A helping hand

Exodus 18:17-19 “Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “What you are doing is not good.You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone. Now obey my voice; I will give you advice, and God be with you!”

Are you thankful for the people who, during the course of your life’s journey, have come alongside to help you?  Have you ever received words of counsel, financial help, or physical assistance that was just right for what you needed at the time?  If so, have you recognized that such help has indeed been sent from God Himself.  The Bible tells us that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1),” but so often He provides that help by way of the wisdom, resources, and gifts that He has given people. 

An example of this is given to us in the account of Moses and his father-in-law Jethro above.  In this account, Moses was early in his mission of leading Israel to the Promised Land.  One of his many responsibilities during this time was to render judgments regarding disputes between people.  It was an overwhelming task. In Exodus 12 we are told that there were over 600,000 Israelite men he was leading, besides women, children, and a “mixed multitude” of other people.  In other words, there were well over a million people when Israel started out on their wilderness journey.  Moses, their great leader, saw it as his duty to deal with the inevitable disputes that arise whenever sinful people interact with other sinful people.  He dove into his task with both feet, wanting to honor God.  But it was too much for him and Jethro was wise enough to see what Moses couldn’t.  Although God had commanded Moses to lead Israel and had promised that He would be with him every step of the way, He did not expect Moses to “do it all,” although Moses may have thought so. 

Thankfully, for Moses’ sake, at just the right time, Jethro showed up.  Moses needed help to see that the task he had set upon was more than he could handle.  Jethro provided the wise counsel that Moses should delegate much of this work to “able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens (Exodus 18:21).” These men would judge the smaller matters that arose, while only the most difficult matters would be decided by Moses, himself.   Because Moses heeded Jethro’s counsel, the task became much easier and within his capacity to endure.  We see that same model in our present day in the organizational structure of businesses and governments around the world. 

We should all keep our eyes open and hearts attuned to the help that God sends our way in many forms and through many people.  Whether we have recognized it or not, He does it all the time as we carry out our day to day responsibilities. whether it be in our homes, our workplace, or in our church.  In terms of the church, God has told us that the church is a “body” and all the individuals within the church are “members of the body.” Furthermore, we are told that “God (has) arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose (1 Corinthians 12:18).”  The members all need each other and are to help each other in the incredible task God has given us to reach the world with the gospel.  It’s an overwhelming task, like so much else in our lives, but it is possible as each member does its part. 

Thank God for all the help He has provided in our lives through His providentially placed helpers over the years.  They may not have realized it, and we may not have either, but just the same, it was the hand of God at work to bless us, guide us, and love us as we face times of need day by day.  May we thank Him for the Jethro’s He has sent to each and every one of us at just the right time and just the right place throughout our lives.

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