Jethro; or, Now I Know

THE 18th chapter of Exodus furnishes us with a remarkable instance of a priest (or prince) of Midian being brought to own Jehovah, the God of Israel, as the true God. We have in this history a beautiful shadowing forth of the millennial kingdom in the future, when the Lord shall be King over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and His Name one (Zech. 14:99And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one. (Zechariah 14:9)); when every foe being overthrown, both Jew and Gentile; yea, every knee shall bow to Him. (Phil. 2:1010That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; (Philippians 2:10)). I now bring it before the reader as illustrating in a forcible manner, many leading truths of the gospel.
Jethro was a man of note in the land of Midian, and had seven daughters. Moses, the servant of God, having fled out of Egypt, found a place of refuge with him, and received his daughter Zipporah in marriage. Doubtless Jethro heard from the lips of Moses concerning the condition of the children of Israel in Egypt under the Pharaohs, and probably learned somewhat of Jehovah, the God of Israel, from the same source. In process of time the angel of the Lord appeared to Moses in a flame of fire at Mount Horeb, and tells him to go back to Egypt, for the Lord was about to deliver His people from the hand of their oppressors (3, 4.). Moses obeys; and after ten fearful plagues had overtaken the Egyptians, of which the last was the slaying of the firstborn of man and beast throughout the land, the children of Israel alone being sheltered by the blood of the paschal lamb (Ex. 12), God, by his hand, delivered. His people in triumph through the Red Sea, and afterward from their enemies, the Amalekites, as they journeyed through the wilderness (Ex. 17).
It is most interesting to see Jethro finding his way to Moses the moment he hears of the great deliverance. He knew of Israel's condition, as bondsmen in Egypt, and the terrible oppression to which they had been subjected; now he hears of all that God had done on their behalf, the judgments that had overtaken their enemies; their redemption both by blood and by power. He is convinced of the power of Jehovah, and comes td Moses, who can tell him all about the wonderful deliverance that had been wrought. And mark, my reader, when he heard, then he came; there was no delay, he came at once.
And what a blessed moment it is too, in the history of a poor sinner, when, as is often the case, he not only discovers the condition of the world, sinful, lost, and led captive and oppressed of the devil (Rom. 3), but hearing of the great salvation that God has wrought on their behalf through the blood shedding, death, and resurrection of His beloved Son, is convinced of the truth of the word. of God, and of His mighty power in emancipating the slaves of the devil, and finds his way to some servant of the Lord, who can tell him all about it, and point him to Jesus and his finished work. How important, too, that he should come at once. But conviction is not sufficient; God wants the sinner to be converted and saved, (1 Tim. 2:44Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:4)).
Jethro is convinced, and comes to Moses, the servant of God, with Zipporah and her sons. Moses gives them a hearty welcome. “He went out to meet his father-in-law, and did obeisance and kissed him, and they asked each other of their welfare (marg. peace), and they came into the tent (ver. 7).”
Moses had many wonderful things to communicate to Jethro. He had fared well indeed at the hand of the Lord. Israel had been in bondage, but God had judged their enemies, and redeemed and saved His people, both by blood and by mighty power (ver. 8). But what did Jethro know about all this? What part had he, a priest of Midian, in this great salvation? He might tell of what he had heard in his own land, his immediate resolve to come and hear more, the incidents of his journey, &c., but he had in no way participated with the people of God in this wonderful display of God's love and power on their behalf.
But now, as he listens to the story of the salvation of God, " Jethro rejoiced for all the goodness which the Lord had clone to Israel, whom He had delivered out of the hand of the Egyptians, and Jethro said, Blessed be the Lord who hath, delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of Pharaoh; who /lath, delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians. Now I know that the Lord is greater than all gods, for in the thing wherein they dealt proudly, He was above them (ver. 9-11).”
Yes, beloved reader, joy filled the heart of Jethro, and 9, burst of praise issued from his lips as he heard tell of the goodness of God. And, "Now I know," continued he,” that the Lord is greater than all gods." Wonderful sentence from the lips of a Midianite. "Now I know." Surely it was the language of faith, a present knowledge. Not, now I think, but, now I know. He was not only convinced of the power of Jehovah; but said he, “Blessed be the Lord, &c," and” now I know that the Lord is greater than all gods; for in the thing wherein they dealt proudly, He was above them." He owned and believed in the one true Jehovah. "The Lord He is God.” He was not only convinced in his mind, but believed in his heart; he knew.
But Jethro came to Moses, and heard the whole story of the goodness of God; believed it, and confessed the Lord. He did not stop at conviction. Report reached him; he came, and that at once, without delay. He heard, he believed, he knew, and he confessed it at once, too, with his lips. Joy filled his heart, and he blessed. Jehovah. The Lord He is God. Will you do the same?
You have heard of the condition of the world groaning under the power of Satan; you believe it is true. You accept what God says in His Word as to this, and you honestly confess, it may be, that facts all around you, and your own state, give you further proof (if it were needed) that it is so. But have you read the Word of God about the Saviour, or have you gone to any servant of God, like Jethro, to hear all about the overthrow of the power of the foe? If not, listen now, to what one who desires your good, has to say to you. I would ask you of your welfare, your peace? Have you fared badly on account of sin, and the power of Satan; do you lack peace? Listen.
