How to be a Great Father-in-Law

SERIES – Wilderness University

Exodus 18 NLT

1     Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, heard about everything God had done for Moses and his people, the Israelites. He heard especially about how the Lord had rescued them from Egypt.

2     Earlier, Moses had sent his wife, Zipporah, and his two sons back to Jethro, who had taken them in.

3     (Moses’ first son was named Gershom, for Moses had said when the boy was born, “I have been a foreigner in a foreign land.”

4     His second son was named Eliezer, for Moses had said, “The God of my ancestors was my helper; he rescued me from the sword of Pharaoh.”)

5     Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, now came to visit Moses in the wilderness. He brought Moses’ wife and two sons with him, and they arrived while Moses and the people were camped near the mountain of God.

6     Jethro had sent a message to Moses, saying, “I, Jethro, your father-in-law, am coming to see you with your wife and your two sons.”

7     So Moses went out to meet his father-in-law. He bowed low and kissed him. They asked about each other’s welfare and then went into Moses’ tent.

8     Moses told his father-in-law everything the Lord had done to Pharaoh and Egypt on behalf of Israel. He also told about all the hardships they had experienced along the way and how the Lord had rescued his people from all their troubles.

9     Jethro was delighted when he heard about all the good things the Lord had done for Israel as he rescued them from the hand of the Egyptians.

10   “Praise the Lord,” Jethro said, “for he has rescued you from the Egyptians and from Pharaoh. Yes, he has rescued Israel from the powerful hand of Egypt!

11   I know now that the Lord is greater than all other gods, because he rescued his people from the oppression of the proud Egyptians.”

12   Then Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and sacrifices to God. Aaron and all the elders of Israel came out and joined him in a sacrificial meal in God’s presence.

13   The next day, Moses took his seat to hear the people’s disputes against each other. They waited before him from morning till evening.

14   When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he asked, “What are you really accomplishing here? Why are you trying to do all this alone while everyone stands around you from morning till evening?”

15   Moses replied, “Because the people come to me to get a ruling from God.

16   When a dispute arises, they come to me, and I am the one who settles the case between the quarreling parties. I inform the people of God’s decrees and give them his instructions.”

17   “This is not good!” Moses’ father-in-law exclaimed.

18   “You’re going to wear yourself out—and the people, too. This job is too heavy a burden for you to handle all by yourself.

19   Now listen to me, and let me give you a word of advice, and may God be with you. You should continue to be the people’s representative before God, bringing their disputes to him.

20   Teach them God’s decrees, and give them his instructions. Show them how to conduct their lives.

21   But select from all the people some capable, honest men who fear God and hate bribes. Appoint them as leaders over groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty, and ten.

22   They should always be available to solve the people’s common disputes, but have them bring the major cases to you. Let the leaders decide the smaller matters themselves. They will help you carry the load, making the task easier for you.

23   If you follow this advice, and if God commands you to do so, then you will be able to endure the pressures, and all these people will go home in peace.”

24   Moses listened to his father-in-law’s advice and followed his suggestions.

25   He chose capable men from all over Israel and appointed them as leaders over the people. He put them in charge of groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty, and ten.

26   These men were always available to solve the people’s common disputes. They brought the major cases to Moses, but they took care of the smaller matters themselves.

27   Soon after this, Moses said good-bye to his father-in-law, who returned to his own land.

Mothers-in-law can be too opinionated.

Fathers-in-law can want their kids to be dominated.

  1. Jethro the Father

His name literally mean preeminence.

Exodus 2:15-22 NIV15 When Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian, where he sat down by a well. 16 Now a priest of Midian had seven daughters, and they came to draw water and fill the troughs to water their father’s flock. 17 Some shepherds came along and drove them away, but Moses got up and came to their rescue and watered their flock. 18 When the girls returned to Reuel their father, he asked them, “Why have you returned so early today?” 19 They answered, “An Egyptian rescued us from the shepherds. He even drew water for us and watered the flock.” 20 “And where is he?” he asked his daughters. “Why did you leave him? Invite him to have something to eat.” 21 Moses agreed to stay with the man, who gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses in marriage. 22 Zipporah gave birth to a son, and Moses named him Gershom, saying, “I have become an alien in a foreign land.”

Genesis 46:34 NLT – you must tell him, ‘We, your servants, have raised livestock all our lives, as our ancestors have always done.’ When you tell him this, he will let you live here in the region of Goshen, for the Egyptians despise shepherds.”

Exodus 3:1-5 NLT1 One day Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian. He led the flock far into the wilderness and came to Sinai, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush. Moses stared in amazement. Though the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn’t burn up. 3 “This is amazing,” Moses said to himself. “Why isn’t that bush burning up? I must go see it.” 4 When the Lord saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!” “Here I am!” Moses replied. 5 “Do not come any closer,” the Lord warned. “Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground.

  1. Jethro the Fan

Exodus 4:18 NLT – So Moses went back home to Jethro, his father-in-law. “Please let me return to my relatives in Egypt,” Moses said. “I don’t even know if they are still alive.” “Go in peace,” Jethro replied.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV – Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

  1. Jethro the Friend
  1. There is a limit you must sense. (v. 17)
  2. There is a load you must share. (v. 18)

Many hands make work light.

Ministry needs to be expanded.

Moses’ life needs to be extended.

People need to be excited.

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