This is a precious passage. And a precious celebration of the potential of the in-law relationship. Moses is exhausted…probably in every sense of the word. And here comes his father-in-law, Jethro.
I can picture the two of them; sitting around a fire and talking for hours about all that has happened since they last met. Jethro is fully engaged and fully blessed to hear Moses talk about his life…his victories…his struggles. Verse nine says he is delighted to hear all that his son-in-law has to share. I love that. There’s no sense that Jethro is looking for fault or questioning Moses’ actions as a husband or father. He simply enjoys him.
The next day, Jethro quietly observes the lifestyle and habits of Moses. And here’s the thing. When he sees a better way for Moses, he doesn’t start spewing advice or saying passive aggressive things. He asks a question – taking time to understand the situation from Moses’ perspective before jumping to conclusions. Then, he offers advice with the motive of relieving Moses’ burden and helping him to become a more effective – and less exhausted – leader. And Moses listens.
May I treasure my daughters-in-law and honor my parents-in-law in an Exodus-eighteen way. They are such a gift. May I make time to really enjoy them; to sit and talk about life’s joys and struggles. May I be slow to speak and even slower to judge. And may I always seek to understand things from their perspective before offering my own opinions about things. Thank you, God, for these precious relationships. Help me to handle them with care.