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January 21, 2024 - Exodus 17-18

The journey from Egypt has begun:  “All the congregation of the people of Israel moved on from the wilderness of Sin by stages, according to the commandment of the Lord, and camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink” (17:1).  The people became so fearful that they almost stoned Moses for leading them out into the wilderness (17:4).  The situation, however, presented no problem for God as he instructed Moses, “You shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink” (17:6).  Their troubles were only beginning, though.  Soon, they were attacked by Amalek but the Lord came to their rescue once again.  LESSON:  With Paul we can say, “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).


A wonderful report is given here concerning Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, who said, “Blessed be the Lord, who has delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians. . . Now I know that the Lord is greater than all gods, because in this affair they dealt arrogantly with the people”  (18:10-11).  This is reminiscent of Jesus’ words to the unbelieving Jews:  “If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me;  but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father” (John 10:37-38).  LESSON:  The works of God tell us much about him.  Fearful?  Look to the One who calmed the storm.  Lacking?  Look to the One who provides for the birds of the air.  Anxious?  Look to the One who says, “Do not be anxious about tomorrow.”  Lacking?  Look to the One who owns the cattle on a thousand hills.


And, then, there is the story of Jethro’s counsel to Moses that he appoint elders to help him with the heavy administrative load that fell on him as Israel’s leader.  Jethro to Moses:  “What you are doing is not good.  You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone” (18:17-18).  A LESSON WITH A PERSONAL WORD:  We are not in the battle alone; we can lean on those brothers and sisters whom God has given us.  I am greatly thankful for the co-laborers in the gospel God has given me.


Guide me, O my great Redeemer,

pilgrim through this barren land;

I am weak, but you are mighty;

hold me with your powerful hand.

Bread of heaven, bread of heaven,

feed me now and evermore,

feed me now and evermore.   --William Williams (1745)

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