The Wisdom of Jethro, Moses’ Father-in-Law, Establishes a True Justice System

When we look at history we see where our present-day life originated. We can see how we’ve improved some systems like plumbing. There are others we’ve abolished like human ritual sacrifices. 

One system that is the backbone to any country is their justice system. How well do they provide justice for their citizens? Are they honest in their dealings or are they corrupt? 

Yitro – Jethro – The Wisdom of Jethro, Moses’ Father-in-Law

Israel’s first justice system started with Moses in the wilderness at the suggestion of Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law. Every day Moses sat to judge the people’s issue from morning till evening. When Jethro saw this he asked Moses what he was doing. Moses told him the people came to ask God for a decision to their disputes. And since they were there, he also taught them the statues of God and His laws to prevent further disputes. 

Jethro told him this wasn’t good because he was going to run himself into the ground as well as the people. Then what good would he be to the people or to God. He had to do things in a better way and Jethro had a plan for that. 

Responsibility Shift

The first part of the plan included changing Moses’ responsibilities. His first priority was to represent the people before God and bring their cases to Him. This consisted of the people as a whole. 

Next, he had to teach them God’s statues and instructions. He needed to help them understand the way they should walk and what they should do as God’s chosen people. 

Finally, he had to find men with certain characteristics to help him oversee the people’s disputes. These men would be in charge of a group of people consisting of 50 to thousands of people. In order to do that they had to meet three criteria. 

3 Criteria of Good Justice Leaders

First, these men had to fear God. If they didn’t feel like they needed to answer to God for their decisions, nothing else mattered. 

Next, they had to be trustworthy. The people who came to them for advice had to know the men wouldn’t side with someone just because they knew them. They had to believe the man would rely on God to tell them the truth. They had to trust the man wouldn’t spread their business or lord their authority over them. 

Finally, they had to hate a bribe. Bribes cause all kind of injustice to happen. Murderers go free. Innocent people go to jail. Taking a bribe turns evil into good and good into evil. These men had to hate the very thought of a bribe. They had to see it as an attack on their character. Only then could true justice prevail. 

These were three simple requests from Jethro. Yet, they were powerful. Imagine if people in authority all followed these rules. Imagine how much better the world would be. Can you see it? I know I can.

Results of Shifting Responsibilities

Once these men were chosen, they judged everyday issues. All major issues were brought to Moses. Jewish history says this was the beginning of the Sanhedrin, the ruling body of judges appointed to uphold God’s laws. 

By distributing the ability to judge the people, Moses was able to lift a heavy burden off of him. This allowed him to focus more on God and what He wanted him to do. This made going forward possible. 

Distributing authority and responsibilities don’t lesson your authority. It helps free you to do more and better things. It helps you to grow closer to your ultimate authority – God.

What is a heavy burden on you that could be eased if you allow others to help you? If you have help, would it enable you to grow closer to God and/or do a better job of what He wants you to do?

Love Dawn

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