Day 11

Moses and Jethro

from the The Life of Moses reading plan

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

BY Vivian Mabuni

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

Post Comments (37)

37 thoughts on "Moses and Jethro"

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

  2. Lesley says:

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

  3. Beth says:

    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.

  4. Keri Underwood says:

    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!

  5. Anna Buchanan says:

    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?

  6. Lauren says:

    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!

  7. jessiechatchat says:

    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.

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