The Prototype: Jethro

Moses sees God, hears from God and gets instructions from God. However Moses exits Egypt with the young Hebrew nation in tow and finds himself stuck in the wilderness wearing himself out. God allowed Jethro (the priest of ancient Midian) to enter the scene, speak some advice to Moses and then leave. What Jethro said to Moses remains at the core of  Governmental and Judicial systems that we know today. So in summary, the strategic and operational advice Jethro provided to Moses was able to help in a unique situation and allowed Moses to lead Israel more effectively. Read Exodus 18.

Exodus 18:17-24 – 17And Moses’ father in law said unto him, The thing that thou doest is not good.  18Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou, and this people that is with thee: for this thing is too heavy for thee; thou art not able to perform it thyself alone.  19Hearken now unto my voice, I will give thee counsel, and God shall be with thee: Be thou for the people to God-ward, that thou mayest bring the causes unto God:  20And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.  21Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens:  22And let them judge the people at all seasons: and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge: so shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear the burden with thee.  23If thou shalt do this thing, and God command thee so, then thou shalt be able to endure, and all this people shall also go to their place in peace.  24So Moses hearkened to the voice of his father in law, and did all that he had said.

Some key observations are:

  • Jethro was a Godly man and loved Moses very much
  • Jethro’s advice was spot on. It helped Moses lead Israel more effectively and efficiently with less effort
  • Moses did not seek God, but heeded the advice of Jethro because Moses trusted and respected Jethro deeply
  • God did not rebuke Moses or Jethro for the encounter, or the advice, or the implementation of the advice

Some practcial applications today are:

  • Pride – Pastors, Elders and Leaders don’t know everything
  • Gifts in the Body – God provides insight, wisdom and information in other vessels and makes those people available to leaders/elders
  • Trust – The Gift of Governments (just like other gifts) requires trust be establish to be able to convey the God-breathed strategy or message on an issue. Without trust, carriers of the gift will not come forward to leaders with the insight, and likewise leaders will not receive from those they don’t trust.


  • Can you image Jethro shows up on the scene at a local church to advise, help, instruct a pastor ? Situations like this occur, where Jethro gets rebuked for rebellion, leaders feel threatened and have to remove the threat (to position, income, comfort, stability, change), disable and discredit Jethro … and when the threat has been dealthwith, nothing has changed….