Month: November 2022

Psalms 133 – Unity and Anointing (Part 1)

1.0 The Text

Psalm 133:1-3 (KJV) “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard; that went down to the skirts of his garments, like the dew of Hermon, and like the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion; for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.”

1.1 Psalm 133

Psalm 133 is the 14th Psalm of the 15 “Songs of Decrees.” Most Bible Expositors agreed that Psalm 133 is a Psalm of David. Of three verses extols the pleasantness and the preciousness of the Unity of Brethren. The lessons of Psalm 133 are both appropriate and relevant to Believer/Church, today, for the Unity, which is taught, is an essential condition for those who Worship together “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). The conditions described in Psalm 133 are necessary for God’s Anointing and Blessing to the Individual/Church. The real problem of the Church is the Leaders and Members do not understand and experience “brokenness:”

  • Isaiah 66:2b (KJV) “But to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembles at My Word.”
  • Psalm 34:18 (KJV) “The LORD is near unto those who are of a broken heart, and saveth such as he of a contrite spirit.”
  • Psalm 51:17 (KJV) “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.”
  • Isaiah 57:15 (KJV) “For thus saith the high and lofty One who inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and lofty place, with him also who is f a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.”

Psalm 133 is about Unity among Believers; Commentators identify it as a Wisdom Psalm. Psalm 133 is the occasion of the uniting of all the Tribes of Israel, after seven or eight years of Civil War (2Samuel 5:1; 1Chronicles 12:38-40) – “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.” It thought runs from the Definition of Unity (Psalm 133:1) to a Description of Unity (Psalm 133:2-3). Psalm 133 is a literary gem. The word “good” (towb) occurs twice:

  • Brotherly Unity is “Good” (Psalm 133:1).
  • And the flowing oil is “Good” (Psalm 133:2).  

As or like occurs twice: (a) like the good oil (Psalm 133:2); (b) and like the dew of Hermon (Psalm 133:3). Upon occurs four times: (a) upon the head; (b) upon the beard; (c) upon the skirts; (d) upon the mountains (Psalm 133:2-3). Flowing down (yárad) occurs three times, translates ran down, went down, and descended. Beard occurs twice (Psalm 133:2).

Dr. Dwight L. Moody preached a Sermon in which he noted that Christians in his day wanted influence. Instead, Moody said, what they need is Power, the Power of the Holy Spirit. This is the Power that we need to tear down the walls, freeing us to love one another again. This is the Power that we need, and it cannot be elected or bought or sold. In fact, when one man tried to buy it long ago, the Apostle Peter replied, “To hell with you and your money” (Acts 8:20, J.B. Philips). 

1.2 Unity Defined

Psalm 133:1 (KJV) “Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” The premise is stated. The word “good” means fulfilling or perfect. The word “pleasant” means “delightful, lovely and beautiful,” denotes our response to being together.

  • The word “pleasant” is used in the Hebrew for the harmony of music.
  • The word “pleasant” is used in the Hebrew for the pleasantness of the corn field, when the field is filled with corns.
  • The word “pleasant” is used in the Hebrew for the sweetness of honey.

A thing or situation may be good without being pleasant or pleasant without being good. But if a pleasant thing is to be good, it must be good before it is pleasant. Fraternal concord (unity) is good in its source, nature, and effects, and pleasant to God, to us, and to others.

This Unity is not Catholicity, or Ecumenicalism or Denominational. When the New Testament says: “the dwelling of brethren also together in unity,” it speaks of the “Unity of the Faith, and the Maturity to the Full Stature of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13) brought about by the Fivefold Ministry Gift of the Ascended Christ, of: “Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers” (Ephesians 4:11).

The Unity declared in Psalm 133 is possible because of “the Promise of Blessing” through the Messiah’s Reign, which came at the End of Psalm 132.

The first step to Unity is “brethren dwell together” – The idea of dwelling together should probably not be taken literally. It is doubtful that the Psalmist is referring to a family living under one roof (Deuteronomy 25:5), especially in the light of Psalm 133:2, 3, we take David to be addressing the value and benefit of Spiritual Unity for God’s people.

The emphasis is not outward casual acquaintance but “brotherly love” (Hebrews 13:1) – both Individual and Corporate responsibility to “keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3b). True Unity is beneficial – the Fellowship is a joy for everyone, and that joy is rooted in a mutual commitment to working out difficulties and refining relationships.   Unity gives us a sense of purpose and completion that resulted in “Goodness and Pleasantness.”

1.2.1 Unity & Anointing –

The word “good” in Psalm 133:1 and the word “precious” in Psalm 133:2 are the same Hebrew word: “towb” – by using this one Hebrew word “towb” to describe both “Unity” (Psalm 133:1) and the “Anointing Oil” (Psalm 133:2) – God’s Word indicates that Unity and Anointing are inseparable and are linked – Unity and Anointing functioned together, creating the Great Synergy. 

