Exodus 18


In Chapter 18 we see Jethro, the father in-law of Moses, come to meet Moses and the Israelites. Moses is judging between the disputes the people were having and seeking God on their behalf. Jethro sees that Moses is overwhelmed and, since he is a priest, he offers unsought for advice to Moses which essentially sets up a priesthood like the one he is used to.

 Jethro was impressed with what God had done and offers sacrifices to the Lord. However, it seems like he did not abandon the god(s) he served nor did he seek to learn about the God of Moses and Israel whom he called the, “God who is greater than all the gods.”  

 God has a plan for a priesthood but first there must be the law and before that, a people who will commit to following and communicating the law. The advice of Jethro jumps ahead of God’s plan and sets up a structure that fallen man can climb to achieve status in the eyes of fallen man. These seventy men will eventually become the Sanhedrin that condemns Jesus to death.

 We must be careful to compare advice or “good ideas” with the Word of God and prayer. Absent in this story is Moses seeking if this good idea is something God wants him to do. I have also found that right before God wants to do something there often comes a temptation that is similar to what God wants to do but the timing is not right or the ways of man corrupt and compromise us to the point that God has to deal with us before He can proceed with His plan for us. Well-meaning people can give well-meaning advice but the source may not be of God but of the world. When we fall for that kind of temptation we may find we are working hard doing busy work and not doing God’s work, nor are we doing something God has gifted us to do.

Temptations come in many ways and in many situations where we may find ourselves. I have found that temptations often come when I am overwhelmed or when I am bored. It seems that when we are bored our emotions are hungry and we want to feed them.  The devil likes to offer up “fast food for emotions” and if we bite we can find ourselves in trouble or overcommitted to the point where our emotions are exhausted and looking for another “fast food for emotions” fix. Be careful here. There is a Greek word in the New Testament which is translated, “To stumble” or “to offend.” From this word we get our English word “scandal.” The meaning of the Greek word is, “The trigger on the trap where the bait is put.” It would be good to keep this definition in mind when our emotions are hungry and we are tempted to act.

 God is not impulsive.  He doesn’t say, “This opportunity is only available for a short time so act now or you will miss it.” There is an old saying in the wood shop, “Measure twice, cut once.” When facing temptations it is better to stop, seek the Lord’s will, and if necessary, wait on Him rather than take the bait.  It is better to be certain of God’s will, then commit. You will be glad you did.

 Don’t let temptation become a stumbling block. Wait on the Lord

Pastor Dave

For further study of the Greek word “skandalon” here are the verses where it is used.

Matthew 13:41; 16:23; 18:7; Luke 17:1; Romans 9:33; 11:9; 14:13; 16:17; 

1 Corinthians 1:23; Galatians 5:11; 1Peter 2:8; 1 John 2:10; Revelation 2:14.