God has wrought a great salvation, a salvation worthy of Himself, a salvation by blood and by power. “God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son” (John 3:1616For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)). And who is He? Jesus. He came into this world to save sinners " (1 Tim. 1:1515This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. (1 Timothy 1:15)), suffered, bled and died upon the Cross. God raised Him to His own right hand in glory. The claims of God are met, the justice of God maintained, for the judgment of sin was borne by His own spotless Son, and. the power of Satan annulled for all, who believe. Christ on high is God's testimony to the whole universe that the atoning work is done. The Christian can say of Him, “Who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification. Therefore, being justified by faith we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. 4:25; 5:125Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. (Romans 4:25)
1Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: (Romans 5:1)
).
You hear, but do you believe? Can you say from your heart to-day, this hour, yea, now?
“I will believe, I do believe, that Jesus died for me." Do you hesitate? Is it your sins standing in dread array against you, that makes you shrink from the confession of Christ? Oh, think a moment, dear soul, it is only Christ can put them away. If you tarry till you ale better, you will never come at all. Now is the time to decide: it is God's time, and therefore should be yours, too (2 Cor. 6:22(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succored thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) (2 Corinthians 6:2)). The blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanseth us from all sin" (1 John 1:77But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)). Will you decide, then, now?
How do you reply? Do you say? "Yes.” Praise the Lord. Go on your way rejoicing. Jethro heard, rejoiced, believed, and knew that Jehovah was the true God. You have heard, you rejoice, you believe, then you, too, may know Him that is true. And, " These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God, that ye may know that ye have eternal life" (1 John 5:1313These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. (1 John 5:13)). Jethro exclaimed, “Blessed be the Lord who hath delivered you... now I know," &c. And why not you?
Paul writes to the Colossian saints, and says, “Giving thanks unto the father, who hath delivered (not will deliver) us from the power of darkness, and hath translated (not will translate) us into the kingdom of His dear Son (or the Son of His love); in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins" (Col. 1:12, 1312Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: (Colossians 1:12‑13)). Take your place with them by faith, and all this is now hue of you.
“And Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, took a burnt offering and sacrifices for God, and Aaron came, and all the elders of Israel, to eat bread with Moses' father-in-law before God” (v. 12).
Here we have something more. Jethro becomes a worshipper. The Midianite priest openly confessed and worshipped Jehovah, the only true and living God. He took a burnt offering and sacrifices for God. Aaron, too, and all the elders of Israel, eat bread with him; and note how, it was before God.
Now this is the desire of the heart of God for every true believer. The Saviour seeketh sinners, and the Father seeketh worshippers. (John 4:2323But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. (John 4:23)). "The hour cometh," said the Lord,” and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth for the Father seeketh, such to worship Him. God is a Spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23-2423But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:23‑24)). We need not to bring sacrifices like Jethro, but as those who are brought to God on the ground of the one perfect offering of the Lamb of God (Heb. 10:1414For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. (Hebrews 10:14).), " by Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His Name." (Heb. 10:1515Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, (Hebrews 10:15)). It is our blessed privilege too, as found now ranked among the children of God, to have sweet fellowship with them by the way, but it must be in the light. "If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another " (1 John, 1:7).
And now one more point, and that a very striking one, amongst many that might be dwelt upon in the history of Jethro. In the remainder of the chapter we find him giving counsel to Moses. As to whether the counsel was altogether right, or Moses right in receiving it, I do not go into here, but one thing at least is remarkable, and blessed to notice. Jethro not only knows that the Lord is God, but he knows what is suited to Him in the ways of His people. He said to Moses..... “Thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt chew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do, etc., etc.
(v. 20)." He acknowledges these things are necessary for the people of God to please Him. Firstly, they needed teaching in the ordinances and laws of God; secondly, there was a right way in which they must walk before Him; and thirdly a work that they must do for Him.
And how wonderfully this is exemplified in the children of God now. A true Christian will at once acknowledge his need of the first, and the importance of the second and third. He is a questionable one who does not. A Christian in a right state of soul feels his need of teaching, that he may grow up into Christ, knows that there is a way in which he must walk, and that the path of Christ, and a work that he must do as enlisted in the service of his Lord.
What a striking unfolding of God's way we have thus given to us in the case of Jethro The report of the overthrow of Pharaoh and his host, the deliverance of Israel, etc., reached him in Midian. Already convinced, he starts at once to find the Lord's servant; he hears the tale of God's goodness; confesses the Lord as God, believes, blesses, knows; knows new, worships, and has fellowship with His people, acknowledging the ways that are suited to Him. The close of the chapter informs us that, “Moses let his father-in-law depart, and he went his way into his own land." It is to be hoped he returned to lead others to the true God. How far Jethro himself continued in the Lord's ways we are not told, but we find his descendants honorably associated with Israel even to Jeremiah's day, (Judg. 1:16; 116And the children of the Kenite, Moses' father in law, went up out of the city of palm trees with the children of Judah into the wilderness of Judah, which lieth in the south of Arad; and they went and dwelt among the people. (Judges 1:16) Chron. 2:65; Jer. 35.)
And now, deaf: reader, let me once more appeal to your heart and conscience is this also true of you? You have heard of the sinner's state, and God's great salvation; but have you confessed Jesus as your Lord, and believed with the heart that God hath raised Him from the dead? If so, thou shalt be saved.
(Rom. 10:99That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (Romans 10:9).) "Now I know" is the proper language of faith. The worship of God, and thanksgiving, communion with Himself and His people, must be the desire of the believing soul. And as you learn Christ and are taught the truth of God, so in proportion will your walk and work savor of Him.
Can you say, like Jethro?" Now I know”
E. H. C.