Parsha Thought – Yitro

Jethro and Moses (watercolor circa 1900 by James Tissot)

Our portion this week is the first portion in the book where the people are completely free from the bondage and threat of Pharaoh. It is interesting to see that the first act of Moshe is to give testimony to the goodness of HaShem.

  • Exodus 18:1-23:23
  • Isaiah 6:1-7:6; 9:6-7
  • Matthew 5:8-20

At the beginning of Chapter 18 we see that Yitro (Jethro), is reuniting Moshe with his wife and children, who were presumably sent away for their safety while Moshe confronted Pharaoh. After greeting his Father-in-law, Moshe recounts all the things Elohim had done for the people:

Moshe told his father-in-law all that HaShem had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel’s sake, all the hardship that had befallen them on the journey, and how HaShem had delivered them. Jethro rejoiced over all the goodness which HaShem had done to Israel, in delivering the people from under the hand of the Egyptians.

Exodus 18:8-9 (NASB)

After inquiring after his family, the first thing Moshe shares is what HaShem had done, giving praise and a testimony to the last two years of his life. It wasn’t until almost a year later that Scripture records Moshe telling his father-in-law where they were going (Numbers 10:229-32). In looking ahead to where we are going, it is often easy for us to forget where we’ve been. While we stand on the hope that Elohim will do great things in the future, we shouldn’t forget the things He has already done!

Come, and hear, all you who fear Elohim. I will declare what He has done for my soul.

Psalm 66:16 (WEB)

In taking the time give tell what had happened, Yitro was given the opportunity to recognize Elohim as true and powerful. It is unclear if Yitro was a pagan priest, or a priest of HaShem among the Midianites. But what is clear, is that Yitro, because of the testimony of Moshe, now recognized fully the might of HaShem.

So Yitro said, “Blessed by HaShem who delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the had of Pharaoh, and who delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians. Now I know that HaShem is greater than all the gods; indeed, it was proven when they dealt proudly against the people.

Exodus 18:10-11 (NASB)

May we take the same opportunity to share how Elohim has worked in our lives. In so doing, we may help someone else turn toward the Elohim of Israel.

[Yeshua] didn’t allow him, but said to him, “Go to your house, to your friends, and tell them what great things Adonai has done for you, and how He had mercy on you.”

Mark 5:19 (NASB)
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