True Power and True Worship

True Power and True Worship

by Julie Johnson

After the Exodus from Egypt and during the Israelites’ wilderness wanderings, Moses’ Father in law comes to meet him and to safely rejoin Moses with his wife Zipporah and their two sons. The reunion between Moses and Jethro is warm, and after greeting his father in law, Moses recounts the goodness of God and His powerful work in rescuing Israel from the hand of Pharaoh.

It is unclear whether Jethro, known as the priest of Midian, was a worshiper of many gods or of only the One True God. He was a descendent of Abraham, from Keturah, the wife he took after the death of Sarah, so it is very possible that he has been brought up with the knowledge of the God of Abraham. But whether Jethro places faith in multiple gods or not, the testimony of the story of Israel’s freedom from Egypt affects in him true worship of the true God. “Now I know,” he says, “that the LORD is greater than all gods.”

This fulfills what the Lord spoke through Moses about the plagues of Egypt in chapter 9, that hard-hearted Pharaoh himself was lifted up for the purpose of displaying God’s power over the gods of Egypt, that the name of the Lord would be proclaimed in all the earth. Jethro’s cry to this Greater God is echoed in first and second Chronicles and in the Psalms. And in Nehemiah, after the wall of Jerusalem has been rebuilt, the people of Israel come together to celebrate, read the Law and recount their history.

The Levites orally summarize creation, then move to the Lord’s covenant with Abraham, and then the narrative turns to spotlight Israel’s affliction in Egypt and the signs and wonders performed by the Lord against Pharaoh. In this recounting, they use Jethro’s exact words from Exodus 18, and also reference the Lord’s plan to display his power to all the earth in Exodus 9. Verses 9 and 10 of Nehemiah 9 say, “And You [LORD] saw the affliction of our fathers in Egypt and heard their cry at the Red Sea, and performed signs and wonders against Pharaoh and all his servants and all the people of his land, for You knew that they acted arrogantly against our fathers. And You made a name for Yourself, as it is to this day.”
It is such a testament to the enduring glory of God that around a thousand years after the Exodus, in a culture without Dropbox or Google Drive or The Cloud to safeguard information, the name of the Lord is still being praised because of His great work on behalf of Israel in Egypt.

The truth of the power of God brings about true worship. It did in Jethro’s heart, it did to the Israelites gathered about their newly erected wall, and it will do so to us as well.

Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; He is Most High over all the earth and is exalted far above all other objects upon which we falsely lavish our worship. May the Truth of your power bring about in us True worship, O God.

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