1.2.2 Fruitfulness –

The Hebrew word “towb” which means “good” (Psalm 133:1) and “precious” (Psalm 133:2) also means “fruitfulness” – thus, the Unity spoken of in Psalm 133 is “Fruit-Producing Unity” (Psalm 133:1), and not just agreement. This Unity results in “Fruit-Producing Anointing” (Psalm 133:2). God’s Word teaches that “Fruitful-Unity,” not agreement, produces “Fruitful-Anointing” of the Holy Spirit.

1.2.3 Pleasant –

The word “pleasant” (Psalm 133:1) means “delightful, lovely and beautiful,” denotes our response to being together – it denotes the “enjoyment of each-other-company” – The word “pleasant” is used in the Hebrew for “the harmony of music; pleasantness of the corn field, when the field is filled with corns; the sweetness of honey.” Thus, when we are in unity, our relationship with one another is: “Harmonious, Pleasant and Sweet.”

1.2.4 Priestly Ministry –

Psalm 133:2b indicates Aaron in his Priestly Function, which included the Ministry of Intercession – thus, the dynamic of the “Fruitful-Unity” resulting in the “Fruitful-Anointing” that produces Effective Intercession. This releases the Spiritual Power and Authority to the Body of Christ, by the Great High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ. 

1.3 Unity Explained

Psalm 133:2-3a (KJV) “It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard; that went down to the skirts of his garments. Like the dew of Hermon, and like the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion.”  The emphasis on Unity is upon the Pattern of the Hebrew’s life, in which the family and tribal live in harmony with each other. David describes the Pleasantness of Unity with two poetic images. The first is “the Anointing Oil’ of the High Priests, and the second is the “Dew of Mount Hermon:”

1.3.1 Aaron’s Anointing

Psalm 133:2 (KJV) “It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard; that went down to the skirts of his garments.” The first illustration is the “Anointing oil” – specifically the Anointing of Aaron, the High Priest:

  1. “It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard; that went down to the skirts of his garments.” The word rendered “precious” here means “good.” The “Anointing Oil” is the sacred perfumed oil used for Anointing the High Priest (Exodus 30:23). It is poured upon Aaron’s head (Exodus 30:22-33) when consecrated to office. The oil is a type of the Holy Spirit in His Sanctifying Power. The illustration given here is not only on the fragrance of the oil (precious = good), and its abundance. The oil does not remain upon the head but flowed downward, thus sanctifying the whole body. All the Members shared the Blessing.
  2. This Anointing, which followed a ritual bath, set Aaron apart. There is reason to believe from the Anointing of David with oil and the immediate coming of the Holy Spirit upon him, that the oil represented the Blessing and Presence of God’s Spirit (1Samuel 16:13). This would also account for the singular description of the oil flowing down Aaron’s beard and “running down on the edge” (literally, “mouth”) of his garments.”  Thus, the Unity of the Brethren is like Aaron, covered with the Oil of the Spirit. In the New Testament, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Unity (Ephesians 4:3). It is the Spirit who makes us one, levelling the walls that stand between us, as He (Spirit) Authors God’s New Creation in us and Anoints us with Himself (2Corinthians 1:21-22).
  3. The Holy Oil with which Aaron was Anointed at his Consecration into the Priesthood is a sweet-smelling compound of myrrh, cinnamon, calamus, and cassia, in olive oil. It is a unique composition, never to be imitated, and to be used for the Anointing of the High Priest and the Vessels of the Tabernacle (Exodus 30:22-33). The interpretation of the five ingredients is taken from Song of Solomon 4:12-14, which lists the nine plants and spices in the garden (heart) of the Bride of Christ, and Galatians 5:22-23, which enumerates the Nine Fruit of the Spirit that the Spirit of God cultivates in the garden of our hearts:
    • Myrrh represents “Meekness” – “Meekness” is the strength of character, a virtue that enables a person not to retaliate when offended.
    • Cinnamon typifies “Goodness” – “Goodness” is a quality of being good. The person harness himself from doing evil.
    • Calamus represents “Gentleness” – “Gentleness” is a precious virtue (1Thessalonians 2:7; Psalm 18:35; 2Timothy 2:24).
    • Cassia represents “Humility” – “Humility” is a must in order to have unity with others, because unless we have the humility of heart to prefer others before ourselves, we tend to strife (Philippians 2:3).
    • Olive Oil represents “Peace” (Genesis 8:11) – The olive branch is an International Symbol of Peace. We have peace with people around us, not having any hard feelings or offenses toward others.
    • In order to experience true Unity of the brethren, to its fullest extent, these five virtues (“Meekness, Goodness, Gentleness, Humility, and Peace”) must be worked out in every Believer’s life. Therefore, let the Members of the Body of Christ seek to cultivate these Five Virtues (Meekness, Goodness, Gentleness, Humility and Peace) of the Anointing Oil. The “Anointing Oil” is therefore very precious, just like the Unity of the Brethren!!
  4. Anointing is done at God’s Direction (Exodus 30:22-33), in His Ways, with His Authority, and any Blessing it conferred is from God. In Psalm 133:2 the threefold repetition: “running down,” “running down,” and “down” – the Hebrew uses the same verb each time – emphasises that the Blessing of Aaron’s Anointing is from above, that is, from God.  The Unity of the Brethren is compared to the Precious Anointing Oil that is poured on Aaron’s head and flowed down his whole body to the bottom of his garments. In other words, he (Aaron) is completely covered with the Anointing Oil, which represents the Anointing (James 5:4). The Lord Jesus Christ was Anointed with the Holy Spirit Without Measure (John 3:34). The Brethren who dwell in Unity will experience this Great Anointing both Individually and Corporately!
  5. The Anointing Oil of Aaron is the Blessing from God to him, but he (Aaron) is the High Priest, which mean that he in turn blessed others. The description of the Anointing Oil running down from his head-to the beard-to the skirts, suggests the blessing of Unity flows from one person to another, in the Body of Christ. 
  6. The Anointing Oil is the symbol of the Holy Spirit in His Sanctifying Power. The illustration given here is not only on the Fragrance of the Oil (Precious = Good), and its abundance but that the Anointing Oil does not remained upon the head but flowed downward, thus Sanctifying the whole Body of Christ. All the Members shared in the Anointing!!
  7. God’s Anointing breaks the yoke – Isaiah 10:27 (KJV) “The yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing” – the yoke of division, strife in the Church will be broken when God’s Anointing of the Holy Spirit flows.

