And just like that, a government is formed. As a journalist, this chapter – particularly Jethro – really sparked my interest. We know a few things about Jethro: he is a priest in Midian (present-day Saudi Arabia); he is Moses’ father-in-law; the two men seem to have a wonderful relationship and deep respect for one another. Though, we don’t know what kind of priest Jethro is, we do know he believes wholeheartedly in the God of Moses. Every piece of advice and tidbit of wisdom he gives to Moses is preceded with something like, “Ask God first, and only do it if he approves.” He even offers a sacrifice to God. I saw something in verse 10 that made me wonder if there was some sort of barrier or misconception standing in Jethro’s way of fully accepting God as his own god. I wondered the same for past figures, like Abimelech, from Genesis. They saw God’s power; they believed He was the one true God; but the problem was, they weren’t a member of God’s people. And nobody told them they could be. Maybe the Israelites didn’t even understand that they could invite people in to accept the one true God. We know there were foreigners with them because God (soon) will make laws regarding them, but we can see from Jethro’s and Abimelech’s reactions that people groups were not actively jumping on the God wagon. Know what I mean? I feel like it’s because they didn’t feel welcome. They were outsiders, not people whom God had saved and carried and protected and performed miraculous signs and wonders. Are you starting to see why Jesus was so vital in bringing nations together? Jesus’ life and sacrifice served as an invitation to join them (them being the Israelites, God’s people). Jesus was God’s solution to separation. That’s deep. And it makes me more aware and thankful for Jesus’ death and resurrection than ever before.
I kinda went crazy on a side note there, but like I mentioned in the beginning, we also are seeing a historical moment here as a formal government is formed in Israel. We can’t really call this a democracy, but it sort of is. I had to break it down in my ‘Merican mind. Jethro suggested Moses appoint officials over groups of 1000, 100, 50 and 10 people. So, I imagined the group of 1,000 people being a state (so someone was appointed governor); the group of 100 people make up a county (county commissioner); the 50-member people group represents a city (which would need a mayor); and the groups of 10 members represent smaller boards needed to govern things like water well usage, camel feed and neighborhood watches (chairman of the board). What a wise man Jethro is, and he passes on his wisdom under the condition that Moses follow his advice only with God’s approval and appoint only men who fear God – and hate bribes. I think this tradition is prevalent in a lot of governments today, but (sigh) I only wish more officials took their positions as seriously as they were originally laid out to be.
Writing prompt: Jethro
This is a question I will add to my list of questions to ask Jesus, but I’ll pose it here as well because I’m curious to see how others feel about it: do you think figures like Jethro, who fears God and believes God exists but doesn’t consider himself one of God’s people, will be waiting for us when we pass through the Pearly Gates? What happened to people such as Jethro before Jesus arrived and made it very clear that we can ALL be part of God’s family?