Moses & Delegation — Moses is overwhelmed & the importance of others.
Reading 1: Exodus 18
Reading 2: Numbers 11:14-30
Reading 3: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Happy Leap Year!
On Saturday we ended our reading with the conclusion “following Jesus (and obeying God) is almost never a solitary spiritual exercise. We are designed to work together, and called to help one another.” Today we see an example of that principle applied in a way that made a difference to a whole nation.
Moses had sent his wife and children back to Midian to escape the turmoil of the plagues, the exodus, the crossing of the Red Sea and the other challenges of the birth of the nation of Israel. Now Jethro brings them back and visits Moses and the nation in the wilderness.
Jethro first sees how powerful God is and affirms that God is greater than any other god. Then he gives Moses wisdom for settling disputes and leading this nation: “This job is too heavy a burden for you to handle all by yourself.” Jethro recommended appointing leaders at different levels throughout the nation; some to lead a thousand, some to lead a hundred, some to lead fifty and some to lead ten.
By implementing his father-in-law’s advice, Moses was able to lead the nation for years, until the second episode we read about in Numbers. After the Tabernacle was assembled and the nation was still wandering in the wilderness (because of their disobedience to God), the same whine came from the people “we wish we were back in slavery where there was all that free food!” And this time Moses gets his answer from God – “I will take some of the Spirit that is upon you, and I will put the Spirit upon them also. They will bear the burden of the people along with you, so you will not have to carry it alone.” And the seventy recognized leaders all received God’s empowering to lead, including the gift of prophecy to speak what God was saying to the people, even the two elders who missed the ‘meeting’!
Solomon picked up on this principle and summarized it in Ecclesiastes – two are better than one, and a three-stranded cord is not easily broken. In other words, we are designed to work together, to release any authority God has given us to others who will help to fulfill the task we share. And that is best when God is braided into the relationship to bring a three-fold strength. That verse is often used in wedding ceremonies as the key to a strong, healthy marriage, but it was written as wisdom for every life.
So consider today: who has God placed you to support, and how can you best do that? And who has God given you to lead? How can you share your authority with them , empowering them to grow and lead well? Perhaps the most important question is: How does God want to pour out His Spirit on you and on all those you have listed, so that the work is His work and the power is His power?
Bonus question: As you look back, do the bad times in your life seem less bad than they really were? Does your current situation make you feel critical of God or leadership? Are you tempted to complain? You may want to ask God’s forgiveness and repent (change the direction of your thoughts and actions)!
Have a great day! (See you next month)!