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Old 14th September 2018, 03:39 PM
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Default Exodus 18

[Exodus 18]
{18:1} And when Jethro, the priest of Midian, the kinsman of Moses, had heard all that God had done for Moses, and for his people Israel, and that the Lord had led Israel away from Egypt,

The importance of preaching, someone is going to listen the Good News in order to leave the old ways and become anew living such Good News in God.

{18:2} he brought Zipporah, the wife of Moses, whom he was to return to him,

Jethro was also known as "Reuel" (Exodus 2:18 ) (2:21).

{18:3} and her two sons, of whom one was called Gershom, (for his father said, “I have been a newcomer in a foreign land,”)
{18:4} and the other in truth was Eliezer, (“For the God of my father,” he said, “is my helper, and has rescued me from the sword of Pharaoh.”)

Notice that in this ancient Jewish culture, names were given for a purpose, often glorifying God. It is not like in todays' culture where names are given just because "sounds good", "is popular", "I just like it". No, names had a significant meaning behind it. Likewise, when God renames a person, we see that it is also for a purpose regarding the role that such person is undertaken onwards. And not only persons but also places such as "Babel" (Genesis 11:8-9)

{18:5} And so Jethro, the kinsman of Moses, with his sons and his wife, came to Moses in the desert, where he was encamped next to the mountain of God.
{18:6} And he sent word to Moses, saying: “I, Jethro, your kinsman, have come to you, with your wife, and your two sons with her.”
{18:7} And going out to meet his kinsman, he reverenced and kissed him. And they saluted each other with peaceful words. And when he had arrived at the tent,

To give "reverence with a kiss" is not an equivalent of worshipping. Moses was only showing a sign of respect to his kinsman or father in law.

{18:8} Moses explained to his kinsman all that the Lord had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians on behalf of Israel, and all the hardships which had befallen them on the journey, and how the Lord had freed them.
{18:9} And Jethro was gladdened over all the good that the Lord had done for Israel, because he had rescued them from the hand of the Egyptians.
{18:10} And he said: “Blessed is the Lord, who has freed his people from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of Pharaoh; he has rescued his people from the hand of Egypt.

Notice how after hearing the Good News, Jethro starts praising the true God.

{18:11} Now I know that the great Lord is above all gods. This is why they acted arrogantly against them.”

By Moses' testimony is that his kinsman realizes that the Lord of Israel is the true God of all creation, for a "god" that is inferior to someone or something is not truly a God.

{18:12} And so Jethro, the kinsman of Moses, offered holocausts and sacrifices to God. And Aaron arrived with all the elders of Israel, in order to eat bread with him in the sight of God.

After praising the God of Israel, Jethro now starts worshipping Him. So we see here that Jethro was a man of good will, he didn't know about the true God back in his land, he only know about the many gods that people offered sacrifices, but after receiving the Good News about the true God, the God of all creation, Jethro now starts worshipping Him.

{18:13} Then, the next day, Moses sat down in order to judge the people, and they stood beside Moses from morning, even until evening.
{18:14} And when, of course, his kinsman saw all that he did among the people, he said: “What is this that you do among the people? Why do you sit alone, while all the people stand before you, from morning, even until evening?”

Jethro saw that his son-in-law was a very busy man! taking care of all the Israelite people's issues.

{18:15} And Moses answered him: “The people come to me seeking the verdict of God.
{18:16} And when any kind of dispute occurs among them, they come to me to judge between them, and to reveal the precepts of God and of his laws.”

Notice that God has appointed Moses as the leader of the Israelite people, so that when there was some dispute, they went to him in order to settle the matter in accordance with God's will for Moses was acting as God's vicar or representative (Exodus 6:18 ) (7:1). Now, if there were no human authority and all the matters were to be resolved in accordance by everyone's own opinion, there would have been chaos an discord among themselves.

{18:17} But he said, “This is not good, what you are doing.

Jethro tells Moses that what he is doing is not good in the sense that he is becoming overwhelmed by the issues of multitude, he is not able to handle all those issues by himself alone without exhausting himself.

{18:18} You will be consumed by foolish efforts, both you and this people who are with you. The task is beyond your strength; you will not be able bear it alone.
{18:19} But listen to my words and counsels, and then God will be with you. Be available to the people in that which pertains to God, so as to refer what they say to him,
{18:20} and to reveal to the people the ceremonies, and the rituals of worship, and the way by which they should progress, and the work that they should do.
{18:21} Then provide, from all of the people, men capable and fearing God, in whom there is truth and who hate avarice, and appoint from them tribunes, and leaders of hundreds, and of fifties, and of tens,
{18:22} who may judge the people at all times. Then, when anything greater will have occurred, they may refer it to you, and let them judge the lesser matters only. And so it may be lighter for you, the burden being divided among others.

Jethro advices Moses of the necessity of a hierarchy in order to handle all the people's matters. Moses remaining as the leader of all. Our Church is Universal (Catholic), so a hierarchy is necessary in order to feed and take care all the sheep in the world.

{18:23} If you will do this, you will fulfill the orders of God, and you will be able to uphold his precepts. And this entire people will return to their places in peace.”
{18:24} Having heard this, Moses did everything that he had suggested to him.

A lesson to learn here, always to listen the advice of older, wise, more experienced people, especially of those who love us, and discern if such advice is convenient.

{18:25} And choosing virtuous men from all of Israel, he appointed them as leaders of the people: tribunes, and leaders of hundreds, and of fifties, and of tens.

So we see how a hierarchy is being set up, some in charge of authority with more responsibility than others

{18:26} And they judged the people at all times. But whatever was more serious, they referred to him, and they judged easier matters only.

Moses continues to be the leader of all, at the head of all.

{18:27} And he dismissed his kinsman, who, turning back, went to his own land.

Moses' kinsman came to him because of hearing the Good News of what the God of the Israelite people have done for them. He also wanted to bring his daughter (Moses' wife (2:21)) and grandchildren to his son-in-law, but he could not have gone if he did not want to. Jethro realizes that this God is superior to all the false gods and returns to his own land but as new person, now able to worship the one true God as he did with Moses during this short stay with him. We may think of Jethro (Reuel), Moses' kinsman, as the father of our organized Church. Jesus appointed the Apostles with Peter at the head as leaders of His Church (Matt 16:18-19) (18:18 ) (John 20:21) but then, as the Church's members started to grow in number, they needed assistance so, with Jesus' authority, they also appointed assistants with determinate roles (Acts 6).

Today our Church consists of the Pope (the Supreme Head of the whole Church, also a Bishop), the Bishops of their particular towns or dioceses, each with their respective Coadjutor and Auxiliary Bishops (if needed - Christus Dominus #25) and their respective priests and deacons who assist them in the ordained ministry accordingly.
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John 3:27; John 15:5; Matthew 19:26
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