Read: Exodus 17-22
Exodus 18 5 Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, together with Moses’ sons and wife, came to him in the wilderness, where he was camped near the mountain of God. 6 Jethro had sent word to him, “I, your father-in-law Jethro, am coming to you with your wife and her two sons.”
7 So Moses went out to meet his father-in-law and bowed down and kissed him. They greeted each other and then went into the tent.8 Moses told his father-in-law about everything the Lord had done to Pharaoh and the Egyptians for Israel’s sake and about all the hardships they had met along the way and how the Lord had saved them.
I think this is an interesting passage in the middle of the Israelites fighting for the promised land. Jethro cared about Moses and brought his family back to him. We read a little later in verse 17 that Jethro quickly sees how exhausted Moses has become. Jethro gives a suggestion to Moses and in verse 24 we read that Moses begins to spread out the responsibilities. It seems this freed up Moses enough to head up to the mountaintop with God.
Exodus 19 tells of a new boundary that God is establishing. Moses helps to establish a new level of worship and reverence for God. In Exodus 20 Moses is to receive the 10 commandments, but it’s important to read in chapter 19 first that the Israelites agreed to obey the boundaries that were to be established.
“5 Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession.Although the whole earth is mine, 6 you[a] will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”
7 So Moses went back and summoned the elders of the people and set before them all the words the Lord had commanded him to speak. 8 The people all responded together, “We will do everything the Lord has said.”So Moses brought their answer back to the Lord.
9 The Lord said to Moses, “I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, so that the people will hear me speaking with you and will always put their trust in you.” Then Moses told the Lord what the people had said.”
Record: Read Exodus 20-22, what stands out to you. Reflect on how far we have strayed as a country.
Do you think any of the commandments are unnecessary?
What do you think of the Israelite’s commitment?
Review: I think we all face times in our lives when God’s boundaries seem impossible to abide by. In this situation, the Israelite’s were given the chance to say no ahead of time. God’s promise was lavish, just as grace is for us. Still, it is never as easy as we expect it will be!
Our move to the mountains was a bold act of obedience. It made no sense, and yet it was clear God was calling us out into the wilderness. Plan and prepare as we tried life looks very little like we imagined it would. As we consider all that we anticipated our lives would look like, I can’t help but wonder if the Israelites made inaccurate assumptions as well.
Our disappointments came in assumptions made and not fulfilled. God laid out a simple boundary for the Israelites and they agreed to it. It wouldn’t take long for them to change their minds.