Rule of Organization (Exodus 18:13-27; Numbers 11:14-30)

It seemed like a good idea! So logical! And there were so many people to manage!


fter the marvellous deliverance from Egypt and the opening up of the Red Sea, the Israelites began their pilgrimage toward the Promised Land with optimism and hope. However. after just 3 days, they began complaining!  There's not water! The water's bitter! There's no food! Why did you bring us out of Egypt to kill us? Moses got angry and burned out trying to solve everybody's problems!
                Then came the timely solution... or  was it?

  nugget When under pressure, don't take the first logical solution without consulting God.

Pagan Priest or God's Advice?

Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, came to visit Moses when Moses was "pulling his hair out" with all the complaining of the Israelites. Jethro was the priest of Midian i.e. a pagan priest who had no vital relationship with the true living God. Jethro then taught Moses the principle of delegation and introduced the pyramid system of management and organization that most organizations and even many churches use today. Here's what Jethro advised Moses.

Now obey my voice; I will give you advice, and God be with you! You shall represent the people before God and bring their cases to God, and you shall warn them about the statutes and the laws, and make them know the way in which they must walk and what they must do. Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. And let them judge the people at all times. Every great matter they shall bring to you, but any small matter they shall decide themselves. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. (Exodus 18:19-22) 

That sounds good! How do I know that it did not work? Look at the cross references to Numbers 11. In Numbers 11:14-15, Moses told God, "I am not able to carry all this people alone; the burden is too heavy for me. If you will treat me like this, kill me at once, if I find favor in your sight, that I may not see my wretchedness." Did God give Moses the pyramid system? No. Here's what the Lord advised Moses.

"Gather for me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them, and bring them to the tent of meeting, and let them take their stand there with you. And I will come down and talk with you there. And I will take of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them, and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you may not bear it yourself alone." Numbers 11:16-17

When the Spirit of the Lord rested on the seventy men, they prophesied! Which would you consider to be the right solution?


Personal Reflection

   Do I walk a daily life of rules or depending on a personal relationship with God?

   How to I organize my church, fellowship or small group?

   Do I teach younger Christians the rules and processes of being a Christian OR do I model how to have a vital relationship with God for them?

Rule or Relationship?

Moses had the opportunity to use and test out both options - one of delegation by Jethro, and the other of the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

  • RULE: Moses could teach the law to the people and show them the principles of his decision process. Then he would delegate the responsibility to a pyramid system of organization from groups of thousands down to groups of tens. They would then judge among themselves the small matters and only take the great matters to Moses. By the time Moses get to judge a matter, it would be highly escalated, controversial and extremely difficult to solve! This was what I think wore Moses out in the end and he called out to God!
  • RELATIONSHIP: God's recommendation was simple. Let the elders or core group of people experience My Spirit and Anointing. Let them have a personal relationship with Me! Then I will be able to lead and guide them in the right way to judge all matters. In this way, the responsibility will truly be shared!

Learning this lesson opened my eyes! The pyramid system of organization will be appropriate for corporations but it is not desireable for churches. However, many churches use this because it is easier to implement in the natural. Not everybody can pay the cost of discipleship!

 (c) Gordon Tan 2007. All Rights Reserved.