People such as Jethro and Melchizedek – not Israelites, but nevertheless worshippers of the true God – play an important role in the Old Testament. They remind us of God’s commitment to the world. God chose one nation through which to work, but his love and concern are for all nations!
Jethro’s religious background prepared him for, rather than prevented him from, responding in faith to God. When he saw and heard what God had done for the Israelites, he worshipped God wholeheartedly. We can guess that for 40 years as Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro had been watching God at work, moulding a leader. Moses’ and Jethro’s relationship must have been close, for Moses readily accepted his father-in-law’s advice. Each benefited [culture] from knowing the other. Jethro met God through Moses, and Moses received hospitality, his wife, and wisdom from Jethro.
The greatest gift one person can give another is an introduction to God. But that gift is hindered if the believer’s attitude is, “I have the greatest gift to pass on to you, while you have nothing to give me in return.” Real friends give to and receive from each other. The importance of introducing a friend to God does not make the friend’s gift to us insignificant. Rather, the believer is doubly blessed – first by receiving the gifts the friend wishes to give; then by growing in knowledge of the Lord. For we discover that in introducing another person to God, we increase our own awareness of God. As we give God away, he gives himself even more to us.
Is all you know about God a miscellaneous collection of trivia, or do you have a living relationship with him? Only with a vital relationship can you pass on to others the excitement of allowing God to guide your life. Have you reached the point of saying, with Jethro, “I know that the LORD is greater than all other gods” (Exodus 18:11)?
Strengths and accomplishments:
- As father-in-law to Moses, he came to recognise the one true God
- He was a practical troubleshooter and organiser
Lessons from his life:
- Supervision and administration are team efforts
- God’s plan includes all nations
- Where: The land of Midian and the Desert of Sinai
- Occupations: Shepherd, priest
- Relatives: Daughter: Zipporah. Son-in-law: Moses. Son: Hobab
Key verse: “Jethro was delighted to hear about all the good things the LORD had done for Israel in rescuing them from the hand of the Egyptians” (Exodus 18:9).
Jethro’s story is told in Exodus 2:15-3:1; 18:1-27. He is also mentioned in Judges 1:16.