Psalm 17 is particularly comforting this morning. “Keep me as the apple of your eye…” What an amazing thought! God actually looks at me, he sees me and is pleased with the possibilities. My reflection is in his eyes because he is watching, not as one who lords over another, but as a father who is hopeful his child will take his first step! In my mind, I picture his face with great anticipation, knowing that once I make the first step on my own, many difficulties will follow, but this is the way it must be. The assurance is profound: I am with you always, Jesus’ words recorded at the very end of Matthew’s gospel.
From Psalm 17 to Matthew 28 and back to Exodus. The theme is consistent: God loves his people. This time through the Bible I keep hearing that theme ring out. Maybe that’s God’s reminder for 2017 as our country continues to toss and turn. Be assured, God is with us!
Miriam the prophet, Aaron’s sister, leads a dance and song of celebration for God’s deliverance from the Egyptians. The party must have been fantastic. Three days later, “…the people grumbled against Moses…” So it begins: grumbling. First against Moses, then Moses and Aaron. How quickly we tend to take things personally! Moses heard the grumbling, but knew the grumbling is really against God, “Who are we? You are not grumbling against us, but against the Lord” (Exodus 16:8). Water is purified. Manna is provided, then quail. Then water from a rock that God commands Moses to strike (noted here, Exodus 17:6, for future reference).
Jethro Visits Moses
Moses’ father-in-law enters the narrative for a second time (Ex 4:18, Jethro says, “Go, and I wish you well.”) Moses greatly respected Jethro, “So Moses went out to meet his father-in-law and bowed down and kissed him.” (18:7). Moses, the man who converses with God still has room in his heart to show such respect to Jethro. Interesting. Jethro and Moses talk about God’s greatness, all the things He has done and it’s clear they give God all the glory. The next day Moses starts his routine as judge for the people, the task for which he understands he was called to perform (18:13-16). Jethro sees this and says, “What you are doing is not good…listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you…” (18:17 and 18:19). Though Jethro hasn’t been with them through all of the difficulties, he has a sincere, God-centered heart, so Moses listens to his advice. As a result, Moses creates organized divisions to more effectively lead the vast number of people. I’m amazed how God uses Jethro in this place and at this time. A relative outsider comes in like a management consultant and restructures the unwieldy crowd of Israelites.
What incredible discernment! How did Moses hear Jethro amid the chaos that must have been the norm at that time? This makes me laugh at the “difficulties” of any day I might have, but serves as a reminder that God works through people in many ways. God please help me to hear your voice through your people. Keep me humble and give me ears to discern your wisdom offered by those who seek you with all their heart. Help me to see Jethro’s that come into my path and may all the glory be given to you God. Amen.
The Ten Commandments
God provides the basis for a civilized society to get along, beginning with respect for God, our parents and then each other, in the form of 10 simple rules:
- Love the Lord God only
- Do not worship idols
- Do not misuse the Lord’s name
- Keep the Sabbath
- Honor your father and your mother
- Do not murder
- Do not commit adultery
- Do not steal
- Do not give false testimony
- Do not covet your neighbor’s stuff
Lord help me to remember each of these and keep them without a second thought.