Moses’ System of Rulers

Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, comes to visit him in the wilderness with Moses’ wife and children. Jethro witnesses a full day of Moses judging the people. All of the people would come before Moses from morning until evening to get to inquire of God. Moses would teach the people God’s statutes and laws.

Jethro communicates to Moses that this is not a good process and that he is going to wear himself out. Jethro gives him council that Moses should select able men who fear God to rule over the people and help Moses. Important matters can still be brought to Moses, but the small matters would be handled by the smaller groups. There were rulers of thousands, rulers of hundres, rulers of fifties and rulers of tens. So, Moses even received Godly instruction from his father-in-law.

And Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses’ father-in-law, heard of all that God had done for Moses and for Israel His people—that the Lord had brought Israel out of Egypt. Now he had said to Moses, “I, your father-in-law Jethro, am coming to you with your wife and her two sons with her.” And Moses told his father-in-law all that the Lord had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel’s sake, all the hardship that had come upon them on the way, and how the Lord had delivered them. And Jethro said, “Blessed be the Lord , who has delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians and out of the hand of Pharaoh, and who has delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians. Now I know that the Lord  is  greater than all the gods; for in the very thing in which they behaved proudly, He  was above them.” And so it was, on the next day, that Moses sat to judge the people; and the people stood before Moses from morning until evening. So when Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he did for the people, he said, “What is this thing that you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit, and all the people stand before you from morning until evening?” And Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God. When they have a difficulty, they come to me, and I judge between one and another; and I make known the statutes of God and His laws.” So Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “The thing that you do is not good. Both you and these people who are with you will surely wear yourselves out. For this thing is too much for you; you are not able to perform it by yourself. Listen now to my voice; I will give you counsel, and God will be with you: Stand before God for the people, so that you may bring the difficulties to God. And you shall teach them the statutes and the laws, and show them the way in which they must walk and the work they must do. Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to  be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. And let them judge the people at all times. Then it will be that every great matter they shall bring to you, but every small matter they themselves shall judge. So it will be easier for you, for they will bear the  burden with you. If you do this thing, and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all this people will also go to their place in peace.” So Moses heeded the voice of his father-in-law and did all that he had said. And Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people: rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. So they judged the people at all times; the hard cases they brought to Moses, but they judged every small case themselves.
Exodus 18:1, 6-6, 8, 10-11, 13-26 NKJV

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Defeat of the Amalekites

Now Amalek came and fought with Israel in Rephidim. And Moses said to Joshua, “Choose us some men and go out, fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand.”
Exodus 17:8-9 NKJV

God had been with Moses time and time again when the Israelites were in trouble. When the Amalekites came to fight Israel, Moses took his staff and held it high above his head. God provided for the Israelites once again.

And so it was, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands became heavy; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. And Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. So Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.
Exodus 17:11-13 NKJV

Manna from Heaven

Exodus 16 has so many interesting parts to it. The children of Israel moaned that the Lord had brought them out of captivity because, at least in Egypt, they had pots of meat and bread given to them.

The Lord hears their complaint and provides bread in the morning and meat at night. The message was delivered by Aaron to the congregation, even though the Lord would speak directly to Moses.  The meat was quails that would come up to the camp at night. The bread was called manna, and would be on the ground when the morning dew would lift. It was fine as frost (makes me think it looked a little like snow).

The Lord required the Irealites to follow the Sabbath day and would not provide food on the Sabbath. On the sixth day, they would receive enough food to last through the Sabbath. The manna was like white corriander seeds and it tasted like wafers made with honey. The Lord asked Moses to keep a small portion of the manna to show future generations what He had done for them.

And they journeyed from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came to the Wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they departed from the land of Egypt. Then the whole congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. And the children of Israel said to them, “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not. And it shall be on the sixth day that they shall prepare what they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.” Then Moses and Aaron said to all the children of Israel, “At evening you shall know that the Lord has brought you out of the land of Egypt. And in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord ; for He hears your complaints against the Lord . But what are we, that you complain against us?” Also Moses said, “ This  shall  be  seen when the Lord gives you meat to eat in the evening, and in the morning bread to the full; for the Lord hears your complaints which you make against Him. And what are we? Your complaints are not against us but against the Lord .” Then Moses spoke to Aaron, “Say to all the congregation of the children of Israel, ‘Come near before the Lord , for He has heard your complaints.’ ” Now it came to pass, as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of the Lord  appeared in the cloud. “I have heard the complaints of the children of Israel. Speak to them, saying, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. And you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’ ” So it was that quails came up at evening and covered the camp, and in the morning the dew lay all around the camp. And when the layer of dew lifted, there, on the surface of the wilderness, was a small round substance, as fine as frost on the ground. So when the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “This is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat. This is the thing which the Lord has commanded: ‘Let every man gather it according to each one’s need, one omer for each person, according  to  the number of persons; let every man take for those who are in his tent.’ ” Then the children of Israel did so and gathered, some more, some less. So when they measured it by omers, he who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack. Every man had gathered according to each one’s need. And Moses said, “Let no one leave any of it till morning.” Notwithstanding they did not heed Moses. But some of them left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and stank. And Moses was angry with them. So they gathered it every morning, every man according to his need. And when the sun became hot, it melted. And so it was, on the sixth day, that they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for each one. And all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. Then he said to them, “This is  what the Lord has said: ‘Tomorrow is  a Sabbath rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord . Bake what you will bake today, and boil what you will boil; and lay up for yourselves all that remains, to be kept until morning.’ ” So they laid it up till morning, as Moses commanded; and it did not stink, nor were there any worms in it. Then Moses said, “Eat that today, for today is a Sabbath to the Lord ; today you will not find it in the field. Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will be none.” Now it happened that  some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather, but they found none. And the Lord said to Moses, “How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My laws? See! For the Lord has given you the Sabbath; therefore He gives you on the sixth day bread for two days. Let every man remain in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.” So the people rested on the seventh day. And the house of Israel called its name Manna. And it was like white coriander seed, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey. Then Moses said, “This is the thing which the Lord has commanded: ‘Fill an omer with it, to be kept for your generations, that they may see the bread with which I fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you out of the land of Egypt.’ ” And Moses said to Aaron, “Take a pot and put an omer of manna in it, and lay it up before the Lord , to be kept for your generations.” As the Lord commanded Moses, so Aaron laid it up before the Testimony, to be kept. And the children of Israel ate manna forty years, until they came to an inhabited land; they ate manna until they came to the border of the land of Canaan. Now an omer is one-tenth of an ephah.
Exodus 16:1-10, 12-36 NKJV

