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9. Organization and Purpose

June 26, 2009

Text:   Exodus 18:1-19:9

Key Verses:   Exodus 18:4-6

Outline:             I. Moses’ Family is Reunited      Ex. 18:1-12

II. Jethro Advises Moses      Ex. 18:13-27

III. God Establishes His Authority and Israel’s Purpose      Ex. 19:1-8

IV. God Establishes Moses’ Credibility and Authority      Ex. 19:9

Context/Discussion/Comments:

Upon hearing all that God had done through Moses, Jethro [Moses’ father-in-law] takes Moses’ wife and their two sons to meet Moses at Mt. Sinai. Evidently Zipporah and their two sons did not go with Moses to meet with Pharaoh but went home after their son’s circumcision was accomplished and Moses went on to meet Aaron. Moses meets his father-in-law, bows to him, and they exchange information about what has happened in Moses’ absence. Moses told in detail all that the Lord had done and how they were able to overcome the hardships they faced in the desert. Jethro rejoices and praises God for Israel’s deliverance from Egypt. Jethro organizes a family worship to God, eating with Moses’ family, Aaron, and Israel’s elders.

Jethro observes Moses’ long working hours resolving disagreements among the people. He advises Moses to appoint Godly and capable men at various levels of responsibility to handle the petty grievances so that Moses can have more time to spend with God learning God’s Law. Moses should be involved only in the major disputes, the ones that require God’s wisdom. Moses’ listened to Jethro and put his recommendations in place before Jethro left to return home.

Three months after Jethro had left, Israel is still at Mt. Sinai. Moses hears God calling from the mountain to come visit Him and receive the Lord’s instructions. God establishes His authority by recalling all that He had done to redeem Israel. Then He asks Israel to obey His voice and keep His covenant thereby becoming God’s people, a kingdom of Priests, a Holy Nation. Moses relays this message to Israel’s elders who reported back that the people responded positively, agreeing with what God desired of them.

Next God visits Moses in a cloud so all could hear what He had to say to Moses. Thus, God established Moses’ credibility as His messenger between Himself and the people.

Lessons/Applications:

1. In today’s global economy we tend to lose contact with our families. Job demands pull us apart as it did with Moses. Make an effort to bring your family together to visit and to see how God is working in their lives. Then praise God and thank Him in genuine worship together as a family. In that way we encourage one another and bear one another’s burdens. [see Gal. 6:2,10]

2. Father-in-laws are a great source of advice. Listen to them. Honor them by accepting their wisdom.

3. When organizing a church or business, set it up to serve the people. The organization will serve people only if its’ leaders are truly serving the people. Make it bottom up instead of top down. Dictating is the quickest way to cause division. Let God be the only dictator setting the ground rules by which we are to live. Only He is worthy of that office.

4. Our authority or respect is established by what we have done. God established His authority by reminding the people what He had done to redeem Israel from Egypt. God established Moses’ authority by His authority. Authority and respect are established through love and justness.

5. Whether it be in the workplace or in a church, people are more apt to commit themselves to serve when they understand the organization and how it functions and when they clearly understand its’ purpose and their responsibilities toward that purpose.

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