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Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
July 18, 2022 12:00 am


Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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July 18, 2022 12:00 am

What do you do when you get burned out spiritually? It happens to all of us, doesn't it? Moses was one of the greatest leaders the world has seen but even he experienced an emotional breakdown. We can't be immune to it, but we can be ready for it. So let's join Stephen in this message as he tells us how.

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Gregory N. Barkman
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Alan Wright
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Kerwin Baptist Church
Wisdom for the Heart
Dr. Stephen Davey

Moses needed to delegate to other men but those men needed to be qualified. As Moses was leading the people out of Egypt, the burden of that responsibility for leading a large group of people became overwhelming. This is Wisdom for the Heart and we're bringing you a series from Exodus from our Vintage Wisdom Collection.

Stephen first preached this message in 1989 so he's going to sound a bit different but the truth of God's Word is unchanging. This message is called Burnout. I once read recently, good men die young. Of course that statement is referring to that malady that we refer to in our contemporary culture as burnout. There are books written on the subject, there are articles warning us of it and this is the disease that claws its way into the lives of men and women who have distorted priorities and overbooked calendars. The symptoms are obvious. They are irritation, frustration, loss of vision especially when that is taking place related to some ministry and ultimately the termination of that ministry or perhaps even job, career.

Burnout is always looking for people who are enticed by the lure of additional activities rather than essential activities. In the book of Exodus as we have been studying through this rich book, we find a man who is nearly exhausted and the people that he is leading obviously frustrated. If you'll take your Bibles and turn to Exodus chapter 18, let's take a look at chapter 18 verse 1. Now Jethro the priest of Midian, Moses' father-in-law heard of all that God had done for Moses and for Israel his people how the Lord had brought Israel out of Egypt. In Jethro, Moses' father-in-law took Moses' wife Zipporah after he had sent her away perhaps in safety as he confronted the Pharaoh of Egypt and her two sons of whom one was named Gershom for he said, I have been a sojourner in a foreign land and the other was named Eleazar for he said, the God of my father was my help and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh. Then Jethro, Moses' father-in-law came with his sons and his wife to Moses in the wilderness where he was camped at the mount of God. And he sent word to Moses and he said, I your father-in-law Jethro am coming to you with your wife and her two sons with her. Then Moses went out to meet his father-in-law and he bowed down and kissed him.

This is probably the oriental fashion that is still practiced. Where they would bow down and touch their forehead to the sand and then they would kiss the hand of that when they are greeting and then stand and embrace them and give each cheek a kiss. They kissed each other and they asked each other verse 7 of their welfare. And then they went into the tent and I can just see those men standing out there in the wind whipping about their clothing as they stand in each other's arms saying, how's your family, how is the job, how is all that you are doing, tell me what's happened over these last few years. You remember Moses spent 40 years with this man tending his sheep. So evidently there was a tremendous trusting relationship that is reunited after many perhaps months, maybe even years of absences. Moses, verse 8, told his father-in-law, everything you tell your father or father-in-law if you've been away, all that the Lord had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel's sake. All the hardship that had befallen them on the journey and how the Lord had delivered them. And Jethro rejoiced over all the goodness which the Lord had done to Israel in delivering them from the hand of the Egyptians. What a wonderful thing that's taking place between Jethro and his son-in-law. It is that kind of communion that maybe you have experienced with a family member. Or perhaps you don't know the approval of a father or a mother.

Perhaps you are burdened about the disapproval that they constantly send your way about the kind of job that you have or the kind of lifestyle that you are living, the kind of relationship with Jesus Christ that they think doesn't make a lick of sense. Jethro rejoices. He doesn't say, Moses, you're exaggerating. And what are you doing out here in the wilderness anyhow?

Why don't you come back to Midian with me and take your job back? No, it was a tremendous encouraging thing for Jethro to take what Moses had said and rejoice with him. When we were in Dallas this past week or so, we had lunch with a young man who had come by Raleigh on several occasions to spend some time with my wife and I as he was contemplating seminary. And we encouraged him to attend our alma mater, Dallas Seminary, and he did.

And when we were there, we had lunch with him. And he shared with us all of the pain that he is going through because he has made a decision that his father cannot accept. In fact, he's lived a life that his father has never accepted.

His father, a man who says he is a believer but has no encouragement for his son who is living for Jesus Christ. And he shared with us the pain of disapproval and he made the statement, I can never live up to what my father wants me to become. And then he shared with us the encouragement that he had received which was virtually the only encouragement that he had received. I know many of you, I've talked to many of you who have that kind of situation where you lack encouragement.

