Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part II: God's Sustainment Of Israel In The Wilderness Amid Humanly Helpless Trials
G. Discerning "Safe" From "Abusive" People Regarding Our Fellowship
(Exodus 17:8-18:27)
  1. Introduction
    1. We mortals are vulnerable to being either nurtured or damaged in heart by the kinds of relationships we have with others. This is why Paul called Timothy to shrink away from abusive folk (2 Timothy 3:1-5) while uniting with those who call upon the Lord out of a pure heart (2 Timothy 2:22).
    2. To emphasize the importance of this instruction, in Exodus 17:8-18:27, God presented a stark contrast of the two kinds of relationships, the bad and the good, for our insight and edification (as follows):
  2. Discerning "Safe" From "Abusive" People Regarding Our Fellowship, Exodus 17:8-18:27.
    1. Dr. John D. Hanna in the Bible Knowledge Commentary, Old Testament, p. 135 claimed that Jethro's friendly visit to Moses in Exodus 18 is set in sharp contrast with the Amalekite war in Exodus 17:8 -16.
    2. The literary structure of Genesis 17:8-19:2 confirms his claim: Israel's battle against Amalek at Rephidim in Exodus 17:8-16 was followed by the nation's move from Rephidim to Mount Sinai in Exodus 19:2, but Exodus 18:5 shows Jethro visited Moses after this move had occurred so that Exodus 18 is clearly out of chronological order! Thus, the author meant to compare the events of Ex. 18 with those in Ex. 17:8-16!
    3. Thus, comparing these two passages, we are led to discern guidelines on those from whom we are to shrink back versus those with whom we should leave ourselves vulnerable for edifying fellowship:
      1. The Amalekites were "unsafe" for fellowship as they had no reverence for God where Jethro was "safe" as a great admirer of the God of Israel, Deuteronomy 25:17-18 with Exodus 17:8 and 18:1:
        1. The Amalekites attacked Israel (Ex. 17:8) as they did not respect Israel's God, cf. Deut. 25:17-18.
        2. Yet, Jethro valued the great deeds God had done for Israel in delivering her from Egypt, Ex. 18:1.
        3. These contrasts led to Israel's having to fight against Amalek while enjoying fellowship with Jethro!
      2. The Amalekites were "unsafe" for fellowship as they had no interest in trying to live peaceably with Israel where the "safe" Jethro sought to renew an edifying relationship with Moses, Ex. 17:8; 18:2-6, 7.
      3. The Amalekites were "unsafe" for fellowship as they were unteachable where Jethro was "safe" in delighting to hear all that the Lord had done for Israel, Ex. 17:8 and Deut. 25:17-18 versus Ex. 18:7-11.
      4. The Amalekites were "unsafe" for fellowship as they exhibited no act of true worship toward God where Jethro responded to Moses' testimony by offering up sacrifices unto the Lord, Ex. 18:11, 12.
      5. The Amalekites were "unsafe" for fellowship as they became wearisome to Israel where Jethro was "safe" in seeking to alleviate Moses' burdens, Ex. 17:11-12a; Ez. 35:1-5; Ex. 17:14, 16; Ex. 18:13-27:
        1. The Amalekites had been a tiresome burden for Israel: (a) Ever since Esau had hated Israel's patriarch, Jacob (Gen. 27:41), Esau's descendants had hated Jacob's seed, Israel, Ez. 35:1-5. (b) Thus, the Amalekites had attacked Israel's weary stragglers, Ex. 17:8; Deut. 25:17-18. (c) They opposed Israel so ardently that in the ensuing battle, Moses' hands became weary and had to be held aloft with the help of Aaron and Hur so that Israel might gain the victory, Ex. 17:11-12. (d) God then pledged to wage a war with the Amalek ites until He had annihilated them, Exodus 17:14, 16.
        2. In contrast, Jethro became a blessing for Israel, Ex. 18:13-27: (a) when he saw Moses judge the many matters of the nation, he realized Moses and the people were overtaxed, Ex. 18:13-18. (b) He thus urged Moses to delegate lesser cases out to other men and to judge the major ones himself, Ex. 18:19-23. (c) Moses heeded this rest-inducing advice to the edification of all, Exodus 18:24-26.
    4. In the end, the Amalekites were exterminated, but Jethro departed in peace from Moses, Ex. 17:14; 18:27!
Lesson: The Amalekites were "unsafe" for fellowship, for they did not revere God, they were combative toward Israel, they were unteachable, they failed to worship God and they were taxing in relationships; in contrast, Jethro was "safe" for fellowship as he revered God, he lived peaceably with Moses, he was teachable in spirit, he worshipped God and he was a helpful blessing in a relationship.

Application: May we SHRINK from those who are unedifying in relationships as were the Amalekites for Israel to the degree necessary to preserve our edification, but UNITE with those who fear God, who live peaceably with us, who are teachable, who worship God and are helpful in relationships.