourself and these people who are with you, because the task is too heavy for you. You can’t do it alone.’”
-Exodus 18:17-18

I fully expected Prisca, an amazingly godly woman, to admonish me about the importance of God’s Word and how I needed to rise earlier and work harder to protect my time with God. But instead, Prisca touched my arm and with a joyful laugh, shared, “You know, these are busy, challenging years you’re in, but it won’t always be like this. I remember going grocery shopping by myself once, when I was where you are. I just stopped and stared at the oranges for a long, long time…”

Prisca’s words were like a sweet balm seeping into the deeper parts of my soul, bringing relief and, honestly, surprise. Her words of grace met my depleted body and soul exactly where I needed them. They encouraged me to stop striving and rest in order to keep from burning out. To stop trying to do it all on my own. She assured me that in my surrender, God would show me new ways of connecting with Him.

We all need a Jethro in our lives. We need someone who will patiently build our trust by observing and listening without judgment. We need people to seek out our hearts, instead of quickly offering unsolicited advice. And should we be blessed with such a friend, may we learn from their wisdom and heed their advice.

“Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.”
-Proverbs 19:20


  • Kasey Summers

    Don’t try to do it all on your own… Rest. Needed these words today.

  • We all need Aarons and Hurs in our lives! Our faith is built by sharing our stories and praying for each other! Join me:

  • Sometimes it’s amazing how God works. The day before this post was put up, I shared this site with my friend. She has been struggling with many things lately and I thought it would help. The struggle that we spoke most about was how her daughter who is a new young adult, out on her own, is facing financial struggles and doesn’t want to listen to any advice by her mother. When I read this the next morning, I couldn’t help but think how crazy the timing was that this was the topic.
    Most of the comments have focused on us knowing that we can’t do it alone and that it’s ok to need help, but the part that struck me was that Moses took Jethro’s advice. Here is Moses, a powerful leader, but even he needed to listen to the advice of an elder.
    I guess it is a great lesson in both giving and taking advice. As the giver, one needs to listen and observe a situation before giving advice and as the receiver, ponder the advice we are given and be open to the instruction and knowledge gained from it.

  • Keri Underwood

    I struggle with this. I tend to want to do it all myself! And I rarely ask for help. My fiance and I are getting married in August of this year and I am pretty much doing everything myself. I was venting to my sister about everything and she reminded me of this. She said “How can anyone help you if we don’t know you’re overwhelmed?” It’s so true! And it’s totally okay to need help!

  • Anna Buchanan

    I can think of a few Jethros in my life. As a first-year, new-to-town teacher I have women who are older than me in my community who continually surprise me with grace. I am so obsessed with striving for perfection and control. Those who love me and know Jesus’ grace well remind me that I must slow down. I always assume that they will be pushing me harder. No, they lower my expectations to realistic and good and remind me that I need help and rest. As a go-getter I don’t want to stop. I want to keep checking it all off my list. What would life look like if I let things get a little messy, unplanned and simply soaked it all in? Can I let go of my control and perfection to sit in His provision?

  • What a word from the Lord! I was just walking to work and thinking of all the things I needed to do. Then I took a moment to sit with God and he said, Do you trust me? I replied, yes, I trust you. Then he asked again, Do you trust me? And my reply was again, Yes, I trust you. Give me your time, He said. And wondered what that meant until I felt an inkling to read SRT as soon as I arrived in my office before starting my work. I’m in the midst of navigating some new responsibilities and the call to share the load is an answer to prayer!

  • jessiechatchat

    Love this! Hits home for me. Thank you for the grace. I’m curious as to why Moses had sent away Shipporah in the first place. So many questions about their relationship.

  • Thank You

  • This was perfect for me today. I often take on more than I can handle. In my mind, I a superwoman, conquerer of all things :) I want to be able to do it all, and feel guilt and failure when I am unable to do so. God has placed amazing people in my life to offer wisdom and help when I need it, and I am so thankful; I just need to remember to utilize them more!
    It is so important to remember that we are not meant to do this life alone, and that we should look to our Father for guidance and wisdom so we don’t grow weary. Thank you for this devotional Vivian, this was what I needed to see.

  • I am a mom of a 2 and a 3 yr old. I know what you mean (specially the long time staring at oranges). Last night I received an email of a person telling me what a blessing I was to her when I said something about prayer about 6 years ago. I almost cried. I thought there was so little of the person I once was (wit long devotional times, and even time to tell people advices!). But, as you said, there are seasons in life. And been a mom is MY season now. Thank you for becoming the Jethro in my life, as I read this.