To be continued….. Stay Tuned…..

The Jethro’s Principles (Exodus 18:13-23) (Part 2)

Principle 3 -Teaches the Word

Exodus 18:20 (KJV) “And thou (Moses) should teach them Ordinances and Laws, and shalt show them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.” Moses has threefold responsibilities:

  1. Teach them Ordinances and Laws – Theory (Exodus 18:20; Philippians 4:9).
  2. Show them the Way to Walk – Lifestyle (Exodus 18:20).
  3. The Work to do – Practical (Exodus 18:20; Isaiah 2:1-5; 2Timothy 2:2).

The Potential Leaders should be taught God’s Word (“Ordinances and Laws”) – 2Timothy 3:16-17 “All scripture is given by the inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for inspiration in righteousness. That the man of God may be perfect thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

  • For “doctrine” (what is right).
  • For “reproof” (what is not right).
  • For “correction” (how to get right).
  • For “instruction in righteousness” (how to stay right).

1. The Doctrine of the Inspiration of Scripture is important; the Doctrine that Satan attacked since the beginning (“Yea, hath God said?”– Genesis 3:1). God’s Word is Infallible and Reliable because:

  • God is the God of Truth – Deuteronomy 32:4 “He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice; a God of Truth and without iniquity, just and right is He.”
  • Jesus is “the Truth” – John 14:6 “Jesus said unto him, I am the way the Truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by Me.”
  • The Holy Spirit is “the Spirit of Truth” – 1John 5:6b “And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is Truth.”
  • The Scripture is “the Word of Truth” – John 17:17 “Sanctify them through Thy Truth; Thy word is truth.”

2. The Holy Spirit used men of God to write the Word of God – 2Peter 1:20-21 (NKJV) “Knowing this first, that no Prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation. For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” The Spirit of God does not erase the Personality of the Writers. In fact, God in His Providences prepared the Writers for the task of writing the Scriptures. Each Writer has his own distinctive style and vocabulary. Each Book of the Bible grows out of a special set of circumstances. In God’s preparation of men, in His guiding of history, and in His working through the Spirit, God brought about the miracles of the Scriptures:

  • Revelation is the communicating of truth to man by God.
  • Inspiration is the supernatural influence of the Holy Spirit on the Bible’s Writers, which guaranteed that what they write is accurate and trustworthy. The inspiration is the recording of the communication in a way that is Infallible.

3. 2Timothy 3:16-17 “All scripture is given by the inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for inspiration in righteousness. That the man of God may be perfect thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” The Word of God is profitable:

  • For “doctrine” (what is right).
  • For “reproof” (what is not right).
  • For “correction” (how to get right).
  • For “instruction in righteousness” (how to stay right).

A “born-again” Christian who studies God’s Word and applies what he learns will grow in holiness and avoid many pitfalls in this world.

