Day 15

Jethro’s Visit



Exodus 18:1-27, Deuteronomy 17:8-11, Acts 6:1-7

BY Guest Writer

Scripture Reading: Exodus 18:1-27, Deuteronomy 17:8-11, Acts 6:1-7

The story of Jethro coming to the aid of Moses is an echo of an earlier story. In fact, so are the first eighteen chapters of Exodus. In them, we find a creation narrative patterned after Genesis 1. You could sum their message succinctly as, “And God said, ‘Let there be Israel.’ And it was so.” The newly-minted nation, like the newly-formed earth, is good. Moses has been charged with its care, but the task soon proves to be too much for one person. Observing his solo leadership efforts, Jethro says, “What you are doing is not good” (Exodus 18:17).

Not good.

Jethro’s words echo God’s words in Genesis 2: “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). If there is to be orderly ruling and subduing, if there is to be fruitfulness and multiplication as God has decreed, the work cannot be done alone. Just as God provided Eve to be a necessary ally to Adam, He now provides Jethro and the leaders of Israel to be necessary allies to Moses.

Don’t miss this: The concept of self-reliance is wholly foreign to the Christian faith. We are created to need God and others. We are designed for interdependence and community. There is no such thing as a Lone Ranger Christian. It matters that we understand this as we listen for the echo of our own story in that of Moses.

Every believer’s story is this: “And God said, ‘Let there be new life,’ and it was so.” You and I may not be called to bring orderly rule to a nation, as Moses did, but we are called to submit our hearts to God as He brings orderly rule to our hearts as new creations in Christ. The Bible calls this sanctification. In God’s name, we take dominion over sin. We cultivate the fruitfulness of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22). Like Moses and Adam, we are called to rule and subdue, to be fruitful and multiply. And like them, it is not good to attempt the good work alone. Nor is it necessary. God has provided necessary allies for us.

First, He has sent His Spirit to comfort and convict. Any effort to grow in holiness apart from the help of the Spirit will teach us, as Jethro says, “The thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone” (Exodus 18:18). But He also sends help in the form of Christian community. He provides us teachers to guide us through the scriptures, mentors to guide us in wisdom, brothers and sisters to encourage us and hold us accountable.

What sin are you striving to rule in your own strength? The thing is too heavy for you. Ask for the Spirit to train and convict you. Seek the ready help of the family of God. Trade self-reliance for the gift of dependence on the Spirit and interdependence with the saints. “So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. If you do this, God will direct you, you will be able to endure” (Exodus 18:22-23).

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Jen Wilkin is a wife, mom to four great kids, and an advocate for women to love God with their minds through the faithful study of his Word. She writes, speaks, and teaches women the Bible. She lives in Flower Mound, Texas, and her family calls The Village Church home. Jen is the author of None Like Him: 10 Ways God Is Different from Us (and Why That’s a Good Thing) and Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds.

Post Comments (141)

141 thoughts on "Jethro’s Visit"

  1. Michelle Emery says:

    Thank you God for giving me a community around me to remind me that I can’t do it alone. I need you and I need them!

  2. Leslie Linville says:

    I’ve had a challenging time at work recently and as a result, isolated myself so that I could heal. Just last week, I went to breakfast with several co-workers and felt so much love and support after having a difficult few weeks. I thought I could overcome those obstacles through isolation and faith but I was wrong. I needed the time with co-workers to truly overcome and move past the difficult time at work.

  3. Ashley says:

    Beautiful take on these verses. As someone who has dealt deeply with the pangs of self-reliance, seeking out therapy has been huge in transforming my spirit. I find it often frowned upon in some religious spaces, but I would argue therapists can be vessels in the same way Moses was. Rely on your Christian community, yes, but also don’t shy away from reaching out for more.

  4. Lorene C says:

    Jen Wilkin, good word. Just when I’m ready to give up on these devotionals that focus on one silly, minute thing that tries to reconcile the word and the world, you bring it home with this.

    1. Beth says:

      YES! She’s just massively raised the bar. Exodus is such a meaty book and after reading these passages I need someone to really explain what’s going on and what we can take away. This devotion is brilliant for that.

  5. Brittany Couch says:

    Who’s your crew? Self reliance is so common these days, to ask for help, we think, is weakness. And we deem weakness as *bad*. But when we know truth, we have a crew (like Jethro) to speak truth, our presumed weakness, is girded up in when I am weak I am made strong… because of the Holy Spirits work in me.

  6. KC Derond says:

    What comes to mind for me is in Exodus 17, when Moses’ hands grow tired from holding them up. Aaron and Hur are right there on either side, holding his hands up for him. I feel like that’s how our Christian community functions. When one grows tired or weary, we have others to help hold us up. It’s an awesome example of how our community works!

  7. KC Derond says:

    What comes to mind for me is in Exodus 17, Moses’ hands grow tired from holding them up.

  8. Karen says:

    Wow! This message really struck a deep chord within me as I am a queen of self-reliance and often feel like a “closet Christian.” I love the comparison between the Exodus story and Genesis and between both of these stories and God’s intention for each of us. Thank you for taking the bigger picture and drawing it down to each individual person! Forgive me Lord for relying on self and not opening my eyes to your provision. I praise You for giving us your Holy Spirit, leaders and mentors to teach and guide us, and a community of other believers to encourage and support us along our journey.

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