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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Greenberg

A Family and then a Nation

One of the most powerful events in the entire Bible is the Exodus of the Children of Israel from Egypt. It includes many spectacular events, the Ten Plagues, the Destruction of the Egyptian Army, and the Parting of the Sea. Yet right in the middle of the narrative, we find one of the most important events in history. Yet, it seems to be overlooked or at best given a minor mention as a side note.

This event is vital to G-D’s plan for Israel and a key moment to understanding the G-D’s broader plan for mankind. The event spoken of is found in Exodus Chapter 18 when Yitro (Jethro) Moses’ father in Law meets Moses after they have left Egypt.

Most people read this chapter and focus completely on the section where Yitro watches Moses at work as Moses is counseling the people from morning to evening and then advises Moses to appoint men to assist in the counseling/judging process because it was a disservice to the people to have to wait all that time. Yitro tells Moses to only handling the major problems and let those appointed handle the less severe.

While this establishment of leadership progress is very important just before we read about Yitro’s advise we read the following verse, Exodus 18:6

6He had told Moses, “I, Jethro your father-in-law, am coming to you, along with your wife and her two sons.” Exodus 18:6 TLV

This one line of text is a spiritual reset that is the precursor to everything that follows.

Why? Because the last time we read about Moses and his wife they have a big argument. Then Moses’ wife stays with her father, while Moses goes to Egypt to rescue Israel from bondage.

Moses has now led the Children of Israel out of slavery and they are about to gather at Mount Sinai where, with the giving and accepting of the Torah they will become a nation. However, before Moses could lead the people to the mountain so they could become a nation, first G-D had to restore Moses as a husband and father. You see G-D’s plan has always been and always will be family first. This one sentence so often overlooked because it is located in between so many things we find more interesting or exciting, is key to Israel becoming what they are to become.

Just think about it! G-D restored Moses’ bride to Moses just before G-D takes Israel to be His bride. As Moses strove to lead the Children of Israel, he had to live out the relationship so that he could understand what G-D was asking of His people. In order to help Israel understand G-D as their father, Moses had to become a father. In order to help Israel understand G-D as their husband and provider, Moses had to become a husband and provider. In order to help Israel understand G-D’s forgiveness for their sins, Moses had to be forgiven and refreshed from his identity as a murderer. So, while this small verse may seem insignificant in the middle of the Exodus story, it’s actually incredibly important because it reminds us that we have to persevere through trials in order to help someone else see what G-D is doing.

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