Exodus 18:17-24, NKJV
So Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “The thing that you do is not good. Both you and these people who are with you will surely wear yourselves out. For this thing is too much for you; you are not able to perform it by yourself. Listen now to my voice; I will give you counsel, and God will be with you: Stand before God for the people, so that you may bring the difficulties to God. And you shall teach them the statutes and the laws, and show them the way in which they must walk and the work they must do. Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. And let them judge the people at all times. Then it will be that every great matter they shall bring to you, but every small matter they themselves shall judge. So it will be easier for you, for they will bear the burden with you. If you do this thing, and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all this people will also go to their place in peace.” So Moses heeded the voice of his father-in-law and did all that he had said.
- Humble yourself & avoid the prideful responses.
Moses was “called” of God to lead the Israelites; “surely he knew best how to shepherd them” (sarcasm added). Many times our pride will lead us quickly down a path of destruction (Prov 16:18) that in actuality we really do not want to journey down. It is amazing how quickly we can allow ourselves to be caught in the cycle of justification, deflection, excuses, lying, and simply, pure conflict due to our pride.
Moses listened and responded graciously. “So Moses heeded the voice of his father-in-law and did all that he had said.” Moses did not try to “save face” or cover up the reality; he simply humbled himself to receive wisdom. The wisdom he received bore witness with him and the leading of God in his life, and the process of implementation began.
Protection comes from submission to the appropriate, God-appointed leadership in your life; even if you “feel” absolutely correct in your own judgment, God may have something else for you to learn and grow into. Moses would not continue in leadership successfully had he not learned this valuable lesson from a timely rebuke.
- Follow the Lord’s direction.
Moses truly had a calling from God to lead the Israelites. Moses met with God face to face. God could have revealed this great leadership truth in their alone time together; however, God chose to use Moses’ father-in-law to speak truth in a timely manner. God given correction will reflect to you the purposes of God’s calling and refine you for continued fulfillment of this calling. Moses recognized he was running thin on energy and carrying an emotional and spiritual load he was not intended to carry; he simply needed godly wisdom and direction from a third party. Imagine Moses’s new-found effectiveness after implementing his father-in-law’s advice.
- Obedience to correction is a gift to others.
As a result of Moses submitting to and honoring God by honoring his father-in-law, the Israelites were blessed. New leaders were born; the people learned to self-govern; Moses was refreshed; the new leaders grew in maturity and discernment—and so are the results of the blessing of correction. Often times we can also learn from other’s corrections and mistakes. When walking in humility we learn to extend grace to others, from the same grace of which we have received.
- Honor those with a different vantage point.
Correction can be difficult to receive. Our pride and ambition can get the best of us. Once placed in check and humility begins to lead us, we must honor those who come with correction.
Moses did not leave the meeting with his father-in-law and begin to share personal frustrations and “family only” drama. He honored his father-in-law by heeding his advice, and utilizing his father-in-law for wisdom for implementation. Exodus 18:27, states that, “Moses let his father-in-law depart” after implementation. In other words, Moses honored the correction, and followed through by seeking his father-in-law’s continued assistance until the corrective action was carried out.
This place of humility and honor brings the Lord’s blessing and peace to everyone involved. Long-term relationships can be continued from a place of honor. Neglect of this honor can cause tension and future factions unnecessarily.