Here’s the back story.
Freedom had been granted to the Children of Israel and they were led into the wilderness. God’s hand had moved in miraculous ways through plagues in Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, the drowning of the Egyptians, and the defeating of Amalek, and word was spreading.
Word of the miracles even reached the ears of one Priest of Midian, Jethro, who happened to also be Moses’s father-in-law.
Super excited, Jethro brought Moses’s wife and sons to him in the wilderness (apparently, earlier in the story, he had some protective fatherly instincts kick in and he took his daughter and grandkids away from Egypt before the plagues and such) and then he and Moses went into a tent to catch up and have a chat (if they had coffee back then, they definitely would have sipped some).
As Moses gave his FIL a firsthand report of all God had done there is rejoicing and happiness and marveling in the Lord. But then Moses had to get to work.
One by one, people came to Moses from morning until evening asking him questions and seeking the advice and counsel of the Lord (remember Moses was their representative before God, serving as a foreshadow of our Great Representative before Him, Jesus).
“Hold up, bro,” Jethro said.
(Maybe he didn’t say it exactly like that…)
“What you are doing is not good. You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone.” (Exodus 18:17b-18)
You will certainly wear yourselves out.
Do you ever feel worn out? I know I do. Jethro saw something in his son-in-law and his life experience and wisdom told him what was going to happen next: exhaustion was going to fill everyone. Although they were doing the best they could, they were wearing themselves out.
What was the solution?
“Now obey my voice; I will give you advice, and God be with you! You shall represent the people before God and bring their cases to God, and you shall warn them about the statutes and the laws, and make them know the way in which they must walk and what they must do. Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. And let them judge the people at all times. Every great matter they shall bring to you, but any small matter they shall decide themselves. 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, and all this people also will go to their place in peace.” (Exodus 18-19-23)
The advice was to delegate, to teach others so they could in turn teach more people, and the job would be quickly done.
That’s discipleship (2 Timothy 2:2).
At this point, Moses had a decision to make. He could heed the advice of his father-in-law or he could continue doing things the way he always had.
What would you have done?
Moses chose to listen.
He accepted help.
He relinquished control and total command.
Freedom from the pressure of having to do it all.
Respect from the people.
More men growing in maturity and knowledge of God.
Perhaps we have lessons to learn from the spiritual wisdom and counsel of Moses’s father-in-law?