And those of you that don't, those of you that have gained the approval and you have a loving family, it's easy for those of you to underestimate the impact of encouragement on those in your family. Jethro encouraged his son, rejoiced with him, but not only did he encourage him, I want you to notice his worship. Look at verse 10. Jethro said, Blessed be the Lord who delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of Pharaoh, and who delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians. Now I know that the Lord is greater than all the gods indeed.

It was proven when they dealt proudly against the people. Then Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, took a burnt offering and sacrifices for Yahweh. And Aaron came with all of the elders of Israel to eat a meal with Moses' father-in-law before God. What a tremendous picture, all that God's done for you. Thank God for the way he is taking care of you, for the way he is leading you.

Even though you're out here in the wilderness, it doesn't make sense. How will you provide for my daughter and my grandchildren? I don't understand, but it's obvious God's involved and I want to thank him on your behalf. What a tremendous example for every parent here as we see God working in the lives of our children. Now, he not only rejoices and worships, but he also has great courage.

I want you to notice carefully as we get to the heart of the message. Verse 13. It came about the next day, evidently Jethro was there for an extended stay, that Moses sat to judge the people. And the people stood about Moses from the morning until the evening.

Why do you alone, circle that word alone, it'll come up again later. Sit as judge and all the people stand about you from morning until evening. And Moses said to his father-in-law, because the people come to me to inquire of God. When they have a dispute, it comes to me and I judge between a man and his neighbor and make known the statutes of God and his laws.

I want to give you, in outline form, some things for you to jot. That is three problems that were very evident that Jethro not only had the insight to discover, but the courage to confront. He is confronting not just the son-in-law, he is also confronting the miracle worker, the man with the rod that does mighty things, that parts the sea, that brings the plagues. This is the man who is, in a sense, the voice of God and he will confront him. He had great courage, and in fact, one of the things that gives us evidence that Moses had great character, is that even though he was the miracle worker, he will listen. But the first of the three problems that's very evident is this. Obviously, Moses is overwhelmed.

You are doing this alone from morning till night. I want you to think of the lines of people that are stretching out from that tent where he judges. They stretch out into the sun, waiting to have Moses' ear because he is the one that settles disputes. And you have two and a half, perhaps three million people.

That's four or five times the size of Wake County. And all of the disputes that arise, one man is working 12, 16 hours a day. And you notice his answer is, because there are so many needs, besides, they're coming to me. Let me even step on the toes of all of those in here that are involved in spiritual ministry, who may teach, who may lead. It's so easy to have the thought that, well, there is a need.

And so how can I say no? Why, they're coming to me. I read a survey that startled me, and I'll even talk more specifically about myself. In fact, this sermon has clobbered me over the head all week long.

I can't wait to get rid of it here and go on to something else. They took a survey of pastors. 66% feel isolated and lonely. 80% experience feelings of futility. 90% suffer stress related to problems that they constantly must deal with. Here's the catch, though.

This shows you how dumb we all are. 95% are satisfied with their work. Imagine me coming into IBM and interviewing, you know.

I can use IBM because no one here works at IBM. And I pull up a chair, and I say, hey, I want to interview you. Tell me how you feel about this job you've had for six months. Well, I feel lonely and isolated. Well, do you feel like you're performing? No, actually, I feel I have great feelings of futility.

What about the team effort? Well, I'm always dealing with problems between people here. So I take it you're looking for another job. No, I love this job.

That would be ludicrous. But here's the catch. When you are involved in ministry, it's wrong to think anything other than, oh, yeah, I love this job. This is ministry. You know the question that I really want to ask Moses? If I were there, I would say, Moses, where are your two sons?

Where is your wife? You have so booked your life that those that are essential cannot invade. And it is so easy for those of you that lead, whether corporately or in some ministry related occupation, to get so booked and scheduled that your children make appointments. And it's never right, even though Moses could say, they're coming to me. They come to inquire of God. So Moses was obviously overwhelmed.

But I want you to notice, secondly, this is interesting. The people were being neglected. See, don't ever fool yourself that the job is being performed and people's needs are being met when you refuse to delegate. Note verse 17. And Moses, his father in law, said to him, hey, the thing that you're doing is not good. Can you imagine that?

Moses probably rocked back in his chair. I just told you this is my ministry. People are coming to me. I am inquiring of God. And it's not good.

