Day 15

Jethro’s Visit

from the Exodus reading plan


Exodus 17:1-16, Exodus 18:1-27, Deuteronomy 17:8-11, Acts 6:1-7

BY Jen Wilkin

The story of Jethro coming to the aid of Moses is an echo of an earlier story. In today’s reading, Moses has been charged with Israel’s care, but the task soon proves to be too much for one person. Observing his solo leadership efforts, Jethro says, “What you’re 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.

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 fruit of the Spirit (Acts 6:1–7). 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 task is too heavy for you. You can’t 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 Scripture, 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. “In this way you will lighten your load, and they will bear it with you. If you do this, and God so directs you, you will be able to endure” (Exodus 18:22–23).

Post Comments (37)

37 thoughts on "Jethro’s Visit"

  1. Terri Graham says:

    Prayer for you sister

  2. Jenna Raad says:

    Exodus 18:8 “Moses recounted to his father in law all that the Lord had done to Pharaoh and the Egyptians for Israels sake, all the hardships that confronted them on the way, and how the Lord rescued them.”

    I got to thinking about Mark 16:15 “And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”

    And the I thought this:
    Do you think Moses would have talked about the Lord the way he did if he hadn’t gone through what he went through?
    Probably not.

    The Lord tells us to tell the world about Him. What the Lord did in Moses life was unbelievable and honestly amazing if you ask me. The Lord was working in a huge way. Not just in Moses life but the people he encountered and all of Israel & Egypt.

    Although it’s hard to go through things, Moses still trusted the Lord and did everything the Lord told him to say and do – even though it was difficult and he questioned the Lord at times. He still did it.

    I said to myself: Are you currently going through a trial? Maybe the Lord is working in you so you can talk about Him in a way that you wouldn’t have before. He’s growing you.

  3. Katie Hudgens says:

    This is how I feel in motherhood right now. I needed to hear that I can’t do it alone and to ask the spirit to help me. Thank you God for your word.

  4. Portia Strange says:

    This devotional met me right where I’m at. I just found out this past Monday (July 25th) that my Mom is sick presently. She will be healed in Jesus’ name! I tend to be very independent & self-reliant. Holy Spirit, help me during this time to depend on You first and foremost, as well as other people who may be ready & willing to help (Christian & non-Christian). May I be quick to receive their blessings whether it their energy, money, and/or time. Help me to also be quick to bless other people that may currently or who may in the future be caring for a sick loved one.

  5. Brianna Hrab says:

    As a children’s pastor at a small church, it often seems like I’m taking on the children’s ministry alone. Please pray with me that our church will have more people pouring into this next/current generation of believers. It breaks my heart to do it solo not just because it is wearisome, but because the future of the church needs discipleship and to be equipped. It doesn’t happen magically, we the Church do this task. Prayers appreciated. I need a committed, faithful team.

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