    • She Reads Truth

      Thanks for sharing this encouragement, Laura! Blessings to you!


  • I don’t know where I would be without my sisters in Christ. Ladies of SRT especially, as this was my introduction to the bible. It’s wonderful to see how quickly the love of the Word and sharing Jesus grows from there. Thankful for all of you!

    • Ashley

      So glad you have been introduced to God’s grace. Sending blessings your way, your sister in Christ.

  • What a fantastic devotional for the day. So many times I find myself trying to walk with Christ alone, when that is not the intended design. Powerful word! Thank you so much!

  • This means so much to me today. I homeschool our 6 year old and try to juggle an almost 4 year old and a 13 month old. I am often discouraged with how quickly the day goes and frustrated with how little time with God I get. Thank you for this encouragement.

    • Michelle

      I feel you sister, I also homeschool my 6 year old, while juggling my 4 year old and 20 month old. We live overseas and sometimes the pressure of seeing others in ministry saying yes to so much has me often feeling not enough. But then I remember my little tribe is my ministry in this season and so I pray for His strength and am so grateful for some neighbours here that are so helpful in looking after the littlies, today’s passage showed me it’s like they’re holding my arms up!

  • Caroline

    This goes hand in hand with needing to walk in community which is so so so important. I’m so thankful to be surrounded by believers who challenge me, prayer for me, lift me up, listen to me, grieve with me, and on some days hold me. I wouldn’t get out of bed if it weren’t for these ladies and Jesus

    • H

      Boy, do I want this so badly. I’ve prayed for a small group or even one person like that for so long.

      • Joanna

        H, I am part of a small group on Facebook. We are halfway through Deuteronomy but if you’d like, you can add me on there and we can extend the invite for our next book to you. We lift each other in prayer and even through social media it still means a lot. My name on there is Asia Kuzba. You are never alone!

  • Heather (MNmomma)

    I have been in a very interesting season this past year. So many wonderful things happening, but also some very big shifts in thinking, most of which are job related. My hubby has an amazing opportunity to golf in the King’s Cup in Ireland next week representing Team USA vs. Team Ireland…..and needless to say, I am going with him :) However, the school board took a stand a couple of years ago for “no vacations, no unpaid days”. I had 4 personal days, but needed 1 unpaid day….I went to board meeting after board meeting. To their credit, they did try to get creative with my contract, however, mid year made it tough. I ended up having to take a leave of absence for the duration of the school year. Tomorrow is my last day. On Monday (the 25th) I will have been the school nurse for 15 years. I love my job. I am passionate about my job….however, I tend to take on too much. When they cut the social worker and family support worker, I somehow absorbed a lot of those responsibilities……we have had a huge change over in staff and I have tried to help them be comfortable and find their way….each thing is no big deal, however, it adds up. A LOT….and I am worn. I think God knew I needed to press reset… hard as it is, I will have the month of May (we did extend our trip a couple of days because I now have lots of time! LOL!). Pray for me sisters. Pray that my eyes be opened to God’s plan, His chosen path. I am intending to return to my position in the fall at this time, however, I am not certain if that is MY plan or God’s. I am praying for clarity. Where is He leading me? Back to my position? To advance practice nursing? To functional medicine (a huge passion)? To being home (very weird to think of with my boys being so old)….I will be 39 in June lots of time to do different things, however – my oldest 2 boys will be graduating in the next two years….leaving our youngest son home for a few years….lots of questions, praying for answers…..thank you sisters for joining me…..for being my spiritual helpers <3

    • Jenna

      Awesome! Proud of you for talking a step in faith and leaving your job knowing that God will provide! Be relentless in prayer and He will show you the path He desires for you! xx

    • Beverly

      I believe God places good “huge passion” on our hearts for a good purpose. I will be praying for you, Heather! And that you find so much joy and peace and rest while you are away.

    • Carly B

      Praying for you, Heather, that this next few months is a time of rest and refreshment for you, and that you will know God leading you and directing your steps.

    • SusieT

      Oh, Heather, how wonderful that you’ll be accompanying your husband to Ireland…and the fact that it means a long vacation for you, as you said, isn’t any surprise to our God. :) Yes, perhaps you (like we all, from time to time) need “to press reset”. I’ll be praying for your discernment in the matter, and also praying that you’ll be able to relax while on the ‘Emerald Island’ and thoroughly enjoy your time there! Remember the promise in Proverbs 3:5,6: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He *will* direct your path.” (That’s a promise we can count on!) Blessings, dear Sister!

