Friday, August 28, 2015

Social Architecture (5) Prophetic Jethro

Jethro’s suggestion turned society upside down. Authority was broken up and pushed down to families at the lowest level of society. Families could delegate authority up to Tens and Thousands, but they controlled the shape of the authority delegated. The leaders of Fifties, Hundreds and Thousands were servants of those who gave them authority. They could not make a family do things that they did not want to do (Exodus 18:23).

The timing of Jethro’s challenge to Moses was critical, because it came just before the Children of Israel arrived at Mount Sinai to receive the law (Ex 19). While they were escaping Egypt and crossing the Red Sea, Moses was a military leader directing and controlling the people for their safety. That was necessary while they were under threat, but God did not want this structure to continue into the Promised Land.

The law that God was going to give to the people cannot work in a top-down society. His law cannot be established by Imposed Authority, so God had to take authority away from Moses and give it back to his people before they would be any value to them. This was Jethro’s role. His challenge to Moses caused Moses to stand aside and hand authority back to family households, who could freely submit to leaders of Tens, Fifties, Hundreds and Thousands, but only when there was a need.

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