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Witnessing and Wisdom in the Wilderness

Exodus 18:1-27

 

 

Itís a family reunion as Moses is reunited w/ his wife and sons, and his father in law, Jethro.  I tried to find a picture of Jethro and other than this one [slide of Jethro Bodine] all I could find was this [lego Jethro] The last time Jethro had been in Mosesí presence he heard him tell about his talk w/ some shrubbery [burning bush].  But now itís 40 years later and I think that Jethro has been convinced about the God of Israel and has been converted.

 

Moses witnesses to his father in law and it works.  Lost family members are the hardest to talk to and the most difficult to reach.  But they need to hear.  V. 1 says ĎJethro heardí...and faith comes by hearing and if they donít hear it from you, who are they going to hear it from?

 

Some tips for working on your family:

 

1.     Donít alienate them.

Donít pick at their sins [plural].  Donít focus on their drinking, cussing, lust, etc.  ďYou shouldnít do this or thatĒ will only alienate them.  They already have a deep down guilt and emptiness about those things.  We need to go deeper.

 

They arenít going to hell for their sins [plural], but for their sin [singular] of unbelief.  Itís the root cause and the rest is just the fruit of that root. 

Ill.ópicture w/ me a person w/ sores and boils on their skin.  Itís an outward thing.  You can pick at it but it only festers and grows worse and more painful.  But when you figure out what it is in their bloodstream that is causing this, youíve gotten down to the heart of the matter, the root!

 

Now, we shouldnít condone their sin, nor should we partake of their sin in order to reach them.  We need to fight spiritual battles on the home field.  Itís never right to do wrong! 

 

2.     Use your testimony.

v. 8  Relate your story.  Itís powerful, no matter how it goes.  Over and over again Paul does this in Acts.  You have to have a testimony first, before you can share it.  Whatís yours?

 

My Testimony

 

3.     Leave it in Godís hands.

The ball is in your court until you open your mouth.  But once you do, the ball is in their court.  Leave it w/ God.  Bring it back to Him often in prayer.  Pray for them every day.  Come to the altar for them...show God how much they mean to you and how much you believe in the power of prayer.

Ill.óGeorge Mueller prayed for several friendsí salvation for decades, and some of them only trusted Christ after his death, but all of them got saved in the end!

 

Witnessing in the wilderness...

 

Wisdom in the Wilderness

v. 13-27   Just what every guy wants to hear from his father in law.  ďYouíre blowing it!Ē  ďThe thing you are doing is not good!Ē 

 

I believe that good advice is shared here.  Be wise.  Donít try to do it all yourself.  Youíll die having accomplished little.  Be a delegator.  Itís not laziness, itís wisdom to share the load w/ good capable people! 

 

Now some good people think differently about this passage, that itís worldly wisdom that was shared and not heavenly wisdom.  Further, they say that many believe out of this order of leaders arose the Sanhedrin...not a good thing!  I can see all these points but I disagree.  Vv. 21-22 show the high requirements these leaders must meet with, and that the large matters should still come before Moses.  I think somewhere later along the line those standards may have gone by the wayside.

 

In this advice we see a principle of priority

Find out the main thing you are supposed to be doing and do that first and do that best.  In Mosesí case it was to go to God for the people.  But as he spent all day on minor disputes he never got around to his main thing the way he should have.  Our main priority is to look God ward every day.

 

Every pastor has to make these decisions, and I for one have decided my main priority is the preaching of the Word, thoí thereís so much more I could fill my days with.  Itís a blessing to have such good help these days around here that frees me up to study and pray and prepare to do what Iím doing now!  Iím privileged to be able to read and study after many great men, and I even got advice from my father in law about this message today!

 

You need to have a priority in your life as well.  You need to have one ministry in the church that is your priority, and you do it often, and you do it the best! 

 

In this advice we see a principle of personnel

Ill.óD.L. Moody said itís better to get a hundred men to work than to do the work of a hundred men. 

 

Iíd say that 75% of our church has a ministry.  Thatís great.  We have many that can do the job better than I can anyway.  Theyíre more qualified in their area than I am. 

 

In this advice we see a principle of planning

God is for organization.  Some resist this and say, no, youíll organize the Holy Spirit right out of the church.  Iím sensitive to that, and donít want that to happen, I assure you. 

 

What did the Lord do first when He fed the 5,000?  He told the disciples to divide the people into groups of 50.  We are to do all things decently and in order.  The universe is a place of order.  The church is told to keep order.  And more than we are an organization we are an organism, a living thing, and each of us are parts of the body...an organized body. 

 

We need to live our lives by a plan, and plan our ministry as well.  I need to organize my desk just as I need to organize my thoughts.  And we should seek Godís will for the future and then make our plans accordingly, and where we get off track or He needs to give us a course correction we should be sensitive to that and not over plan...be flexible!

 

In this advice we see a principle of pride

Moses was humble to receive this advice when he could have said, YOU are trying to give ME advice?  Donít you know who I am?  Have you ever parted the Red Sea?

 

I feel sorry for those who think they know it all.  I used to be one of them so I understand them pretty well, and I know they arenít going anywhere until they learn to be teachable, moldable, and humble!

 

 


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