Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Exodus 18:1-12 A Visit From the Inlaws

"Now Jethro, the priest of Midian and father-in-law of Moses,
heard of everything God had done for Moses and for his people Israel,
and how the LORD had brought Israel out of Egypt.

After Moses had sent away his wife Zipporah,
his father-in-law Jethro received her and her two sons.
One son was named Gershom,
for Moses said, 'I have become an alien in a foreign land';
and the other was named Eliezer, for he said, 'My father's God was my helper;
he saved me from the sword of Pharaoh.'

Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, together with Moses' sons and wife,
came to him in the desert, where he was camped near the mountain of God.
Jethro had sent word to him, 'I, your father-in-law Jethro,
am coming to you with your wife and her two sons.'

So Moses went out to meet his father-in-law
and bowed down and kissed him.
They greeted each other and then went into the tent.
Moses told his father-in-law about everything
the LORD had done to Pharaoh and the Egyptians for Israel's sake
and about all the hardships they had met along the way
and how the LORD had saved them.

Jethro was delighted to hear about all the good things
the LORD had done for Israel
in rescuing them from the hand of the Egyptians.
He said, 'Praise be to the LORD,
who rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians and of Pharaoh,
and who rescued the people from the hand of the Egyptians.
Now I know that the LORD is greater than all other gods,
for he did this to those who had treated Israel arrogantly.'

Then Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, brought a burnt offering
and other sacrifices to God,
and Aaron came with all the elders of Israel
to eat bread with Moses' father-in-law in the presence of God.

Exodus 18:1-12 (NIV)
We have already learned that Jethro had welcomed Moses into his household when Moses was fleeing from the wrath of Pharaoh [after Moses had killed an Egyptian who was attacking an Israelite].  Moses had become Jethro's son-in-law after he intervened and helped Jethro's daughters.

Moses had been invited to stay with Jethro and had eventually married Jethro's daughter Zipporah.  Moses had continued to care for Jethro's flocks until the LORD spoke to Moses from a burning bush and sent him back to Egypt to rescue the enslaved Israelites.  Moses had taken his wife and two sons with him when he left for Egypt.

Now Moses was returning to the same area.  Apparently he sent Zipporah and her sons to her father Jethro to visit with him and to announce that they were in the area.  Jethro sent word back to Moses that he would come out to meet Moses and the Israelites.

Moses told his father-in-law everything which the LORD had done in Egypt to Pharaoh and his forces.  He also related all the adventures which the Israelites had gone through in their travels up to this point, and how the LORD had faithfully delivered them from every trial.

Jethro was happy to hear about all that the LORD had done for Israel.  He was amazed that the LORD had delivered Israel from the powerful Pharaoh.  [Remember, Egypt probably had one of the best armies of that day.]  I am sure that Moses also told Jethro about their encounter with the Amalekites, and how the LORD had provided food and water during Israel's desert travels.  Jethro gives praise to the LORD and seems to come to the realization that the LORD is greater than all other 'gods'.  Jethro brings sacrifices and an offering to God.  Then Jethro, Moses, Aaron and all of the elders of Israel eat bread together in the presence of God.  This seems to be more than just a meal celebrating Moses' safe return.  It has all the features of a treaty or covenant-making type of meal, especially since it occurs "in the presence of God." (v.12).  Jethro seems to have come to know the true God, the God of Israel.

Jethro's conversion reminds me that the LORD's intentions were to save people from every nation.  I also marvel at the LORD's plan:  Moses, who had spent 40 long years caring for Jethro's flocks in this very area, was now shepherding the nation of Israel through territory which was at least somewhat familiar to him.  That had to be helpful to Moses, and beneficial for Israel.  Then I think:  "What is God leading me through today which will later bring glory to Him, growth for me, and help for His people?"  Whatever it is, we know that the LORD's plan is good. 

No comments:

Post a Comment