Who Is This God?October 11-15
The God Who Helps
Then Moses told his father-in-law all that the Lord had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel’s sake, all the hardship that had come upon them in the way, and how the Lord had delivered them. And Jethro rejoiced for all the good that the Lord had done to Israel, in that he had delivered them out of the hand of the Egyptians. – Exodus 18:8 (ESV)
Oh, I sure am happy to see you,” the little boy said to his grandmother on his mother’s side. “Now maybe daddy will do the trick he has been promising us.” The grandmother was curious. “What trick is that?” she asked. “I heard him tell mommy that he would climb the walls if you came to visit,” the little boy answered.
In Exodus 18, Moses is happy to see his father-in-law. We first meet Jethro when Moses was on the run from Pharaoh, after having killed an Egyptian. Moses found himself in Midian by a well and eventually married one of Jethro’s daughters. After 40 years of living in Midian, God appeared to Moses in a burning bush and told him to go to Egypt. In Ex 4:18 “Moses departed and returned to Jethro his father-in-law and said to him, “Please, let me go, that I may return to my brethren who are in Egypt, and see if they are still alive.” And Jethro said to Moses, “Go in peace.” Jethro blessed Moses then and he will bless Moses again in Exodus 18.
God helped Moses on multiple occasions by sending Jethro. Who are some of the people who God has used to help you at pivotal moments on your faith journey?
Praise God for His perfect timing. Thank God for the people he has sent in your life to help you at just the right time.
The God Who Helps
…along with her two sons. The name of the one was Gershom (for he said, “I have been a sojourner in a foreign land”), and the name of the other, Eliezer (for he said, “The God of my father was my help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh”). – Exodus 18:3-4 (ESV)
Historian Laurel Ulrich received a Pulitzer Prize for her book The Midwife’s Tale. The book was based on the diary of Martha Ballard, who lived during the American Revolution. Martha was a midwife who traveled by canoe, horse, or sometimes on foot to assist women in delivering their babies. At a time when many women died in childbirth, Martha’s track record was extraordinary. In more than 1,000 deliveries, she never lost a mother in childbirth. (Sermon Central Staff)
Moses had named his two sons as a reflection of his experience with God. He had been a stranger in a foreign land but God helped him and delivered him from Pharaoh. The name Eliezer literally means helper. The word for “help” is a common word in the Bible, first introduced as a description of Eve in the Garden. It means to do for someone what he or she cannot do for himself or herself.
God is our helper. It is impossible to do anything with any eternal significance without the help of God. The Holy Spirit is called our Helper. Can you list a few ways God has “helped” you in difficult times? If you had to name your children after God’s activity in your life, what would their names be?
Praise God for those times you listed when God has helped you.
The God Who Helps: Burnout
Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “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. 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. – Exodus 18:17-19 (ESV)
Moses spent all day acting as judge and jury for nearly 2 million Israelites. His father-in-law recognized the potential for burnout and didn’t want to see that happen to Moses. Over the years, social service jobs have drawn concerned young people into careers of helping others. In time, many of them become what some psychologists call “burned-out Samaritans.” After listening to so many people’s problems and trying to help, they get to the place where they can’t take any more. This happens to doctors, ministers, social workers, psychiatrists, and policemen. To save themselves emotionally, they must either quit, stop caring, or readjust. Like Moses who heeded the good counsel of his father-in-law Jethro and began delegating responsibility, we must recognize our human limitations and learn to act wisely.
Some believers assume that the more godly we are, the more we will keep pushing until we just “wear out for the Lord.” And some devout Christians do just that. But according to the Bible, it’s wiser to adjust our service. Then we won’t become burned-out Samaritans.—M. R. De Haan II (Our Daily Bread)
Who have you witnessed experience burnout from doing good things? Are you at risk of burning out? If your plate is full, ask God to show you things you may be able to take off your plate or give a lower place on your list of priorities.
Thank God for the gifts He has given you and for His desire to use you. Praise God for the gift of rest and ask Him to lead you to a healthy balance of rest in your life.
The God Who Helps: Guidance
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. – Exodus 18:21 (ESV)
The 1996 plane crash in Croatia that took the life of U.S. Commerce Secretary Ron Brown and thirty-four others revealed shortcomings in the navigation equipment on military aircraft. The pilots, attempting to reach the airport at Dubrovnik in pouring rain, were navigating with a compass and a radio receiver, which one official likened to working with a typewriter in the computer age. Officials at the Pentagon said they would improve safety and navigation equipment on military passenger planes in the future. (Today in the Word)
A good guidance system makes all the difference. God sent Jethro to help guide Moses into a good leadership decision. Jethro encouraged Moses to delegate responsibility to “trustworthy” people. And Moses was humble and teachable enough to take Jethro’s advice.
Are you coachable or teachable? Who are the people God has sent into your life to give you wise counsel? Are you willing to make changes when people give you godly and practical advice?
Praise God for the gift of delegation. Thank God for the trustworthy people in your life that you are able to work alongside of but who also take burdens off your plate.
The God Who Helps: His Presence
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 18:23 (ESV)
In one of his books, A.M. Hunter relates the story of a dying man who asked his Christian doctor to tell him something about the place to which he was going. As the doctor fumbled for a reply, he heard a scratching at the door, and he had his answer. “Do you hear that?” he asked his patient. “It’s my dog. I left him downstairs, but he has grown impatient, and has come up and hears my voice. He has no notion what is inside this door, but he knows that I am here. Isn’t it the same with you? You don’t know what lies beyond the door, but you know that your Master is there.” (Source: Christian Theology in Plain Language, A. M. Hunter)
The best thing about doing things God’s way is that God is there with you. Jethro assured Moses if he made the wise choice to delegate responsibility God would lead him and endurance and peace would be with him.
We don’t always know what’s on the other side of the door. But we know God is right there with us when we do things His way. We do know according to Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
Praise God for His presence in the good times and the bad times. Thank God for the peace and strength that comes when we do life His way. Ask God for clarity in any area where you need to make a decision.