• Tony Birkhead

Week 4-The Whisper of God Through Others!



Find a Friend Who Is Willing to Wound You and You’ll Hear God’s Whisper!

INTRODUCTION

Often time God will speak through other people in our lives to us. We need to always back up what they are saying with God’s Word, the bible. The people whom are closest to us will see things in our lives before we do, whether good or not so good. God may use one of those people to provide just the words you need at the right time. Who have you allowed to speak these kinds of truths to you? Do you have that person or those persons?

KEY SCRIPTURE

Proverbs 27:6

Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.

Exodus 18:9

Jethro was delighted to hear about all the good things the Lord had done for Israel in rescuing them from the hand of the Egyptians.

Exodus 18:21-23

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.”

Exodus 18:24-26

Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said. 25 He chose capable men from all Israel and made them leaders of the people, officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. 26 They served as judges for the people at all times. The difficult cases they brought to Moses, but the simple ones they decided themselves.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

Who was your best friend growing up? Why?

What does it feel like when someone close to you points out something in your life that doesn’t seem right? How do you usually respond?

Jethro new how to rejoice with things and also to call out things that weren’t so good. Which one of those are easiest for you? Why is it that way?

Have you ever had to tell someone close to you that you see something in their life that doesn’t please God? How was it received?

Who in your life causes you to listen closely because often God uses them to speak to you?

PRAY TOGETHER

Father, thank you that you still speak through people. Thank you for allowing me to hear you through others. Help me to hear you when it’s for me and to hear you when you want me to speak to others. Please give me the courage to listen and to speak. Help me to change where I need to change so that ultimately my life glorifies you. Amen!

MOVING FORWARD

  • Give permission for someone to speak into your life this week? Make sure that person is seeking God themselves.

  • Go to mylivingwater.cc Click the “More” tab. Choose “Pray4everyhome” and register to pray for your neighbors.

COMMENTARY

Exodus 18:13-27

18:13. In the ancient Near East, as in many parts of the world today, the job of judging civil and criminal disputes goes along with a leadership position. To be a political or military leader was also to be a judicial leader, required to render decisions in cases of controversy. Moses had presumably been judging the people regularly already, but a number of complicated cases had presumably continued unjudged because of the difficulty of holding court while on the move. Now came a day when Moses could wait no longer to address the caseload, and in spite of spending all the daylight hours hearing court cases, he had still apparently not finished when evening came. Clearly, if Moses was giving such a large proportion of his time to judging legal disputes, he could not do much else.

18:14. Jethro saw that this could not go on indefinitely. His own experience as a new leader may have involved him in regular judging among the Midianites, and it was obvious to him that Moses had overcommitted his time to his judicial role. Nothing was wrong with Moses’ serving as a judge; indeed it was clearly an obligation of his as leader of the people. What was wrong was his serving as the only judge, without any help, for simple cases as well as for complex ones. In trying to do all the judging himself, Moses may not have been acting foolishly or overconfidently. He may simply have been waiting for God to reveal to Israel a proper, hierarchical judicial system and not trying to make one up on his own authority. The most important reason for Moses’ going it alone was that he functioned as a prophet, who dispensed God’s revelation, and that was the reason for his answer in the next verse.

18:15-16. Moses was not merely a judge. He was a prophet who conveyed God’s will when it was sought. Through him the people asked God for answers to their disputes, and thus Moses asserted that he did not really judge on his own but “decides between the parties and informs them of God’s decrees and laws.” In other words, the legal process involved the revelatory process in this case. That was almost certainly the reason Moses had felt obligated to judge himself: the answers involved God’s own decisions, and Moses understood himself to be the sole conduit for those to the people.

18:17-18. That the judicial workload must have been too much for one man is shown by the fact that both Moses and the people who waited for justice could not conclude business in a reasonable time span. He presumably treated no case lightly but threw himself into the work wholeheartedly and became entrapped by the caseload brought before him. Thus in spite of everyone’s best intentions, the judging of disputes had bogged down, as was immediately obvious to someone new to the faith and the situation of Israel, such as Jethro was.

18:19-20. Jethro did not suggest that Moses discontinue judging, or that he stop serving as a representative of the people’s problems to God, or that he leave off being God’s spokesperson to teach the people God’s decrees and laws. The people surely needed someone “to show them the way to live and the duties they are to perform,” and Moses was indeed that person. Moreover, Jethro did not arrogate to himself divine wisdom but was careful to couch his words as suggestions subject to God’s confirmation).

18:21-22. What Jethro believed to constitute God’s will for Moses and the Israelites was a trustworthy judicial hierarchy—trustworthy in that the judges at the “inferior” level would be selected and would be “capable men … who hate dishonest gain.” These would lead the people as “officials”—people who were appointed to an actual societal office and did not take on a judging role merely as a task ancillary to their tribal rank or the like. Thus, the Israelite judiciary was to be appointed on the basis of honesty and ability rather than occupy an office automatically by reason of being born into a hereditary role. The various categories of society are here indicated by the division into “thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.” By providing leaders for each population level, Moses could assure an adequate number of judges to handle all but the most complicated court cases.

These lower court judges would be available at virtually any time, taking uncomplicated cases and adjudicating them regularly so that the people would have daily access to judges for most issues. This would leave most of Moses’ time free of judicial responsibilities for him to lead the people in other ways, including his ministry of prayer and worship and his ministry of teaching and preaching all God’s laws. But if a lower court could not make a decision, or if its decision was rejected and appealed by the litigant parties, Moses was available from time to time (perhaps one day a month or the like) for these cases that had already been heard in lower courts and were brought by the judges to him.

18:23. Jethro did not presume to tell Moses how to rearrange the Israelite judiciary on his own authority. But as a new worshiper of Yahweh and a concerned member of the community of faith, he ventured to formulate the plan he thought Moses ought to bring to Yahweh for approval. What he expected of Moses was the willingness to ask Yahweh if such an approach represented his divine will. Implied may be Jethro’s presumption that Moses had earlier misinterpreted God’s will about his role as judge, that is, that he had assumed he was to judge every case so God’s will could be revealed in the verdicts rather than just the precedent-setting cases God had actually intended for him to limit himself to. Jethro’s goal in this advice, which he assumed God would endorse, was that both Moses and the people would have relief.

18:24-26. These verses summarize the fulfillment of what was suggested, in typical repetitive command-fulfillment style. Although it is not stated overtly, it may be assumed that Moses learned from God that Jethro’s advice was either acceptable or even what God had intended all along and Moses had misunderstood. Thus already at Sinai/Horeb, three months after leaving Egypt, Israel had a hierarchical court system using chosen, not inherited, leaders as judges, with Moses as the supreme court.

#hearingGod #whisper #Friends #Accountability

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