Friday, July 03, 2009

Further thinking on Exodus 18...

Most of my 'heroes' seem to skip Exodus 18 which has left me with a small selection of commentaries to turn to for assistance as I prepare to preach this chapter in a couple of weeks...   Thus far:

v1-12, A God shaped mission. Moses tells Jethro about the LORD's salvation, and Jethro belives in the Triune God. We're on mission because he is. Jethro the Gentile comes because he's heard, hears and becomes a friend of God (Jethro is later called Reuel = friend of God, Numbers 10v29)

Why wouldn't we see this or do this? Have we forgotten his great salvation... having sojourned in a foreign land (Gershom), the LORD has helped us and delivered us (Eliezer). Hear again, rejoice with Jethro! Celebrate the LORD, greater than all 'gods' - Matthew Henry: "The magicians were baffled, the idols shaken, Pharaoh humbled, his powers broken, and God's Israel was rescued.... God will show himself above those that by their proud dealings contest with him. He that exalts himself against God shall be abased."Forget yourself by observing what he has done, above all in The Cross of Christ. 

Only in view of what he has done do we return to the LORD and join his people, and not only us - but all peoples are welcome, even Ishmalites like Jethro can come, even all the ethnicities and tribes of our city that we might not think are welcome.

v13-27, God shaped community. Jethro tells Moses to avoid burnout by including more people, Moses listens and appoints trustworthy heads (ESV), men like The Trustworthy Head of the Church, to form a Trinitarian structure to judge cases. The nature of God shapes our strategy and methodology, albeit imperfectly.

Why wouldn't see do the same? Preference for tradition, clinging to power or wanting to, our own ideas of how to do things...  Hence we restructure our home groups, go to back to back meetings etc. Not because multiple meetings is our ideololgy, but because our value is mission flowing from the overflowing love of the Triune God and this is the best way we can see to go his way. This is true for us as a church, but likewise our marriages practice Christlike headship, in our employment we know we work in the sight of Christ, use of money and possessions we remember his generosity to us etc.  All of our living flowing from our relation to the Triune God. 

All of us obey our gods in life, the ethics of atheism or capitalism or narcissism flow from what is believed about god, reality, morality, humanity etc. The challenge to us is to be consistent, to portray the excellence of a Trinitarian life, and to engage with the alternative approaches that surround us. 

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