Scripture: Exodus 18:13-27
13 On the morrow Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood about Moses from morning till evening. 14 When Moses' father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, "What is this that you are doing for the people? Why do you sit alone, and all the people stand about you from morning till evening?"Meditation: Another test for Moses and the people of Israel was the ordering of their life as a people and the administration of justice. Both Moses and the people were wearing themselves out. Jethro, Moses' father- in-law, intervened and suggested that Moses appoint seventy elders to assist him in the government of justice. Moses meekly received this wisdom as not only coming from his father-in-law, but from God, the source of all good wisdom.
15 And Moses said to his father-in-law, "Because the people come to me to inquire of God; 16 when they have a dispute, they come to me and I decide between a man and his neighbor, and I make them know the statutes of God and his decisions."
17 Moses' father-in-law said to him, "What you are doing is not good. 18 You and the people with you will wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you; you are not able to perform it alone. 19 Listen now to my voice; I will give you counsel, and God be with you! You shall represent the people before God, and bring their cases to God; 20 and you shall teach them the statutes and the decisions, and make them know the way in which they must walk and what they must do. 21 Moreover choose able men from all the people, such as fear God, men who are trustworthy and who hate a bribe; and place such men over the people as rulers of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. 22 And let them judge the people at all times; every great matter they shall bring to you, but any small matter they shall decide themselves; so it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. 23 If you do this, and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all this people also will go to their place in peace."
24 So Moses gave heed to the voice of his father-in-law and did all that he had said. 25 Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people, rulers of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. 26 And they judged the people at all times; hard cases they brought to Moses, but any small matter they decided themselves. 27 Then Moses let his father-in-law depart, and he went his way to his own country.
The appointment of seventy elders is significant.The number seventy in the scriptures is often connected with God's administration of the world. After the flood the world was repopulated with seventy descendants of Noah (see Genesis 10). The number of people who originally went down to Egypt were seventy (Genesis 46:47). The people of Judah spent seventy years of exile in Babylon (Jeremiah 25:11). Seventy weeks were decreed by God as the period in which the Messianic redemption would be completed (Daniel 9:24). Jesus sent seventy of his disciples on mission to proclaim the kingdom of God (Luke 10:1). In Jesus' time it was held to be the number of nations in the world.
The Lord gave governors to his people in the wilderness so they could keep his law and be a people. The Lord continues to do so in Christ and through his Spirit (see Ephesians 4:1-3,11-14). Do you pray for the leaders of God's people that they may be strengthened in the Holy Spirit and be filled with wisdom and courage for leading God's people today?
"Lord Jesus, you rule the world by your wisdom and might. Raise up God-fearing
leaders for your people today and show me how I can support and follow
them in their leadership."