4. The Word of God equips us for service (2Timothy 3:17). A person can become “a man of God” if he studies the Word of God and applies it to his life. Men of God named in the Bible were basically men of God’s Word. God’s Word:

  • Perfects – Complete, in fit shape, in fit condition. It is implies being fitted for us.
  • Furnished – Equipped for Service. In other words, God’s Word furnishes and equips the Believer so that he can be effective in God’s Work (Ministry).

The Jethro’s Principle of the Purpose of Bible Study (not Academic – Bible School for diploma/degree) is to understand Doctrines and to Equip of the Saints for the Work of the Ministry (Ephesians 4:12), so that others can come to the Knowledge of the Truth (Ephesians 4:13-16). Training based in intellectual achievements with emphasis on academic diplomas/degrees, is good and may be necessary, in the longer term, but for the current Jethro’s Principles, situations, may/may not produce the Leadership needed to win lost souls to Christ or build Growing Churches. Teach the Potential Leaders from God’s Word and Guide their lives in living out God’s Word.

Principle 4 – Shows Them the Work

Exodus 18:20 (KJV) “And thou (Moses) should teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt show them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.”

1. The Potential Leaders after they have been taught for a season must be engaged in doing – Acts 1:1b “Of all that Jesus began both to do and teach” (Marks 6:30; Ezra 7:10; Matthew 5:19). The Principles of “Do & Teach” shown in God’s Word:

  • Jesus – Acts 1:1b “Of all that Jesus began both to do and teach.
  • Prophet – Ezra 7:10 “For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the LORD, and to do it. And to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel.”
  • Apostles – Mark 6:30 “Then the Apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught.
  • Kingdom of God – Matthew 5:19 “Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandants, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.”

If we teach the Potential Leaders on soul-winning – then immediately sent them out to win souls. If we teach the Potential Leaders on Divine Healing and Deliverance, then they should be exposed to in the practical. This is Christ’s method of mentoring – Matthew 10:1“And when His had called unto Him His twelve Disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.”

2. Jesus’ Training is on the job and short-term with both the twelve Apostles and the Seventy Disciples (Matthew 10). Jesus demonstrates what they should do, and then sent them out to do the same thing.

3. Training should be kept to about six-monthly intervals because the longer the training program, the less effective the Potential Leaders. The Trainees should be put “on the job training” to use the knowledge acquired. If necessary, the Trainees should be brought back for further training, periodically, in upgrading.

4. The Training should be 50% teaching and 50% doing. What is taught should be put into practice (doing). Keep the emphasis on practical training. The Training is bible-centred, short-term, and practical. Dedication and commitment are expected of the Potential Leaders.

Principle 5 – Transfers the Anointing

Numbers 11:16-17 (KJV) “And the LORD said unto Moses, gather unto Me Seventy men of the Elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the Elders of the people, and officers over them; and bring them unto the Tabernacle of the Congregation, that they may stand there with thee. And I will come down and talk with thee there, and I will take of the Spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them, and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone.”

  • Joshua – Deuteronomy 34:9 (KJV) “And Joshua, the son of Nun, was full of the Spirit of Wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him. And the children of Israel hearkened unto him and did as the Lord commanded Moses.”
  • Joshua – Numbers 27:20 (KJV) “And thou (Moses) shall put some of thine honour upon him (Joshua), that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient.”

Laying on of hands for the impartation of the Anointing is an important aspect (but most neglected) Principle in Leadership Development. Without the Enabling Power (Anointing) of the Holy Spirit the Potential Leaders will find God’s Work a heavy burden. Jesus never sent a Person to represent Him without Anointing him with the Power of the Holy Spirit:

  • Matthew 10:1 (KJV) “And when He had called unto Him His twelve Disciples, He gave them Power (Authority – the Anointing) against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.”
  • Luke 10:1, 18-19 (KJV) “After these things the Lord (Jesus) appointed other Seventy also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place, where He Himself would come…..And He (Jesus) said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you Power (Authority – the Anointing) to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”
  • Acts 1:8 (KJV) “But ye shall receive Power (Authority – the Anointing), after the Holy Spirit is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” 

Jesus began His ministry only after He had been Anointed by the Father with the Holy Spirit, at His water-baptism (Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:10) – Luke 4:18-19 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath Anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent Me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised. To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

1. A successful Leader who carries a strong Anointing of the Holy Spirit in his life should be involved in the training of Potential Leaders and pass the Anointing to them by the laying on of hands. The example of Moses – Joshua (Numbers 27:15-23; Deuteronomy 34:9); Moses – the Seventy Elders (Numbers 11:16-17); Elijah – Elisha (2Kings 2:9-15). 

