Passage: Exodus 18:1-27
Speaker: Steve Hands
Series: Coming Home – A Journey Through Exodus
Believing In The Lord, Greater Than All Gods
Wellspring was founded with a burden to share the greatness of God with the nations around us. We were not only to reflect but also reach the diversity of our area. But how do we reach the nations across the street? In Exodus, the people of God are from many nations (Exod 12:38), and chapter 18 shows how the nations come to believe in the LORD God; the Midianite Jethro declares, “Now I know that the LORD Is greater than all gods” (Exod 18:11). How did Jethro come to this realization? How will the nations across the street and around the world realize the greatness of our God? As the nations are invited into relationship and hear of God’s work, then they believe His greatness and serve Him.
First Jethro is invited into relationship (Exod 18:1–7). Jethro is not only from the nation of Midian but is a priest of Midian, a religious leader (18:1). Yet when he hears of what the LORD had done for Moses and his people, he journeys to Moses in the wildness (18:2–5). Not only does he come to see Moses and his family, but Moses greets him with profound respect as a father-in-law and invites him “into the tent” (18:7). This is a place of vulnerable and authentic relationship; Moses does not keep him at arm’s length for fear of being corrupted by a foreign religious leader, but he invites him into the place of intimate and close fellowship. In that place of vulnerable relationship, Jethro will hear not only the good words of Moses but also see the authenticity of his life and relationship with God. People must hear and see the gospel in our lives. And this tent is not only the place where Moses lives but also where Moses meets with God Himself (cf. Exod 33:7–11). The nations around us will not know the greatness of our God if we keep them at arm’s length; we must invite them into our home that they might see and hear personally the greatness of our God.
Jethro is not only invited to relationship but also hears of God’s work (Exod 18:8–9). Moses tells of all that the LORD had done to Pharaoh as well as the hardships and the way the LORD had delivered them (18:8). It is critical that we share honestly and vulnerably not only of the goodness of the LORD but also the reality of our hardships and struggles. People see and feel the reality of the God that we worship through the hardships. And Jethro gets to see that, and he rejoices in how the LORD had delivered his people.
As a result of this invitation to relationship and hearing of God’s work, Jethro believes God’s greatness (Exod 18:10–12). He blesses the LORD God of Israel (18:10), and realizes that “the LORD Is greater than all gods” (18:11). Jethro trusts in the LORD as greater than all gods and worships with sacrifice in that tent of meeting (18:12). Similarly as we invite the people around us to relationship and share of God’s work, they also will believe in His greatness.
This chapter does not end with Jethro’s confession of God’s greatness; it ends with how Jethro serves Him (18:13–26). Moses’ personal relationship with God did not excuse his poor administration; Jethro advises Moses to organize the people more effectively. Through administrative shifts, “God will direct you, you will be able to endure, and all this people also will go to their place in peace” (18:23). We not only need spiritual intimacy; we also need wise administration! As soon as Jethro believed, he began to serve and used his gifts to bless others. Intriguingly God works through the gifts so that God directs, Moses endures, and all the people can go up in peace. Praise God for all the gifts, especially the gift of administration!
So what? Wellspring was formed to reach not just reflect the diversity of our area. We saw churches closing and their buildings becoming mosques and Hindu temples. Yet if we are to bless the nations moving in across the street, we must begin by inviting them into relationship. And in the context of relationship we can share of God’s work so that they might believe in God’s greatness and serve Him.