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Exodus 18:23
23 If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.”

wagontrainBackground

The Book of Exodus or, simply, Exodus (from Greek exodos, meaning “going out”), is the second book of the Torah and the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament).

The book tells how the Israelites leave slavery in Egypt through the strength of God who has chosen Israel as His people. Led by their prophet Moses they journey through the wilderness to Mount Sinai, where God promises them the land of Canaan (the “Promised Land”) in return for their faithfulness. Israel enters into a covenant with God who gives them their laws and instructions for the Tabernacle, the means by which He will dwell with them and lead them to the land, and give them peace.

Biblical Truth

Chapter 18 is ending the documentation of Moses and his trip up to the Promised Land. In the next chapter 19, Moses would begin to lay out the laws for the people of Israel to follow when they actually crossed into the Promised Land.

Here Moses meets Jethro, his father-in-law. Moses tells Jethro about everything that had happened. Moses tells how God had rescued the Israelites from Egypt. Also Moses tells Jethro about the difficulties that they had experienced since leaving Egypt. Jethro is happy to hear about the LORD’s great power. He hears how God had saved the Israelites from the Egyptians and Jethro praises the LORD. Jethro declared that all other gods are worth nothing, concluding that those other gods are false gods.

Jethro lays out advice Moses, to delegate authority through a structure of judges. So what we see here is that the concept of delegation was obviously of the utmost importance, and was to be done with expediency and necessity, Jethro very modestly leaves it to the wisdom of Moses to choose or reject his advice. Moses, knowing that in all things his relative was now acting under the immediate direction of God and intimates that no measure can be safely adopted without a positive intersession from God himself. Moses concludes that Jethro’s counsel was inspired by the Divine Spirit and was sanctioned by the same. Therefore, Moses acts in every respect according to the advice he received from Jethro.

Items for Discussion

  • When you are given advice, how might you determine if it is part of Godly wisdom?
  • Where and from whom do we learn Godly wisdom?
  • Moses sees the Holy Spirit (God’s intervention) in the advice from his father-in-law so how do Christians today tell good advice from bad advice?

 

Romans 2:6-10
6 God “will repay each person according to what they have done.” 7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9 There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10 but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.

Background

Paul had not visited Rome at the time when he wrote this letter. Paul wrote most of his letters to churches that he himself had established. But the church at Rome was different. There were already many Christians in Rome long before Paul arrived there.

Paul dictated his letter to Tertius (Romans 16:22). Paul wrote it during his stay in Corinth, probably about 57 A.D. While Paul established churches in many cities, he was careful not to upset anyone else’s work (Romans 15:20). However, the church in Rome was not the result of the work of any one particular person. So Paul was not concerned with upsetting anyone’s work if he visited there. And for many years, Paul had wanted to visit the Christians in Rome. He had completed his work in the east. There were elders (leaders in the church) to take care of the new churches. Paul wanted to visit Rome on his way to Spain (Romans 15:23-24).

  • There were several reasons for the letter:
  • to prepare the church in Rome for his visit.
  • to give a clear explanation of the Gospel.
  • to give the truth about the Christian faith to any Christians in Rome who had false ideas about it.
  • to give practical advice about how Christians should behave towards each other (chapters 14-15).
  • to give practical advice about how Christians should behave towards their rulers (Romans 13:1-7).
  • to unite Jewish and Gentile Christians. In many churches, there had been serious arguments between Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians. The Jewish Christians said that God had given his law in the Bible. So they told the Gentile Christians to obey it. But the Gentile Christians said that God had given them freedom. So, they did not want to obey any Jewish rules or traditions.
  • to urge the Christians in Rome to help Paul in his work. He might need their help in order to continue his journey to Spain (Romans 15:24). And he needed the Christians in Rome to support and to encourage him by their prayers (Romans 15:30-32).

Biblical Truth

Both the Old Testament and New Testament record the fact that God judges human actions. For example, in the Old Testament, see Psalm 62:12 and Jeremiah 17:10. In the New Testament there are examples in Matthew 16:27 and Revelation 20:12. Paul is not saying that a person can earn eternal life by his good deeds. Only faith in Jesus will save that person. But after a person has trusted Jesus, that person will want to please him. So that person will do the right things, because of the faith that God has given to him. See James 2:17.

Paul speaks about people who continue to practice their faith. He contrasts them with selfish people. The good people will enjoy eternal life. They will have close relations with Jesus and the Father (John 17:3). People who continue to do wicked things will suffer God’s judgement.

Items for Discussion

  • Why do you think that we as both Christians and humans are always so consumed with what our reward will be?
  • Aside from the concept of doing good and not doing evil, what is Paul stressing that the church in Rome concentrate on?
  • While we are saved by faith, how do you interpret verse 6, where we will be paid for what we have done?
  • Not all rewards are eternal – What is Paul telling us to expect in our daily lives?

Discussion Challenge

  • How can the modern day Christian Church assure that it is upholding the correct balance of faith building exercises and opportunities to seek “Doing Good?”
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