Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Practical Intercession

Jethro and Moses, as in Exodus 18, watercolor ...

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Jethro (Moses' father-in-law) saw something that Moses could not see himself. He was certain that Moses was going to burn out leading the people of Israel and they would grow tired of his leadership and how long it took to get answers (Exodus 18:18). Jethro offered wise counsel. He did not challenge the authority of God. In fact he called upon it. His was more counsel as to the practical more than the spiritual. I am glad that God puts people into our lives to offer practical advice. In this way God used Jethro to intercede for Moses. See if you can follow my line of thinking.

First Jethro acknowledged Yahweh as God (Exodus 18:10-11). Then he watched and paid attention to what Moses was doing (Exodus 18:14). He noticed that Moses had a need. Moses was not aware of this need, but Jethro noticed it none the less. He pointed out the need (Exodus 18:17-18). Then he offered a solution as to what Moses could do about it.

Now listen to me; I will give you some advice, and God be with you. You be the one to represent the people before God and bring their cases to Him. Instruct them about the statutes and laws, and teach them the way to live and what they must do. But you should select from all the people able men, God-fearing, trustworthy, and hating bribes. Place them over the people as commanders of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens. They should judge the people at all times. Then they can bring you every important case but judge every minor case themselves. In this way you will lighten your load, and they will bear it with you. If you do this, and God so directs you, you will be able to endure, and also all these people will be able to go home satisfied.
Exodus 18:19-23 (HCSB)

Being used of God does not always correspond to what we would consider spiritual. Often God uses us in very practical ways to minister to other's needs. What is required is for us to be open to the possibility that God might use us to help another out in a practical way or that God might be using others to help us in some practical way. This could take the form of advise. It could also take the form of meeting some basic need. But what ever it might be you will be used of God to intercede for others not in prayer alone, but also in the very natural gifts, talents, and spiritual gifts that God has given you. Often the practical is more spiritual than we might imagine; Consider:

If a brother or sister is without clothes and lacks daily food and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well," but you don't give them what the body needs, what good is it? In the same way faith, if it doesn�t have works, is dead by itself. But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without works, and I will show you faith from my works.
James 2:15-18 (HCSB)

You see Jethro had faith (Exodus 18:11-12), but his faith was shown from his practical advice that he gave to Moses. What is more the practical advice taken by Moses freed up Moses to do what God had planned next; the giving of the Law. Had Moses continued administering (lead) as he was before Jethro's visit he would not have been able to minister (serve) as he did after Jethro's visit. In this way Jethro's practical advice enabled Moses to fulfill his spiritual calling (Exodus 3:12).

We need to be open to what God may be doing in our lives either by way offering practical help to others as Jethro did or in receiving practical help from others in order for God to use us to minister more effectively as Moses did. In this way God can use the practical to bring forth the spiritual.

May God Richly Bless You


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