Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Taking on Too Much

O.T. #185  "Taking on Too Much"
Dec. 10, 2013
Exodus 18-Part 2
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.  Exodus 18:13


Do you get weary? Are you meeting yourself coming and going? Have you ever taken on too much responsibility so you don't enjoy serving? Maybe it has become a chore instead of a joy? I think Moses had reached that point. Let's look closer.

I guess there is a controversy about Jethro's advice to Moses, his son in law as to whether it was of the Lord or of the flesh. Moses had an overload concerning his spiritual responsibilities. What was going on?

In the NIV, verse 13 says, The next day Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the people, and they stood around him from morning till evening.

In their devotional book, Experiencing God Day-By-Day, Henry and Richard Blackaby share this:
Moses was aware of the need for someone to settle disputes among the Israelites. Someone had to help those former slaves learn how to live together as the people of God, so Moses took it upon himself to meet this need.  Long lines of unhappy people, hooping to have their cases heard, stood before Moses each day. Moses spent day after day carrying the weight of his nation's problems on his shoulders. Moses was taking on more than he could handle. He was wearing himself out trying to do what was impossible for one person.
Do we sometimes take on more than we can handle in the long run? Is it hard to say no?


Judge means  execute judgment, defend, condemn, contend, plead, reason, rule. (Strong's Concordance)

Moses' father in law, Jethro, an outsider, observed what Moses was doing and challenged the wisdom of his actions. Jethro saw the time and work that Moses was putting in morning to evening.

Jethro asked Moses two questions:
  1. What is this thing you are doing for the people? It concerned his priorities. He didn't understand why Moses' judging activity had been allowed to supplant his central task of leading God's people.
  2. Why do you alone sit as judge and all the people stand about you from morning until evening?It was a personnel question. He failed to see why Moses alone was judging the people.
How did Moses answer Jethro?
  • The people come to me to seek God's will.
  • Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God's decrees and laws. (Verse 14 NIV)
Charles Swindoll give us Jethro's solution:
You will surely wear out, both yourself and these people who are with you, for the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone. (Verse 18) Moses knew his judging task was exhausting.
  1. You represent the people and teach them. (Verses 19-20) Moses represented the people before God and should instruct them in God's Word and way. He could provide leadership for the whole group instead of individually.
  2. You choose some qualified men to help you lead the people. (Verses 21-23)
Are we praying for people? Are we instructing them what God's Word says about their situation? Are we leading them in the right way? Do I listen when others instruct me?
We will discuss these qualifications in the next post.

The reason to perform ministry is that God clearly tells you it is His will. If you are feeling overwhelmed by all that you are doing, ;you are probably doing more than God has asked. (Blackaby)


Delegate activities and responsibilities to others when it is feasible.

Listen when others give me instructions.

Hear what God is saying through His Word.

Lighten the load when possible.


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