Listening To The Voice Of Excellence
There is a great story in the Bible that illustrates for us the importance of listening to the voice of God for our life and ministry. It is found in Exodus 18:1-12. In this story Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, came to Moses while he was camped at the foot of Mt. Sinai.
The Scriptures say that Jethro brought to Moses his wife and his two sons. What?
- Why weren’t his wife and two sons with him?
- Why did Jethro have to bring Moses’ family to him?
- Let’s find out.
I think the answer can be found in Exodus 4:24-26; “And it came to pass on the way, at the encampment, that the Lord met him and sought to kill him. 25 Then Zipporah took a sharp stone and cut off the foreskin of her son and cast it at Moses’ feet, and said, “Surely you are a husband of blood to me!” 26 So He let him go. Then she said, “You are a husband of blood!”—because of the circumcision.”
What a strange story! God shows up to Moses as he is journeying to Egypt to deliver Israel and says, “I’m going to kill you Moses.” What? Why?
- God gave Moses a ministry. It was to lead the children of Israel.
- God gave Moses a mission. It was to deliver Israel from Egypt.
- God gave Moses a message. It was “Let my people go.”
- God also gave Moses a marriage.
It was Moses’ marriage and family that wasn’t right. Moses had not circumcised his two sons. God was angry with Moses. Moses couldn’t fulfill his ministry or mission if his family wasn’t right before God. I believe Moses sent his wife (Zipporah) and his two sons (Gershom and Eliezer) back to Midian after this incident.
Let’s think about this for a moment. Zipporah, Gershom, and Eliezer missed the mighty miracles in Egypt, the miraculous Red Sea crossing, the bitter waters made sweet, the supernatural provision of manna and water, and the amazing defeat of the Amalekites.
- They missed the visitation of God.
- Moses, in trying to protect them from the dangers of Egypt, ended up shielding them from the amazing work of God.
I remember reading a book called “Halftime.” The author of the book talked about reassessing your ministry at the halfway point of your life. I was 45 years old when I read the book. I felt God was speaking to me to add short term mission trips to my ministry. I still remember the conversation I had with my wife. I asked her, “Would you come with me?” Her response was resolute. She said, “I don’t want to miss out on anything. I want to serve the Lord with you. I don’t want to hear about your trip. I want to experience God with you.” My wife was the opposite of Zipporah. My wife is my spouse, my friend, and my accountability partner. We do life and ministry together.
Let’s jump ahead approximately three months in our story. Here comes Jethro, bringing Moses’ family to him as they camped at Mt. Sinai.
- Jethro means excellence in Hebrew.
- Jethro was the voice of excellence to Moses.
- Jethro represents the voice of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
- Jethro wanted to reconnect Moses with his family.
- Jethro knew that for Moses to be successful in his ministry and mission he had to journey with his family.
We need to learn this truth.
- No amount of success in the ministry can compensate for failure at home.
- All ministry begins in the home.
How’s your marriage? How are your children? Are you leading them well? Let’s reconnect with our family. Let’s make sure they are loved and valued.
Senior Pastor, Cornerstone Church, Highland Michigan