Wednesday, April 02, 2014

An Ideal Father- and Son-in-law Relationship -- Exodus 18:7-9



Then Moses went out to meet his father-in-law, and he bowed down and kissed him; and they asked each other of their welfare, and went into the tent.  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 befallen them on the journey, and how the Lord had delivered them.  And Jethro rejoiced over all the goodness which the Lord had done to Israel, in delivering them from the hand of the Egyptians.
 
Once he received the notice that his father-in-law Jethro, his wife Zipporah, and his two boys, Gershom and Eliezer, were on their way, Moses went out to meet them.  As far as Scripture records, the focus was on Jethro. “Moses went out to meet his father in law” our text reads.  That does not mean he did not greet his wife and sons – only that the author of Exodus (Moses himself much later) wanted the readers of his account to stick with the main thrust of this section, namely the advice that Jethro was about to share.
Moses bows down and kisses Jethro. Now I realize this is more due to the customs and traditons of the day, although the practice remains alive in a number of European and Middle Eastern countries today.  In our modern Western culture, a firm handshake and/or embrace with a big and sincere smile would be the equivalent.  Anything more than that would be a bonus.  And then they engaged in finding out how each other was doing – a two-way interest.  It was not all about Moses, and it certainly was not all about Jethro.
The text says that they “went into the tent”.  Even though it was a temporary setup, it was ‘home’ to Moses and he welcomed his father-in-law in it.  I am thankful my wife and I are welcomed in the homes of all our children and sons- and daughter-in-law.  How sad it must be for those parents who are not.  If you are a child or a child-in-law today that has for one reason or another been the cause of not having your parents or in-laws welcomed in your home, I ask you to reconsider what you can do to change that, and take appropriate action.  If you are a parent or an in-law whose pride or attitude keeps you from visiting your child’s home, I ask you to reconsider your stance and do whatever it takes to change that.  Life is too short to live it out the way you currently are.  This is not the way God meant us to live our lives.
I know there are some situations I just do not understand.  Fair enough; but God does.  All I ask is that you do your part again and again to bring about the God-honoring change.
Once in Moses’ home, Jethro is brought up to date on what God, not Moses, had done to Pharaoh and the Egyptians for the sake of Israel.  He shared what hardships the Israelites met on the journey and how the Lord delivered them.  What do you and I talk about when we meet our children or sons- and daughters-in-law?  In fact, what do we talk about when we meet with our friends for dinner?  I am amazed and greatly disappointed even in my own weakness in this regard.  Why is it so uncomfortable for us to talk about what God has been, and is, doing in our lives?  Why is that not a priority?  I would challenge us all to make a more concerted effort to talk about the One who really is what “it’s all about” in our lives when we meet with others.  And who better to start with than our own family members?
What was Jethro’s response?  The text says, he “rejoiced”.  But note what he rejoiced about – “over all the goodness that the Lord had done to Israel in delivering them from the Egyptians”.  If there is anything I want to rejoice about, it is the knowledge of knowing that God is active in the lives of my children through some very difficult trials and tribulations and that they are still in tune with Him enough to defeat the Enemy and be delivered from his evil.  To my children and to all the ‘children’ of the world let me say that you need to understand that is your Christian parent’s greatest desire.  You need to know that.  I pray that you will do your part in honoring it.

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