Moses’ father-in-law replied, ‘What you are doing is not good.’ ” – Exodus 18:17 (NIV)
During the week, I work in an IT department doing desktop computer support. Sometimes the problems that come up are fairly simple…a printer is jammed or someone’s having trouble with email, and the issue is taken care of pretty quickly. Other times, it’s a different story. I’ll work on a computer for hours trying to figure out what the exact problem is. And I think I’ve tried everything. Still no luck. That’s when I finally stop and ask a co-worker in the department to take a look.
“Joe, have you tried this ?”
“Ummmm, no…hadn’t even thought of that.”
“Let’s see…there you go, problem solved !”
There are times where you can look at a problem up, down and sideways, and you’ll never come to a resolution on your own. Or at least find a way to make the situation more bearable.
After the Exodus, Moses was getting hit from all sides by his fellow Israelites. There was a rough stretch where the Israelites grumbled to Moses that they didn’t have enough food or water, and were worried about starving to death. They even went so far as to say they wish they could have stayed in Egypt, if they knew what would happen to them afterwards. You can sense this nagging was wearing on Moses.
“So they quarreled with Moses and said, ‘Give us water to drink.’
Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me ? Why do you put the LORD to the test ?’ ” (Exodus 17:2, NIV)
Right about this time, Moses’ father-in-law Jethro arrives on the scene with Moses’ wife and sons to visit him in the desert. It didn’t take long for Jethro to realize that something was wrong. Moses was being stretched too thin. He was serving as judge for all the people’s disputes, with no help from anyone else. With all the bickering he had to put up with, Moses probably didn’t have two minutes to himself, and certainly not enough time to figure out how to manage the growing issues among his people. Jethro was wise enough, and detached from the problem enough, to realize that Moses needed to step back and delegate. He needed to find men to handle the trivial matters and leave the big issues to Moses.
Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said.” (Ex 18:24, NIV)
Sometimes we need another set of eyes. We need someone to look objectively at our struggles each day, whether they’re big (like Moses’) or small (like my computer issues), and give us sound advice. Of course, we should all look to God first, but in addition, we could all use a Jethro in our lives.