Where Do We Put Our Faith

For the longest time, I have wondered why the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh when dealing with the Israelites in Exodus. After reading Exodus 14 today, it became clearer. The Egyptians did not worship God. They believed in their own gods and it was in them that they placed their faith. Their culture was also deeply embedded in those beliefs.  Their hearts and minds belonged to that culture.

Then I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, so that he will pursue them; and I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, that the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord.” And they did so. Exodus 14:4 NKJV

The Lord was looking to gain honor over Pharaoh, the leader of the Egyptians. He was after the hearts of the Egyptians, that they may know who He is. When Pharaoh pursued the Isrealites, they called out to the Father of Heaven and Earth. The mightiest army was pursuing the Isrealites.  It caused the children of Isreal to even question why the Lord had brought them out of Egypt – to die by the hand of the Egyptian army? They even question who they serve.

Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, ‘Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness.” Exodus 14:12 NKJV

Moses provides the answer. It is the salvation of the Lord in which he delivers us from death. It is in Him that we can have peace.

And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” Exodus 14:13-14

Pillar of Cloud, Pillar of Fire

The Lord led the Israelites on their journey out of captivity with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire at night. It struck me that a pillar is both upright (walk in uprightness) and a symbol of support.

Pillar is also the name of a Christian band that I like. They may have chosen their name based on this verse which has a lot of meaning.

So they took their journey from Succoth and camped in Etham at the edge of the wilderness. And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people.
Exodus 13:20-22 NKJV

Pharoah: I Have Sinned

The Lord had brought six different plagues on Pharoah and his people through Moses and Aaron.  The Lord asks Moses to tell Pharoah the following:

But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth. As yet you exalt yourself against My people in that you will not let them go. Exodus 9:16-17 NKJV

The Lord says that He has a purpose for Pharoah. He has raised him to power that the Lord may show the world His power. Since Pharoah is against the Lord’s people, He brings a seventh plague: hail, such that Egypt has never seen before. Any man who did not fear the Lord did not seek shelter. Any animal, man, or herb that was outside was destroyed.

Now, Pharoah calls for Moses and Aaron and tells them the following:

And Pharaoh sent and called for Moses and Aaron, and said to them, “I have sinned this time. The Lord  is righteous, and my people and I are wicked. Entreat the Lord , that there may be no more mighty thundering and hail, for it  is enough. I will let you go, and you shall stay no longer.” Exodus 9:27-28 NKJV

Interestingly, Moses says that he knows Moses and his people will not yet fear the Lord, but he stops the hail from coming to show them that the world belongs to the Lord.

And when Pharaoh saw that the rain, the hail, and the thunder had ceased, he sinned yet more; and he hardened his heart, he and his servants. So the heart of Pharaoh was hard; neither would he let the children of Israel go, as the Lord had spoken by Moses. Exodus 9:34-35 NKJV

Let My People Go

One of the most popular phrases from the Bible is, “Let My people go.” Being depicted now in a major motion picture, the account of Moses and the Exodus is one of the most fascinating accounts in the scriptures. Moses and Aaron tell Pharoah to let God’s people go. God wants his people to be free and to hold a feast unto Him.

Pharoah says:

And Pharaoh said, Who is the Lord , that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord , neither will I let Israel go. Exodus 5:2 KJV

The Lord was seeking rest for His people and Pharoah knew it. Moses and Aaron were worried about what the Lord would do if they did not obey God in his request to hold a feast unto Him. The Hebrews had their God, the God of the universe.

Pharoah does not recognize the God of the Hebrews and is upset that they are requesting rest from their work. He does the opposite in defiance. Pharoah gives the Hebrews more work and takes away provisions to make the work more difficult.

The Hebrews are puzzled and ask Pharoah why he is dealing with them in this way. Once they realize it was Moses and Aaron who asked Pharoah to let the have a feast unto the Lord, what was their respons?

And they said unto them, The Lord look upon you, and judge; because ye have made our savour to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to slay us. Exodus 5:2, 21 KJV

They blamed Moses and Aaron. Moses returns to the Lord to ask Him for guidance. The Lord responds with a beautiful and amazing response to His people:

Then the Lord said unto Moses, Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh: for with a strong hand shall he let them go, and with a strong hand shall he drive them out of his land. And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the Lord : And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name Jehovah was I not known to them. And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers. And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant. Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the Lord , and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the Lord . Exodus 6:1-8 KJV