Shepherding God's people, not substituting for Christ
S - Exodus 18:17-23 (NASB)
17 Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “The thing that you are doing is not good. 18 You will surely wear out, both yourself and these people who are with you, for the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone. 19 Now listen to me: I will give you counsel, and God be with you. You be the people’s representative before God, and you bring the disputes to God, 20 then teach them the statutes and the laws, and make known to them the way in which they are to walk and the work they are to do. 21 Furthermore, you shall select out of all the people able men who fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain; and you shall place these over them as leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens. 22 Let them judge the people at all times; and let it be that every major dispute they will bring to you, but every minor dispute they themselves will judge. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. 23 If you do this thing and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all these people also will go totheir place in peace.”
O - Without scholarly biblical knowledge of the righteousness of Jethro's advice to Moses, I have a new perspective on it, which I believe to be spirit inspired. In the past I had seen this passage as a great leadership principle, one that said a leader cannot carry the weight of all that he leads on their own, they must find good people to work for them. This morning I now see it from a potential downfall of God's people. First downfall seen here is Moses, who has spoken face to face with God, and has been led with excellence, is now taken advice on how to lead God's people from a former priest of other Gods (though a recent convert since hearing Moses story of God setting the people free). This may or not have been God's plan to split up the leadership responsibility. Looking forward in time, we see God's plan for our salvation was through one man, our judgement comes from one man, our guidance and direction comes from one spirit. This is the model of God's kingdom relationship with us. What Jethro proposed would lead us to believe we can find good men, teach the things, and have them intercede between God and man. It is close but just enough off to allow man's prideful self to take over and forget that without God's intercession there judgement and leadership would be unrighteous.
A - The application for me is to recognize I do not need to be a judge of man, or a translator of His ordnance's in order to lead in a kingdom manner. I simply need to lead people to the one true God, to their Lord and Savior, and allow them to be ministered to and corrected. I do believe in the other principle though that I am to surround myself with Godly leaders who will in turn lead others to a relationship with God vice act as a subtitutionary Christ.
P - Dear heavenly Father, thank you for today's lesson, may it be sealed to my heart. I pray Lord that you would help me to be the kind of leader that shepherds people to you. I pray all this in Jesus Christ name, Amen.