The Tora reading for this week’s Parasha is entitled Yitro meaning Jethro. It is taken from the book of Exodus, 18:1-20:23,
The gods of the Egyptians have been defeated, Pharaoh has been humiliated, his firstborn son, “killed” and his army destroyed.
The Red Sea has parted, Israel has been released from slavery, Adonai has been glorified and all the nations know of the God Israel.
This news of the chosen nation’s activities has traveled far and wide. Two million people leaving Egypt, crossing the Red Sea by a miraculous miracle, moving southward in the Sinai Peninsula, and defeating the strong Amalekites – this was news that could not be kept secret.
Travelers, herders, and dwellers in nearby areas, even spies of other nations would have heard about these colossal events and would report the news to others. Israel’s activities were the great events of that time and area.
Hearing of this Exodus, Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law visited Moses. Jethro had followed the affairs of his son-in-law with intense interest,
So that when the Israelis camped at Rephidim, Jethro determined to see his son-in-law.
This visit of Jethro the priest of Midian, was not only a reunion with Moses’ father-in-law, but also a reunion with his wife and sons.
Remember, Zipporah, Moses’ wife had been sent back to Jethro after the circumcision incident on the way to Egypt. Moses had two sons, Gershom, and Eliezer, the Youngest.
When Moses left Midian to go to Egypt, he was a fugitive and a lowly shepherd of his father-in-law Jethro. Now he’s the emancipator, the lawgiver, prophet, miracle worker and leader of the chosen nation of the Three-In-One God.
Moses ‘prestige had risen tremendously since leaving the Midianite scene, and it’s almost certain that Jethro took all of this into account.
Moses gave his father-in-law a firsthand account of everything Adonai had done to Pharaoh the Egyptians and of their travels.
Jethro was so moved that he said: Praise the Lord because He freed you from the powers of Egypt. He saved you from Pharaoh.
Now I know the Lord “He” is greater than all the gods!
Jethro is an example of the Lord accomplishing his purposes through the Jewish people, so that all the world would know that Israel’s God, is “God Almighty.”
Jethro honored Adonai by participating in a sacrifice of the burnt offering. Then Aaron and all the elders of Israel came to eat with Moses’ father-in-law. They all ate together glorifying God.
Jethro was a just man who had a deep religious spirit; he also displayed wisdom when he taught Moses how to delegate authority. I believe as do some theologians that his faith was lacking.
The polytheism of the pagan nations allowed them to recognize the powers of various deities and to praise each god when there was evidence of their power.
The question I ask, did Jethro truly serve the one and only Living God? Jethro said in verse 11, “Now I know the Lord is greater than all the gods”. To Israel then and to us today there is only one God.
Chapter 19: Moses was told to have the people purify themselves and be ready to receive a powerful revelation from Adonai on the third day from Mount Sinai.
Adonai had several objectives for bringing his chosen nation to Mount Sinai.
- To reveal His glory and holiness.
- To reveal man’s sinfulness.
- To mark Israel as the chosen people, and to separate them from all other nations.
- To give Israel a standard for godly living,
- To prepare Israel for the coming of Messiah,
By giving them the ten commandments.
The Ten Commandments were proclaimed to Israel directly by the voice of God, as Adonai manifested Himself by the long and loud piercing sound of the trumpets, by thunder, lightning, fire, smoke, thick darkness and from a quaking Mount Sinai.
And later they were inscribed by the finger of God on tablets of stone.
We must read and study each of these commandments, then confess that we have broken them all.
It’s humbling to know that these laws will judge, convict, and condemn us, by our every fault, every sin, every idle word, a glance could prove to be adulterous, we could be guilty of murder by a word or a thought.
When the Holy Spirit applies God’s laws to the conscience, secret sins are brought to light, little and hidden sins are magnified to their true size.
As we stand guilty before The Eternal God, and His holy law.
“Cursed is the man who does not uphold the words of this law by carrying them out.” Duet 27:26 NIV “and all the people shall say Amen”
There are few points on which believers make a greater mistake than on the relation that exists between Law and grace.
Many see them as adversaries, but the reality is that they are allies, and we need both.
We need Law and we need grace. The Law reveals God’s standards that we all fall short of.
If you ignore the Law or lower its standards you dim the light by which sinners perceives their guilt.
This would be a serious loss to the sinner because it would lessen the likelihood of the sinner’s conviction and conversion.
Charles Spurgeon said “he didn’t believe that any man could preach the gospel who does not preach the law. The biblical gospel proclamation is– preach the law to the proud. And grace to the humble.”
Sinners will not appreciate grace until they see themselves guilty and condemned before a just and holy Law.
The Law is the surgeon’s knife that cuts out the proud flesh so that the wound may heal.
The Law strips, and then by grace Messiah comes in and robes the soul in beauty and glory.
Ignore the Law and you deprive Grace of its most powerful ally. You have taken away from it the schoolmaster who brings sinners to the grace of Messiah.
If we read and study these commandments. Ask the Holy Spirit to show us the darkness and wickedness of our hearts.
Then prayerfully confess all our sins with true repentance, ask the God of all mercy and grace, to forgive us, pardon us, and then seek His atonement.
The gospel news is that we can be forgiven of our sins in half the tick-of a clock. And passed from death to life in the blink of an eye.
Heavenly God, King, and Father, and Yeshua our Messiah. Our prayer is, that You will hide us behind the cross and keep us under the blood.