    • Louise

      Well done for being brave enough to leave your established position and launch out into the unknown! It does sound like a new season may be there …. To have you leave your job of 15 years over a one day request when it’s such special circumstances????? It doesn’t seem logical at all but maybe the start of something fresh and fabulous in your life!!!!

      • Heather (MNmomma)

        it isn’t logical at all…..that’s why I feel God’s hand it really at work. He provided a peace thru it all that has been indescribable. There are many (co-workers, community members, even some board members) who have been irate and un-in-arms over it all, however, I have been at peace. I just am not sure of the “what’s next”……I know He led me to this time off, but beyond this????? Lord lead me… my steps….bring clarity and peace…..

  • churchmouse

    Where would I be today without the sisters who have held up my arms when I simply had No. More. Strength? Where would I be if those sisters hadn’t become lifelong prayer partners, teaching me to be faithful in prayer in all things and for all people? Where would I be without their hands in mine, with shared tears, speaking hard truth right into my heart? Thank you, Vivian, for reminding me of the great gift these women are! They are priceless. Invaluable. They are my Aaron’s, my Hurs, my Jethros.

    • She Reads Truth

      This is beautiful, churchmouse. So grateful for these reminders! Love to you, friend.


  • This was exactly what I need to hear in this season of my life, as my nearly 4yo and 20 month old watch tv so I can get some time along with God. It’s not ideal, but it’s the only way I can get a few minutes of peace with God. And as I’m typing this, the 20 month old comes over to cuddle and that’s how it works. It won’t be like this forever, and I’ll connect with God in new ways. Thank you for this!

  • This really resonated with me, as I’m a full-time mom to a 2-year-old and a 1-year-old. Thank you.

  • Loved today’s devotional and just how practical these applications and lessons have been throughout the study. May we all be blessed to have such people in our lives and may we too be willing to be there for others in return.

    Have a great day ladies

  • candacejo

    I can think of many times in my walk with God that someone else, like Aaron and Hur, had to hold up my hands during the battle! I, too, remember the days of My Three Sons at home and feeling inadequate when it came to having perfect Bible studies and uninterrupted prayer times at home. Believe me, they were rare! And just as Vivian, a godly woman reminded me of the exact same thing: this was only a season, a beautiful season that God had blessed us with. I might not have time to pray an hour every day (okay, I never had THAT!) but I could connect with God when I was rocking my babies to sleep or reading them a bedtime story, etc. I used to pray over them before they would walk out the door for school, from elementary to high school, and they might stand there and roll their eyes and say they were going to be late and could I hurry this time…but today, all three grown and long out of the house, they have all told me how much that meant to them. How protected, loved and safe they felt knowing that God was watching over them and that we took time to connect. I didn’t know it but I was being their Aaron and Hur!

    Be encouraged, young mothers! God knows where you are and honors you as you raise your children to love Him. One of these days you will have TIME after they are grown and gone…and as much as you hate to hear it, it is true…you will wish for those precious days back again. ♥

    • Sarah_Joy

      Such good perspective. My friends and I try desperately to remind each other that these days are fleeting. Three little girls in a small house can challenge my every fiber, but God has provided women to walk with me. What a gift they are!

  • Carly B, I too am refreshed and enlightened by all the women of SRT and the responses. Praise God for all of you! He always knows what I need (even when I don’t) and provides it!

  • These passages are a great reminder of how much we need each other- that we are not meant to go it alone. Joshua couldn’t have won the battle without Moses and the others lifting the staff before God up on the hillside, and Moses needed Jethro’s encouragement and wise advice, as well as the support of other leaders in dealing with the people’s disputes.
    Too often my default is independence and trying to manage by myself but that is not how it is supposed to be. It is much better when we can support and encourage one another, and I am grateful for all the support and encouragement here. I love that we can read the Bible together and learn from one another and pray for one another. I get so much more from connecting with you all here than when I was trying to do it alone.

  • Elisabeth

    When I read this story, I remembered how much I love it. It is just so great to see how Moses and his family are reunited and how Jethro and Moses treat each other. It might not have been easy for Moses to leave behind his wife and sons with his father-in-law and I can only imagine the joy he must have felt when they visited him. And Moses was very lucky to have a father-in-law like Jethro, that listened to him and gave him his wisdom. I imagine that Moses must have felt quite lonely from time to time, feeling scared and lost with all his responsibilities. It is great that God provides us not only with our daily needs (like we read yesterday) but also with friends and family that we can rely on.

Further Reading...