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Strategies in the Desert

Words of Faith Final

Strategies in the Desert
Words of Faith 12-5-2022
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2022
Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
www.faithfellowshipweb.com
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Exodus 18
[13] The next day Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the people, and they stood around him from morning till evening. [14] When his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, "What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?"
[15] Moses answered him, "Because the people come to me to seek God's will. [16] Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God's decrees and laws."
[17] Moses' father-in-law replied, "What you are doing is not good. [18] You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. [19] 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. [20] Teach them the decrees and laws, and show them the way to live and the duties they are to perform. [21] But select capable men from all the people--men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain--and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. [22] Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you. [23] If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied."
[24] Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said. [25] He chose capable men from all Israel and made them leaders of the people, officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. [26] They served as judges for the people at all times. The difficult cases they brought to Moses, but the simple ones they decided themselves.
[27] Then Moses sent his father-in-law on his way, and Jethro returned to his own country.

The Israelites had many lessons to learn in the Desert School of Faith, mostly related to trusting God fully and obeying His directions. The Lord would win their battles and provide for their needs, but they needed to depend entirely on Him. The next lessons had to do with being a people and a nation.
The people now trusted that Moses was their Prophet. They looked to Him for every concern. He was the one they would go to in a dispute or to gain guidance. The problem was that there was only one Moses, and more than a million people were in the desert! (That is a BIG church!) The people stood waiting for hours while Moses judged each situation personally. Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, readily saw that this burden was too much for Moses. It was through the wise counsel of Jethro that the Lord worked to organize the people.
The first strategy Jethro recommended was to teach. "Teach them the decrees and laws, and show them how to live and the duties they are to perform." This would be the careful plan for passing on the decrees and laws of God that would come later. Some principles were probably already becoming clear through Moses. Rather than depend upon Moses for every decision, the people needed to learn to discern God's will and judgment by knowing His decrees and ways.
Moses was also to teach the people the "way of living" and duties that would honor God and bring them health and favor. This is the beginning of a tremendous legacy of learning. The Hebrew people would become some of the most learned in the world.
A second strategy was in appointed leadership. "But select capable men from all the people--men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain--and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens. Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves." This division of labor was critical to the future movement of the people toward the Land of Promise. Trusted people had to be set in charge.
These strategies required willingness on the part of Moses to let go of every detail. These strategies also required trust on the part of the people and a willingness to share burdens. “That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you.” These are all ingredients of community.
The same strategies are critical today for the people of God. The ministry of teaching God's Word is central to the maturing of God's people. Teaching the ways of God and the duties of the believer are fundamental to what we would call discipleship. This is how we learn to be followers of Christ Jesus.
Just as critical is the willingness to serve in leadership and to trust leadership. God's design has never been for one person to do all of the ministry. "Sharing of the load" is central to the Body of Christ.
He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ" (Ephes. 4:11-13). The Lord has designed the community of Christ and gifted it for works of service so that the Body will be built up.
Have you evaluated your place in the Body lately? Are you committed to learning the ways of God and teaching others? Are you helping to make the load lighter? Are you applying the ways of God to your own life? Have you found a place to serve? Are you connected and accountable through leadership?

Father, show me my place. I want to serve. Show me ways that I can help share burdens and make the load lighter for others in the Body of Christ. Plant your truth deep in me so that I may know Your way. In Jesus’ name.

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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2022
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)
2820 Business Center Blvd.
Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200
Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com
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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2022 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.