2. The transference of Anointing is God’s Sovereign Act using the Person, for His (God’s) Glory, for example:

  • JoshuaNumbers 27:20 (KJV) “And thou (Moses) shalt put some of thine honour upon him (Joshua), that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient.”
  • JoshuaDeuteronomy 34:9 (KJV) “And Joshua, the son of Nun, was full of the Spirit of Wisdom; for Moses, had laid his hands upon him. And the children of Israel hearkened unto him and did as the LORD commanded Moses.”
  • Seventy EldersNumbers 16-17 (KJV) “And the LORD said unto Moses, gather unto Me seventy men of the Elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the Elders of the people, and officers over them; and bring them unto the Tabernacle of the Congregation, that they may stand there with thee. And I will come down and talk with thee there, and I will take of the Spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them, and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone.”
  • Elisha2Kings 2:9-15a (KJV) “And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, ask what I shall do for thee, before I am taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit (Anointing) be upon me…..And when the sons of the Prophets, who were looking on at Jericho, saw him, they said, the spirit (Anointing) of Elijah doth rest on Elisha.

It seems in the Early Church, the Leaders and the Congregation spent times of fasting, prayer and ministering to the Lord (Acts 1:14; Acts 13:1-4). Out of such times, the Holy Spirit spoke and Anointed them, and they went out Empowered by the Spirit and successfully fulfilled their Ministries.

Principle 6 – Transfers the Burden

Exodus 18:21-22 (KJV) “Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. And let them judge the people at all seasons; and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge; so, shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear the burden with thee.” Numbers 11:16-17 “And the Lord said unto Moses, Gather unto Me……the elders of Israel…..that they may stand…..with thee. And…..they shall bear the burden of the people with thee.” The burden upon Moses is too heavy (Exodus 18:14, 18). Jethro, Moses’ father-in law gives him a word of wisdom by suggesting that he (Moses) brings in a Team of “qualified men” (Exodus 18:18,19-23)

  • Jethro’s proposal is good. Moses is to organise the camp so that every 10 families rather than persons, thus following the natural tribal division, have somebody to talk to about their problems. It a ruler of 10 could not solve the problem, it could be referred to the ruler of 50, then 100, and then 1,000 (Note: Numbers 31:14, 28) indicates that the Army is organised on a similar plan (1Samuel 22:7; 1Chronicles 12). After that, it would be referred to Moses himself.
  • D.L. Moody may have had this in mind when he said: “I would rather put 10 men to work than do the work of 10 men.”
  • A system such as this would separate the simple problem (“small matter”) from the more complex matter (“greater matter”) so that Moses would be freed to be Shepherd, Official Representative and Administrator of the “Church in the Wilderness” (Acts 7:38).
  • This arrangement would also test the seriousness of the people, for not all of them would be willing to let the ruler “take their case to a higher court.”
  • It is advisable to yoke a younger Leader to an experienced older Leader in order to bring forth patience endurance of the younger Leader.
  • Look out for the person who reaches out for responsibility and accountability rather than authority because authority without responsibility and accountability damages God’s work and His people – Not Lordship1Peter 5:2-3 “Feed (shepherd) the flock of God….Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock.” God makes us Overseers over His flock (Acts 20:28; 1Peter 5:2) and we are not to be lording over His flock (1Peter 5:3). Leadership position should be used to teach, bless, heal the broken-hearted, break bondage, and restoration (Luke 4:18).
  • Responsibilities of Rulers – Exodus 18:21 (KJV) ““Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.” Men who have been placed over to rule (rule = standing as example) God’s people must demonstrate that they have:
    • Rule over their own spirit (Proverbs 16:32; 25:28).
    • Rule over their own household (1Timothy 3:4, 11; Titus 1:6; Abraham – Genesis 18:19; Joshua – Joshua 24:15).
    • Rule over the House of God (1Timothy 1:5).
  • Placed as Leaders to lead and rule over the thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens, according to one’s ability to handle (Note: Some have rejected the Jethro’s Principle because it is given by Moses’ father-in-law, and that, if the advice is taken literally, there would have been 78,600, judges in all, over the Nation of Israel).
  • Judges – Men able to always judge the people (Exodus 18:22; Deuteronomy 1:16-17). Discernment not critical is needed. Give good counsel, and answers to the problems, insight, decisions based on principle of God’s laws, not poor judgement:
    • Judge with justice (Isaiah 1:17; Deuteronomy 1:16).
    • Judge with mercy (Psalm 101:1).
    • Judge without partiality or favouritism (Proverbs 24:23; Deuteronomy 1:17).
    • Judge beyond natural sense (Isaiah 11:1-5).
    • Judge with knowledge, understanding and wisdom (2Chronicles 1:7-12; Deuteronomy 1:13).
    • Men to bear the burden with Moses (Exodus 18:14-18, 22; Numbers 11:11-17).
    • Men with the same spirit upon them (Exodus 18:25; Numbers 11:16,17; 1Corinthians 1:10; Psalm 133).
  • Since Israel is a strong patriarchal society, the emphasis is on men, but throughout Scripture, the Lord called and used many gifted women to serve Him and His people.
  • Moses’ Responsibilities – Exodus 18:19b-20 (KJV) “Be thou for the people to Godward, that thou mayest bring the causes unto God. And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt show them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.”
    • Moses is to represent the people before God, interceding and seeking God’s direction in the difficult cases – “Be thou for the people to Godward, that thou mayest bring the causes unto God” (Exodus 18:19b, KJV). 
    • Moses has threefold responsibilities – “And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt show them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do” (Exodus 18:20):
      • Teach them Ordinances and Laws – Theory (Exodus 18:20; Philippians 4:9).
      • Show them the way to walk – Lifestyle (Exodus 18:20).
      • The Work to do – Practical (Exodus 18:20; Isaiah 2:1-5; 2Timothy 2:2).
    • The measure of ability and commitment is the measure of responsibility, which becomes the measure of authority and the measure of the person’s accountability. The person only has authority where he has responsibility and commitment. The Jethro’s Principle illustrates the “Team Ministry” under Moses.

