In Exodus 18:1, 5, and 9-12; we catch a glimpse of the positive influence Moses had with his extended family members. It reads: 1 Moses’ father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian, heard about everything that God had done for Moses and His people Israel, and how the Lord had brought Israel out of Egypt. 5 Moses’ father-in-law Jethro, along with Moses’ wife and sons, came to him in the wilderness where he was camped at the mountain of God. 9 Jethro rejoiced over all the good things the Lord had done for Israel when He rescued them from the power of the Egyptians. 10 “Praise the Lord,” Jethro exclaimed,” who rescued you from Pharaoh and the power of the Egyptians and snatched the people from the power of the Egyptians. 11 Now I know that Yahweh is greater than all gods, because He did wonders when the Egyptians acted arrogantly against Israel.” 12 Then Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and sacrifices to God, and Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat a meal with Moses’ father-in-law in God’s presence.
Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, was “the priest of Midian” (3:1); which meant that he was a man who had forsaken the one true God a long time ago. In fact, he not only worshiped false gods himself, he helped other people do the same thing. But here’s the deal, Jethro was closely watching and carefully listening to Moses. Jethro could not ignore God’s power in delivering the Israelites from Egyptian bondage. Notice again verse 11: “Now I know that Yahweh is greater than all gods.” And here’s the thing, even though the LORD used supernatural events to convince Jethro that He is the one true God, He also used Moses! Moses had earned Jethro’s respect by being a good husband to his daughter, and a good father to his grandchildren. Plus, when Moses was called by God to go back to Egypt, he made it a point to secure Jethro’s permission and blessing (4:18). Moses honored his father-in-law. And that served as an important bridge to Jethro’s heart in terms of communicating who God really is.
So, here’s a real-life/real-time principal we can get from this Jethro/Moses interaction: In order to be an effective and positive Messianic influence to both unbelieving and believing relatives, we need to live a consistent Messianic life. And that means taking these words from the apostle Peter very seriously: 11 Dear friends, I urge you as foreigners and exiles to keep away from fleshly desires that do battle against the soul, 12 and maintain good conduct among non-believers, so that even though they now malign you as wrongdoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God when he appears (1 Pet. 2:11-12). The point is, The LORD uses a godly and consistent life to minister Messiah to family members.
Now you don’t need me to tell you that obviously we will continually face difficult challenges living for Messiah in a culture that is ever increasingly hostile to biblical values. And yet, we are called to reflect God’s holiness and be a communicator of His truth not only to an unbelieving world, but also to a largely biblically illiterate believing world! According to Acts 2:47, when first century Jewish believers in Jerusalem devoted themselves to apostolic teaching, fellowship, and the expression of praise; unbelievers, (and probably some immature believers as well), viewed them favorably; why, because they observed their good works, and because the Holy Spirit convicted these unbelievers (and probably some immature believers as well) of their sin. And so then what happened? Every day the Lord added to this upstart Messianic movement those who were being saved. And I’m willing to bet, also those, who were ready to get serious about Jesus!
Today, we have the same mandate and the same 24/7 Holy Spirit that these first century Jewish believers had. Plus, we have something they didn’t have; the Word of God in its entirety! The only other thing needed in this mix, is our cooperation expressed in dependent obedience. Nothing else is required to be the real deal that gives credibility to our Messianic appeal.