2/4/2018 – Exodus Chapters 16-18
The passages contain an episode that I have often used in teaching leadership skills in the business world. Exodus 18:17-23 states:
17 Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. 18 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. 19 Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people’s representative before God and bring their disputes to him. 20 Teach them his decrees and instructions, and show them the way they are to live and how they are to behave. 21 But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. 22 Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you. 23 If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.”
Mose’s issue here is universal to us all — he was plain ol’ becoming overworked, taking all of the responsibility for the nation’s following God’s will. He was failing to instruct the people in what was expected of them by God and then failing to delegate the details of judging the people when needs arose. In v. 18 Jethro wisely highlighted that when this occurs all parties (Moses and the people) suffer. So, Moses took the advice of Jethro, teaching and instruction the people and delegating the details after ensuring he had identified “capable men.” Maintaining responsibility while delegating details is one of the prime traits of a good leader.
Now, another questions entered my mind — Jethro was a pagan priest, most likely worshiping gods called Baal-Peor and Asherah. So, what do you think since Moses took counsel from a non-believer can we do the same?
My thought — this is certainly acceptable, as longs as we are diligent about weighing this advice vs. God’s will and plans for our lives. After all, as we continue our reading we will see God use pagan nations and pagan rulers to implement his Plan for His people.