17 So Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “The thing that you do is not good. 18 Both you and these people who are with you will surely wear yourselves out. For this thing is too much for you; you are not able to perform it by yourself. 19 Listen now to my voice; I will give you counsel, and God will be with you: Stand before God for the people, so that you may bring the difficulties to God. 20 And you shall teach them the statutes and the laws, and show them the way in which they must walk and the work they must do.
21 Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. 22 And let them judge the people at all times. Then it will be that every great matter they shall bring to you, but every small matter they themselves shall judge. So it will be easier for you, for they will bear the burden with you. 23 If you do this thing, and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all this people will also go to their place in peace.”
24 So Moses heeded 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 So they judged the people at all times; the hard cases they brought to Moses, but they judged every small case themselves. Exodus 18:13-26 (NKJV)
Characteristics of the Men Jethro Describe as Helpers for Moses
- Able Men:
The word Able is the word “Hayil”, it means basically strength and influence.
- Men that Fear God:
These are men who fear the Lord; who reverend God.
- Men of Truth:
The word Truth is the word, Met, meaning, faithfulness. These are essentially faithful men.
- Men that Hate Covetousness:
These are men who hate dishonest gain.
This list seems to be a good one. Who in their right mind would reject being surrounded with men with these qualities? It was not a surprise that Moses listened to the advice and put it to practice. My question is this, if Moses had such great help, why in Numbers 11:10-15 he said the following?
10 Then Moses heard the people weeping throughout their families, everyone at the door of his tent; and the anger of the Lord was greatly aroused; Moses also was displeased. 11 So Moses said to the Lord, “Why have You afflicted Your servant? And why have I not found favor in Your sight, that You have laid the burden of all these people on me? 12 Did I conceive all these people? Did I beget them, that You should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom, as a guardian carries a nursing child,’ to the land which You swore to their fathers? 13 Where am I to get meat to give to all these people? For they weep all over me, saying, ‘Give us meat, that we may eat.’ 14 I am not able to bear all these people alone, because the burden is too heavy for me. 15 If You treat me like this, please kill me here and now—if I have found favor in Your sight—and do not let me see my wretchedness!” (NKJV)
On these verses we see a Moses that is tired, burned out, feeling alone and even suicidal. In verse 14 he stated, “I am not able to bear all these people alone…” In verse 15 Moses stated, “If You treat me like this, please kill me here and now…” What happened with the able men, the men who feared the Lord, men of truth and the men who hated dishonest gain?
Beloved, I am here to tell you that talent is not enough. There are many talented people in the Body of Christ, but they are unable to do much because they lack character and they lack a spirit of unity. Lets take a look at God’s answer.
16 So the Lord said to Moses: “Gather to Me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them; bring them to the tabernacle of meeting, that they may stand there with you. 17 Then I will come down and talk with you there. I will take of the Spirit that is upon you and will put the same upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, that you may not bear it yourself alone. Number 11:16-17 (NKJV)
The first qualification God gave these new leaders is that they needed to be Elders. The word Elder is the word, Zaqen, meaning old. These were experienced men. The second qualification is God taking of the Spirit in Moses and put that same Spirit in these men. This is significant; in order for corporate leadership to be effective they must have unity of Spirit.
God could have pour out His Spirit on these men without Moses, but it was important for these men to also walk in the spirit of Moses, to carry his burden. Remember, that God is answering Moses’ prayer and in the center of Moses’ prayer is his complain that the burden was too much for him. The word burden is the Hebrew word Massa, meaning a load. The story continues,
24 So Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord, and he gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people and placed them around the tabernacle. 25 Then the Lord came down in the cloud, and spoke to him, and took of the Spirit that was upon him, and placed the same upon the seventy elders; and it happened, when the Spirit rested upon them, that they prophesied, although they never did so again. 26 But two men had remained in the camp: the name of one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad. And the Spirit rested upon them. Now they were among those listed, but who had not gone out to the tabernacle; yet they prophesied in the camp. 27 And a young man ran and told Moses, and said, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.”28 So Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, one of his choice men, answered and said, “Moses my lord, forbid them!” 29 Then Moses said to him, “Are you zealous for my sake? Oh, that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them!” 30 And Moses returned to the camp, he and the elders of Israel. Number 11:24-30 (NKJV)
This is the kind of leadership God is raising at this hour. People who are united by the Spirit of God and, people who are willing to carry the burden of their earthly leaders. Again, I must emphasis that this was not a man’s recommendation, but a God recommendation. This is the kind of leadership God is raising in our local churches all over this nation. The end of the Rambo Christians is near; we are a part of a team; we are a part of a family. I am not talking about worshipping leaders. These are not leaders that lord over God’s people; these are leaders who have a relationship with God and a relationship with each other.