The Jethro’s Principles (Exodus 18:13-23) (Part 1)

1.0 Developing a Team

The Bible not only provides us with the Standard of Christian character and lifestyle, but it also provides us with examples of ministries working together (“yoked together”) as a Team. We could gleam this truth from the advice given by Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law in Exodus 18:13-27. This advice is called the “Jethro’s Principle” (Exodus 18:13-27; Deuteronomy 1:9-17):

1.1 Clericalism

About 3 million Israelites followed Moses out of Egypt (Exodus 12 to 13) into the Wilderness of Sinai (“the Church in the Wilderness” – Acts 7:38, KJV), heading towards the Promised Land (Canaan Land). Moses alone takes on the task of hearing the people’s grievances (Exodus 13:13-22); this method of dealing and carrying the burden of the people alone is called “clericalism:” Clericalism defined:

  1. Clericalism is doing God’s Work by oneself, without the counsel or help of others – Exodus 18:14,18 (KJV) “And Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he did to the people, he said, what is this thing that thou doest to the people? Why sittest thou thyself alone and all the people stand by thee from morning unto evening?…….Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou and this people that are with thee; for this thing is too heavy for thee; thou art not able to perform it thyself alone.” This is never the biblical method; God’s method is of Leadership is Team-Ministry (Ephesians 4:11-13). 
  2. Clericalism is placing yourself over others instead of seeing yourself as the Servant of others – “And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your Servant: But he that is greatest among you shall be your Servant” (Matthew 20:27; 23:11, KJV).
  3. Clericalism is the Leader who stays in the “trap” of clericalism; he will fail to fulfil God’s Purpose in his life and in the life of others – Exodus 18:18 (KJV) “Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou and this people that are with thee; for this thing is too heavy for thee; thou art not able to perform it thyself alone.”
  4. Clericalism can only be solved by using the Principles of Multiplying Ministries demonstrated by Jesus and Apostle Paul in the New Testament – 2Timothy 2:2 (KJV) “And the things that thou hast heard from me among many Witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”

The solution to clericalism is to build a Team; invest our time and resources in the Team. Let the Team helps us with God’s Work has called us to do – Exodus 18:21 (KJV) “Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.”

1.2 The Six Principles

Exodus 18:19-23 (KJV) “Hearken now unto my voice; I will give thee counsel, and God shall be with thee: Be thou for the people to Godward, that thou mayest bring the causes unto God. And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt show them the way wherein they must do. Moreover, thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. And let them judge the people at all seasons; and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge; so, shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear the burden with thee. If thou shalt do this thing, and God command thee so, then thou shalt be able to endure, and all this people shall also go to their place in peace.” Team building could be successful if we follow the Principles given to Moses by God, through Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro. Without these supporting Leaders, Moses will suffer the Leadership breakdown, causing the people of the “Church in the Wilderness” (Acts 7:38) to suffer – we will study the Six Principles given to Moses and in so doing find a solution to clericalism:

