By Tim Sullivan


Everyone needs wisdom and knowledge to navigate through life.

Proverbs 8:10-11:
10: Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold.
11: For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.

Spiritual knowledge is the insight of God; it is his light shining down on a subject and making it clear.

2 Corinthians 4:6:
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Spiritual wisdom is the correct application of knowledge.

James 3:13:
Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.

The counsel given to Moses by his father-in-law Jethro demonstrates the value of both the word of knowledge and the word of wisdom in ministry.

After the death of Sarah, “Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah” (Gen. 25:1). They named one of their sons Midian, and he became the father of the Midianites. The land called Midian was located in the Arabian peninsula. Moses went to Midian to escape the wrath of the Pharaoh.

Exodus 2:15:
Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian: and he sat down by a well.

Acts 7:23 says that Moses “was full forty years old” when he came to Midian. Once again he showed his compassion and courage when he defended seven young women who were being harassed at a well. These girls were the daughters of Jethro, the priest of Midian. Moses married one of Jethro’s daughters, and fathered two sons.

Acts 7:30:
And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sina an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush.

Moses left his family in Midian and returned to Egypt to deliver the Israelites from the land of their bondage. But before he left, Moses asked for the blessing and permission of his father-in-law.

Exodus 4:18:
And Moses went and returned to Jethro his father in law, and said unto him, Let me go, I pray thee, and return unto my brethren which are in Egypt, and see whether they be yet alive. And Jethro said to Moses, Go in peace.

Exodus 7:7:
And Moses was fourscore years old, and Aaron fourscore and three years old, when they spake unto Pharaoh.

Moses returned from Egypt to a joyful reunion.

Exodus 18:8-9:
8: And Moses told his father in law all that the LORD had done unto Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel’s sake, and all the travail that had come upon them by the way, and how the LORD delivered them.
9: And Jethro rejoiced for all the goodness which the LORD had done to Israel, whom he had delivered out of the hand of the Egyptians.

Even though he was not of Issac and Jacob, Jethro was honored among the priests of Israel.

Exodus 18:12:
And Jethro, Moses’ father in law, took a burnt offering and sacrifices for God: and Aaron came, and all the elders of Israel, to eat bread with Moses’ father in law before God.

The next day Jethro watched Moses at work to settle the disputes of the Israelites.

Exodus 18:13-16:
13: And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses sat to judge the people: and the people stood by Moses from the morning unto the evening.
14: And when Moses’ father in law saw all that he did to the people, he said, What is this thing that thou doest to the people? why sittest thou thyself alone, and all the people stand by thee from morning unto even?
15: And Moses said unto his father in law, Because the people come unto me to enquire of God:
16: When they have a matter, they come unto me; and I judge between one and another, and I do make them know the statutes of God, and his laws.

Jethro had received a revelation from God – a word of knowledge. If Moses did not change his ways, both he and the people would collapse.

Exodus 18:17-18:
17: And Moses’ father in law said unto him, The thing that thou doest is not good.
18: Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou, and this people that is with thee: for this thing is too heavy for thee; thou art not able to perform it thyself alone.

By itself, this word of knowledge had limited value. It is one thing to identify a problem but quite another to know the solution. Thankfully, Jethro had also received a word of wisdom – a word of guidance for Moses.

Exodus 18:19-22:
19: Hearken now unto my voice, I will give thee counsel, and God shall be with thee: Be thou for the people to God-ward, that thou mayest bring the causes unto God:
20: And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.
21: Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens:
22: And let them judge the people at all seasons: and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge: so shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear the burden with thee.

This word of wisdom showed Moses the burdens he should bear alone and the ones he should share.

Galatians 6:5:
For every man shall bear his own burden.

Galatians 6:2:
Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

Jethro made sure that Moses knew this was more than fatherly advice.

Exodus 18:23-24
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.

Moses, reknown for his meekness, did not forsake this important counsel.

Exodus 18:24-27:
24: So Moses hearkened to the voice of his father in law, and did all that he had said.
25: And Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people, rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.
26: And they judged the people at all seasons: the hard causes they brought unto Moses, but every small matter they judged themselves.
27: And Moses let his father in law depart; and he went his way into his own land.

Jethro did not a meddle in other people's affairs. He came to Moses with a revelation he had received from God. A word of knowledge showed him that Moses was overextending himself and wearing out the people. A word of wisdom showed him the Lord’s solution to the problem.


Presented February 12, 2017