April 5, Friday

Devotional Thought for Today

“‘No One Tells Me What to Do’—Oh, Be Quiet”

Exodus 18:24-27

So Moses listened 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, chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. 26 And they judged the people at all times. Any hard case they brought to Moses, but any small matter they decided themselves. 27 Then Moses let his father-in-law depart, and he went away to his own country.

At this point Moses had a decision to make: Listen to his father-in-law’s advice (not always easy, as many a married man will attest) or keep doing what he was doing. But why should he listen to Jethro? After all, Moses was the one who just led the Israelites out of slavery, defying and defeating the world’s greatest superpower at the time! And it was Moses who performed miracle after miracle, wonders the likes of which the world had never seen. It may have been very tempting for him to assume that he was the one God uses, therefore he needs to do everything.

Maybe it was Moses’ great humility that saved him at this point. After all, he was “more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3). A younger, prouder man might have balked at advice from “mere mortals,” no less from one’s own father-in-law! Moses, however, was willing to receive such advice. Proverbs 12:15 says, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.”

How willing are you to listen to advice? Are there things going on in your life, whether difficult decisions or relationship issues or confusion about the future? Do you seek counsel from others? Or do you feel like you need to figure everything out on your own? Do you have a difficult time asking others for help or appearing “weak” by admitting you don’t know what to do? Let us consider the example of Moses, the man who the Scriptures declare “was faithful in all God’s house as a servant” (Hebrews 3:5), and learn from the wisdom of his humility.

Prayer: Lord, grant me a humble heart. Forgive me of my pride, self-reliance, and insecurity. Help me to be willing to be weak, vulnerable, or uncertain, and to be willing to reveal such things before others. Encourage me with the power of community and the wisdom of many counselors, that I may receive conviction to walk more and more with others by my side. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Romans 2


Lunch Break Study

Read Joshua 7:1-6: But the Israelites were unfaithful in regard to the devoted things; Achan son of Karmi, the son of Zimri, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of them. So the Lord’s anger burned against Israel. Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth Aven to the east of Bethel, and told them, “Go up and spy out the region.” So the men went up and spied out Ai. When they returned to Joshua, they said, “Not all the army will have to go up against Ai. Send two or three thousand men to take it and do not weary the whole army, for only a few people live there.” So about three thousand went up; but they were routed by the men of Ai, who killed about thirty-six of them. They chased the Israelites from the city gate as far as the stone quarries and struck them down on the slopes. At this the hearts of the people melted in fear and became like water.

Questions to Consider

  1. How formidable was the city of Ai?
  2. Why did the Israelites lose the battle?
  3. What effect did Achan’s sin have on the rest of the people? What does this tell you about the nature and impact of sin?

Notes

  1. Ai was puny, especially compared to Israel’s army.
  2. The Israelites lost because Achan broke covenant with God. God had been fighting for Israel and now His favor was removed.
  3. Even though Achan did not involve other Israelites in his sin, nevertheless the entire nation was affected. The effects of sin go beyond what the eye can see and can affect the entire community.

Evening Reflection

What’s something in your life that you know isn’t right and need to begin taking more seriously? What’s one step, no matter how small, that you can take to begin addressing it?

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