Principle 1 – Men Of Character

  1. Able men (Exodus 18:21; Matthew 25:14-30; 1Peter 4:10, 11). God gives various abilities to men and the Leader needs discerned and recognised the abilities and potential of the people under his shepherding. The potential Leaders must be proven; they also are required to work hard; he needs to learn the discipline of strenuous productive labour – Luke 10:2 (KJV) “The harvest truly is great, but the Labourers are few pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that He would send forth Labourers into His harvest.”
  2. Fear God (Exodus 18:21; Proverbs 3:7; 9:10; 24:21). The potential Leaders must learn not to fear of men, as the fear of men is a snare (Proverbs 29:25; Saul – 1Samuel 15:24). Fear of God is the constant awareness that God is Sovereign and that our constant desire is to please Him.
  3. Men of Truth (Exodus 18:21; Psalm 51:6; Zechariah 8:16; Ephesians 4:15) – Honest, transparent, men of integrity. No hypocrisy, no deception.
  4. Hating Covetousness (Exodus 18:21; Proverbs 28:16; Romans 7:7; Ephesians 3:3-5; Ezekiel 33:31; 1Timothy 6:9-12) – Covetousness is the root sin. People will covet position, power, glory, money, etc., but the Potential Leaders are Persons of character that could not be bribed.
  5. Men of Wisdom, Knowledge and Understanding (Deuteronomy 1:13; Proverbs 1:1-6; 1Kings 3; Ephesians 1:17, 18):
    • Knowledge = The possession of facts.
    • Understanding = The interpretation of facts.
    • Wisdom = The application of facts.
  6. Known by the people (Deuteronomy 1:13; 1Timothy 3:6; 1Thessalonian 5:12-13). Not Novices but knowing those who labour among us (Acts 6:3). 

    These qualifications remind us of the experience of the Early Church in finding people to be Elders (1Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; 1Peter 5:1-4) and Deacons (1Timothy 3:8-13; Acts 6:1-6), to assist the Apostles in the Oversight of the Church:
    • In Deuteronomy 1:9-18, Moses shared Jethro’s Counsel with the People, admitted his own weakness and weariness, and asked them to select Leaders to assist him. The People approved of the plan and selected the Leaders whom Moses then charged (commanded) them with the responsibilities of their Offices.
    • When Israel moved into the Promised Land, they appointed Officers in each town to assist in the settling of cases (Deuteronomy 16:18-20).
    • Numbers 31:14 indicates that the Army is organised on a similar plan (1Samuel 22:7; 1Chronicles 12).
    • Whenever ministry and structure collide, and ministry is being hindered; God’s people must adjust the structure so ministry can grow (Acts 6:1-7). In this rapidly changing world, Christian Ministries must remain flexible; if they are to solve problems and seize opportunities. A self-defeating Church embalms its structure and refuses to be flexible to changes. The Ministries that God blesses are open to change, so long as the Principles of God’s Word are not violated.

Principle 2 – Trains Others

Exodus 18:18 (KJV) “Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou, and this people that are with thee; for this thing is too heavy for thee; thou art not able to perform it thyself alone.” Numbers 11:14-15 “I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me. And if Thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray Thee.” Moses asked God to kill him because of the problems, the result of clericalism. Clericalism is killing Moses and will kill any Leader who operates in that sphere, alone:

  1. In order to help him (Moses) God through Jethro (Moses’ father-in-law) gives him the Principle – Exodus 18:21-23 (KJV) “Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. And let them judge the people at all seasons; and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge; so, shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear the burden with thee. If thou shalt do this thing and God command thee so, then thou shalt be able to endure, and all this people shall also go to their place in peace.”
  2. God Himself also spoke to Moses – Numbers 11:16-17 (KJV) “And the LORD said unto Moses, gather unto Me seventy men of the Elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the Elders of the people, and Officers over them; and bring them unto the Tabernacle of the Congregation, that they may stand there with thee. And I will come down and talk with thee there, and I will take of the Spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them, and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone.”

    The solution to Moses’ problem is to seek out and train others to bear the burden with him (Moses) because God has given both Leadership Gifts (Ephesians 4:11 – Fivefold Ministers of Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers) and Spiritual Gifts to Members of the Body of Christ (Romans 12:3-8; 1Corinthians chapters 12 to 14; 1Peter 4:9-11); the Leader’s job is to train and equip the Members of the Church, so that these Members then do the Work of the Ministry (Service) – Ephesians 4:12 (KJV) “For the perfecting (equipping) of the saints for the work of the ministry for the edifying of the body of Christ.”
  3. Each Leader – Teach One2Timothy 2:2 (KJV) “And the things that thou hast heard from me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also”– Apostle Paul explains to Timothy, his son in the faith, in 2Timothy 2:2 that the training he has received from him (Paul) must be pass on to other faithful men. It involves three levels: (1) Paul to Timothy; (2) Timothy to faithful men; (3) Faithful men to train others. The primary responsibility of the Leader is to train others.  If the Leader takes one person and train him for one year; and on the second year, the Leader, and the trained person each takes one person and train them; if this training is kept, in 33 years the Church would have a pool of 8,589,834,592 (8+ billions) trained persons. The whole Earth would have been reached (Acts 5:14; Revelations 7:9; 2Peter 3:9).
  4. Fruit that RemainsJohn 15:16a (KJV) “Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain.” The Lord Jesus has “ordained” others – appointed, set apart for special services – in order to go into the world and bears fruit. The evidence of true Discipleship is “fruit.”Where there is true “fruit,” it will remain; fruit has in it the seed for more fruit, so the process goes on and on. Whatever is born of the Spirit of God has the mark of eternity on it, and it will last:
  5. Find Potential Leaders – Numbers 11:16-17 (KJV) “And the LORD said unto Moses, gather unto Me seventy men of the Elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the Elders of the people, and Officers over them; and bring them unto the Tabernacle of the Congregation, that they may stand there with thee. And I will come down and talk with thee there, and I will take of the Spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them, and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone.”
    • A lot of time and effort is wasted training those with no Leadership Gift. The LORD’s instruction to Moses was: “Gather….seventy men…..whom thou knowest to be Elders (Leaders)…..”
    • Look out for a person with a Servant-heart“And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be yourSservant: But he that is greatest among you shall be your Servant” (Matthew 20:27; 23:11).
    • Jesus invested most of His time in 12 Disciples who later became Apostles – Matthew 10:1-2a “And when He had called unto Him His twelve Disciples, He gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. Now the Names of the twelve Apostles are these:” Jesus followed this principle of training others – who would teach others also. That is the Ministry of Leaders – finding more Leaders and training them.

