Because Cecil B. DeMille didn’t include it in his movie, The Ten Commandments, some of us may not recall the scene.
Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, had paid a visit to the Israeli camp and observed his son-in-law’s daily routine. After watching Moses serve as the only judge among some 2 million people, Jethro held nothing back when he summarized what he saw:
What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. (Exodus 18:17-18)
Who doesn’t love to hear they’re incapable of handling their work! Not exactly buttering Moses up to keep the family peace, huh? To his credit, Jethro didn’t just point out the problem; he then proposed a solution – Moses should appoint people to help him – literally THOUSANDS of people. However if he did so, Moses would have to give up a lot of responsibility and control. Not an easy thing for a leader to do.
Scripture records Moses’ response:
Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said. (Exodus 18:24)
“Listened” here meant “to pay attention with the intent to obey.” Jethro didn’t have a degree in organizational management; he had never led a nation. Yet Moses’ decision to listen had more to do with who Moses was than who his father-in-law was. Moses humbled himself and listened to the voice of another. Why? Scripture tells us elsewhere that, “Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3).
It would have been very easy for Moses to defend himself in the face of Jethro’s comments. A proud man likely would have. How about you? Are you humble enough to listen to the advice of others? –Dave
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