“Out of Egypt”: Jethro Helped Moses
I don’t know about where you live, but the housing market here in middle Tennessee is still pretty strong. It has slowed some recently with interest rates going up, but it is still a strong market, which means many people are taking the opportunity to sell their homes and move into a new one. I have helped two families in our church move recently, and with my family considering downsizing some if we can find a home in the neighborhood we like, we may be in need of some of that same kind of help. If you have ever moved, you know it is not a one-person job. You need a couple of friends and a few pizzas.
We Need Help
Moving is good for me. I can struggle with independence and pride. It is hard for me to ask for help. But when it comes to moving, I know I need help. I know it is impossible for me to do it myself. And so I am forced to ask others for help. I am forced to recognize my neediness and my weakness. I am forced to recognize I am not an island. And that is a good thing.
God created us to need help (it is part of the created order—see Genesis 2:18) because through this need we are forced to acknowledge that we are not sovereign. We are not omnipotent. We are not God. Our limitations point us to the limitless God who created us. Needing help to load some furniture reminds me that I am a fallen, finite creature. Perhaps that is what Jethro helped Moses remember in Exodus as well.
We Need One Another
But there is another aspect of being in need that we cannot miss. While the main lesson is that we are in need of God, that is not the only lesson. As we see in Genesis 2:18, God created us to also need one another. We need to be in community. God could have designed it so that He supplies all our needs—and ultimately, He surely does. But instead He designed it so that He often fulfills our needs through other people. Yet, that does not detract from Him and His glory—it adds to it. If and when we remember that others are a gift and blessing from Him.
But if we want to see the greatest depth and beauty of this truth, we have to turn a page or two in our Bibles back to Genesis 1.
26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, the whole earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.”
27 So God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God; he created them male and female. (Genesis 1:26-27 CSB)
In these verses we discover the core reason why God created us for community—it is not simply because we need help, although that is important. It is because in community we express the fulness of being made in God’s image, the One who is in community in His very nature.
God has eternally existed as one God in three Persons—Father, Son, and Spirit. While His triune nature is quite baffling, we need to understand it at least on some level to appreciate it. God has always enjoyed relationship—perfect relationship—and that is why He created us for relationship too. This is why we are not to go it alone—because our Creator does not and it is His image we bear. Our need for one another rightly expresses our role as image bearers. That is why it matters so much.
God spoke to Moses, did he not? Yet Moses very prudently and humbly yielded to the advice of his father-in-law, foreigner though he was, with regard to governing and directing such a mighty nation. For he realized that from whatever intellect right counsel proceeded, it should be attributed not to him who conceived it but to the One who is the Truth, the immutable God.”—Augustine (354-430) 
Preschool Tip: Preschoolers are quite familiar with the idea of helpers, and in this session you have the opportunity to connect them to God. Helpers are a gift from God. But it doesn’t stop there—we can also encourage our preschoolers to be helpers too, so that they might live out God’s plan for them.
Kids Tip: As kids get older, especially as they enter their preteen years, many begin to wrestle with their identity and wonder where they fit in with others. Socially, this can be a challenging time. This week you have the opportunity to life up the beauty of gospel community—how God designed it for all of us, that we are all welcome and are part because we share the same thing in common: Jesus. Celebrate the gift of community and encourage your kids to take full advantage of it.
 Augustine, On Christian Teaching, Prologue 7, quoted in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, ed. Joseph T. Lienhard, with Ronnie J. Rombs, vol. III in Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: Old Testament (Downers Grove: IVP, 2001) [WORDsearch].