Principle 3 -Teaches the Word

Exodus 18:20 (KJV) “And thou (Moses) should teach them Ordinances and Laws, and shalt show them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.” Moses has threefold responsibilities:

  • Teach them Ordinances and Laws – Theory (Exodus 18:20; Philippians 4:9).
  • Show them the Way to Walk – Lifestyle (Exodus 18:20).
  • The Work to do – Practical (Exodus 18:20; Isaiah 2:1-5; 2Timothy 2:2).

The Potential Leaders should be taught God’s Word (“Ordinances and Laws”) – 2Timothy 3:16-17 “All scripture is given by the inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for inspiration in righteousness. That the man of God may be perfect thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

  • For “doctrine” (what is right).
  • For “reproof” (what is not right).
  • For “correction” (how to get right).
  • For “instruction in righteousness” (how to stay right).
  1. The Doctrine of the Inspiration of Scripture is important; the Doctrine that Satan attacked since the beginning (“Yea, hath God said?”– Genesis 3:1). God’s Word is Infallible and Reliable because:
    • God is the God of Truth – Deuteronomy 32:4 “He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice; a God of Truth and without iniquity, just and right is He.”
    • Jesus is “the Truth” – John 14:6 “Jesus said unto him, I am the way the Truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by Me.”
    • The Holy Spirit is “the Spirit of Truth” – 1John 5:6b “And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is Truth.”
    • The Scripture is “the Word of Truth” – John 17:17 “Sanctify them through Thy Truth; Thy word is truth.”
  2. The Holy Spirit used men of God to write the Word of God – 2Peter 1:20-21 (NKJV) “Knowing this first, that no Prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation. For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” The Spirit of God does not erase the Personality of the Writers. In fact, God in His Providences prepared the Writers for the task of writing the Scriptures. Each Writer has his own distinctive style and vocabulary. Each Book of the Bible grows out of a special set of circumstances. In God’s preparation of men, in His guiding of history, and in His working through the Spirit, God brought about the miracles of the Scriptures:
    • Revelation is the communicating of truth to man by God.
    • Inspiration is the supernatural influence of the Holy Spirit on the Bible’s Writers, which guaranteed that what they write is accurate and trustworthy. The inspiration is the recording of the communication in a way that is Infallible.
  3. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All scripture is given by the inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for inspiration in righteousness. That the man of God may be perfect thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” The Word of God is profitable:
    • For “doctrine” (what is right).
    • For “reproof” (what is not right).
    • For “correction” (how to get right).
    • For “instruction in righteousness” (how to stay right)

      A “born-again” Christian who studies God’s Word and applies what he learns will grow in holiness and avoid many pitfalls in this world.
  4. The Word of God equips us for service (2Timothy 3:17). A person can become “a man of God” if he studies the Word of God and applies it to his life. Men of God named in the Bible were basically men of God’s Word. God’s Word:
    • Perfects – Complete, in fit shape, in fit condition. It is implies being fitted for us.
    • Furnished – Equipped for Service. In other words, God’s Word furnishes and equips the Believer so that he can be effective in God’s Work (Ministry).

      The Jethro’s Principle of the Purpose of Bible Study (not Academic – Bible School for diploma/degree) is to understand Doctrines and to Equip of the Saints for the Work of the Ministry (Ephesians 4:12), so that others can come to the Knowledge of the Truth (Ephesians 4:13-16). Training based in intellectual achievements with emphasis on academic diplomas/degrees, is good and may be necessary, in the longer term, but for the current Jethro’s Principles, situations, may/may not produce the Leadership needed to win lost souls to Christ or build Growing Churches. Teach the Potential Leaders from God’s Word and Guide their lives in living out God’s Word.


To be continued….. Stay Tuned…..