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Let’s Get Organized!

Key References: Exodus 18; Patriarchs and Prophets, chap. 26, pp. 300, 301; The Bible Story (1994), vol. 2, pp. 146- 150; Our Beliefs, nos. 12, 21, 22.

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“But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way” (1 Corinthians 14:40).

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God teaches us to serve Him in an organized way.

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by a task facing you? Have you ever felt stressed? God wants to teach us to approach our lives, and our service for Him, in an organized way that will help relieve stress. He will teach us how to do that, just as He did with Moses.

Jethro looked out of his tent at his daughter Zipporah, who was talking with her two sons, Gershom and Eliezer. He thought about the day his son-in-law Moses, Zipporah, and the two boys had set off for Egypt. God had spoken to Moses in a burning bush and sent him to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt that they may return to Canaan, their homeland. Moses wasn’t confi dent in his own abilities to lead the people of Israel. Yet he accepted the call and decided to trust in God’s leading. So the family set out together for Egypt.

On the way, Moses had been worried about what might be ahead for Zipporah and the two boys in Egypt. So they had come back to Grandpa Jethro. Here they were living the life they were used to, but without their father, Moses.

Now Jethro had news of Moses. He called out to Zipporah and his grandsons. “Come,” he said. “I have news for you.” Jethro told them what he had heard about the Red Sea, the water from a rock, the manna—all the things that God was doing for Moses’ people, who were now safely out of Egypt. “Shall we go to him?” Jethro asked them. He needn’t have bothered; they were already starting to pack.

Jethro sent word to Moses that they were coming. Moses met his father-inlaw, wife, and sons at the edge of the camp and led them to his quarters. There was so much to talk about, so many stories to tell about the bad times and the good times, but most of all, about God’s guidance. Jethro praised God. He led in a sacrifice to God. Aaron and the other elders joined him.

The next day Jethro watched the people fl ock around Moses. Moses sat in a seat outside his tent, and all the people came with their complaints and troubles. Big troubles, little troubles, they all brought them to Moses. Jethro just watched. But that night he asked Moses, “What are you doing? Why do you sit there as the only judge for these thousands and thousands of people? You are going to wear yourself out and be unable to lead the people all the way to their promised land.”

“Well,” Moses replied, “they all look to me as having the word of God. They have seen the way God sends messages to them through me. After I offer solutions to their problems, I teach them God’s ways.”

“The work is too heavy for you,” Jethro said to Moses, “you cannot handle it alone. Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you.

“You must be the people’s representative before God and bring their disputes to him. Teach them his decrees and instructions, and show them the way they are to live and how they are to behave.

“But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as offi cials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every diffi cult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you. If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied” (Exodus 18:18-23).

Moses listened carefully. The very next day he started choosing men. He made them officials over groups of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens. The difficult cases they brought to Moses, but the simple ones they took care of themselves.

By the time Moses said goodbye to his father-in-law, who was headed back to his home in Midian, the camp of Israel was a much more organized place. In the meantime Moses had more time for his two sons, Gershom and Eliezer, and for his beloved wife, Zipporah.

It was obvious that God was a God of order who was willing to teach His children how best to serve Him. God always provided what was needed.