A Visit From The In-Laws

“And let them judge the people at all times. Every great matter they shall bring to you, but any small matter they shall decide themselves. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you.” – Exodus 18:22 (ESV)

There is a story in Exodus that I think has great practical application for us today and it’s one that I wrote about last year. In Exodus 18, Moses is visited by his father-in-law Jethro, who brings with him Moses’ wife and sons to be reunited with Moses as a family. During his visit, Jethro offers great advice to Moses on not running himself ragged and delegating responsibility, advice that Moses wisely takes to heart. The account is a good reminder I think to all of us. We all have godly men and women around us in our church communities and elsewhere who can offer advice when we’re being stretched thin or struggling, and we don’t have to go it alone. It was encouraging to see Moses act humbly and not stubbornly when the advice was given.

I also came across another good word on this text today, and it gives me a chance to talk about this book. I’ve had a difficult time keeping up with daily devotional books, but I think I’ve now found one I can stick with. It’s part of a two-volume set called For The Love of God by D.A. Carson. Dr. Carson follows the M’Cheyne Bible reading plan in these volumes (I have vol. I) and offers daily commentary of one of the four sections of Scripture readings. Dr. Carson doesn’t just give a “thought for the day”, but he instead points to the whole storyline of the Bible and how the day’s passage fits overall. I’ve found myself referring to this book time and again, though I’m not following that reading plan this year, because Dr. Carson provides such wonderful insights. On Exodus 18, he explains that this visit from Jethro is yet another example of God accomplishing extraordinary things with ordinary people.

Here’s Dr. Carson:


“Why is Jethro, at best on the fringes of the covenant people, allowed to play such an extraordinary role as counselor and confidant of Moses ?

The questions answer themselves. God may use the means of ‘common grace’ to instruct and enrich his people. The sovereign goodness and provision of God are displayed as much in bringing Jethro on the scene at this propitious moment as in the parting of the waters of the Red Sea.

Are there not contemporary analogies ?”

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