Jethro was a Kenite and a priest of Midian. He was probably a descendent of Abraham through Keturah. He had seven daughters and had an extensive flock. He is mentioned in Exodus 2:18-21 and is referred to as ‘Reuel’.
And when they came to Reuel their father, he said, How is it that ye are come so soon to day? And they said, An Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds, and also drew water enough for us, and watered the flock. And he said unto his daughters, And where is he? why is it that ye have left the man? call him, that he may eat bread. And Moses was content to dwell with the man: and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter.
Jethro reappeared later (recorded in chapter 18) when he visited Moses during the exodus and was excited about how God was helping the Israelites. He rejoiced in the God of Moses.
At that time Moses was burning the candle at both ends trying to take care of all those people. They had struggles and problems and there were a lot of them! Some people might ask the question: ‘If God was delivering His people, why all the hassle?” Go back and read Genesis 3 again. In verse 19 God told Adam (among other things):
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread,
In other words, He told Adam that because he has listened to the ‘sneaky snake’ there would be stress. Stress in our lives should come as no surprise. It is everywhere in this world. In the original paradise, in the garden of Eden, work existed but there was no stress because the tree of knowledge of good and evil had not been bought into. Fear of the loss of good and the presence of evil, changed idyllic life for Adam and Eve. Stress resulted and stuck around and was passed on. We have to deal with it.
Moses had a lot of stress. When Jethro observed his daily schedule of constant counseling all day, he offered some advice so he would not burn out turning well-doing into over-doing. I have thought a great deal about this section, wondering why after all the great communication between God and Moses, a priest of Midian dropped by for a visit and Moses took his advice. Jethro, to his credit, told Moses to run his advice through God:
Exodus 18:23 If thou shalt do this thing, and God command thee so, then thou shalt be able to endure, and all this people shall also go to their place in peace.
Jethro’s advice was a beautiful description for us (2 Timothy 2:2) of the type of people that provide examples worthy of seeking advice from:
21 Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear (respect,honour, revere) God, men of truth, hating covetousness (covetousness = susceptible to bribes) ……
Our reaction today to stress is to take it to God first because we have direct access. Just this morning I woke up thinking I had missed a small but significant detail in something I had done and I started to worry about how to find out if I did or not. In trying to figure it out, I could cause a big stir, so I shut off the ‘worry voice’ in my head and replaced it with thoughts of how willing God is to help and within seconds literally, God provided a very simple answer to check it out. There was no problem and I was given direct real tangible proof. Now all I can think about is how great God is!