Why is it not good? Verse 18. You're not going to believe this because you will wear out. The original says literally you will wrinkle up. Both yourself and these people who are around you.

In other words, you are literally wearing them out. They stand in line. They cannot have needs met. They are frustrated and irritated because you must alone do everything.

The people are being neglected. Interesting observation. You could almost hear the grumbling outside the tent where Moses judged. He is out of touch. He is unavailable. There were rumblings in the camp.

The third. And I think this is implied in the second use of the word alone. And that is the potential leaders were being overlooked. There are others who can help.

There are potential leaders in the wings, whether it is in ministry or in corporate life. Why is it that you do everything yourself? I believe there is the subtle thought. Given to us by Moses that no one else can do it. Or let's get a little bit more challenging. No one else can do it as.

Good. There were 30 to 50,000. Leaders in the camp that hadn't been discovered yet. Because as he divides the body, he will end up with maybe as many as 60,000 men capable and qualified. To share the load.

And I think this is an innocent thought that Moses says they come to me and I must inquire of God. But you know, it may be ambitious pride. You see, nobody can do what you do as good as you do it right. Delegate have someone else join. No, you know, I'm doing this.

You know what? There are people who can manage the store so you can take a lunch break. There are people who can handle that meeting.

There are people who can handle the accounts so you can take your children and wife on a vacation. That is much needed. You see, the advice is here, you are going to wrinkle up. You're going to wear out because you have to do everything.

So potential leaders were being overlooked. Finally, he comes down and he says, now listen to me. Verse 19. I like this father in law.

We need somebody in our lives like this. Son, listen to me. And I'm going to give you counsel. And God be with you.

I think it's implied. And God help you if you don't listen. You be the people's representative before God and you bring the disputes to God.

We can divide the council into two simple words. The first one is pray as the leader. Your responsibility, your priority is to pray.

You know what our thought is? Nothing will get accomplished. Pray. What about the details? What about all that has to be done?

What about those accounts? I pray. Yes, you pray. You be the representative before God that you need to be. You take that the needs of that Sunday school class to God. You take all of those ministry related needs to God priority. You pray. In fact, we could go to Acts Chapter six, which is a perfect illustration of what's happening here, where the apostles in this emerging church decided that they would select leaders.

Why? So that they could what? Pray. You be the people's representative before God and you bring the disputes to God.

That is, you pray. You know, every family here has a leader, whether it's a single mom, whether it's a father, and you represent leadership in that home. And you and I can be viewed a number of different ways. We can be viewed by our children as creative.

A good athlete, a person who listens, a mom who cares, a dad who who cares about me. But do they perceive in us people who have a relationship with Jesus Christ? They know we pray.

That's not all, he says. Secondly, I want you to do this. I want you to teach, then teach them the statutes and the laws. Make known to them the way in which they are to walk and the work that they are to do. This is a beautiful passage of scripture. Teach means to spread light. And there are two words here, statutes or it may be ordinances in your translation and laws.

A statute or an ordinance literally means to cut out or to engrave. This is the absolutes, the absolute truths. These are the doctrines.

These are the elements that are unchangeable. And you are to teach your people who are are really a fragmented group of slaves who are bound together in their pursuit of the promised land. But they have no decalogue. They have no standards.

They have no laws to govern them. You teach them what's absolute. You give them truth.

Those never change. And by the way, the further down the pike we get in our community, ladies and gentlemen, those of you who are involved in teaching, the less our community wants to hear of the absolutes, the unchangeable doctrines that which is right and will always be right and that which is wrong and will always be wrong. But not only the ordinances, but the laws. The word is Torah, from which we get our word, obviously law.

But this means to lean or to guide. These are the applications of the absolutes. The absolutes tell people what to believe. The laws tell people how to behave. The doctrines are how to think.

The applications are how to live. He is telling Moses what every pastor, teacher, Sunday school teacher, those that lead Bible studies, this is the job description. Give people the absolutes. Teach them those things that never change. But don't stop there. Apply. Show them how to live from the absolutes that are taught.

Now, applications are funny things because you and I at any given time may not want to take them. I read a funny little paragraph last week, a woman who shook hands with her pastor at the back, and she said, that was a wonderful sermon. Just marvelous sermon. Everything you said this morning applies to someone I know. Moses was to teach in such a way that everybody caught it.

Everybody knew how to behave as a result of how they believed. So pray and teach. Let me give you one of the more beautiful factor of this.

Then we'll go on. The word teach in the Old Testament comes from the same word that is the calendar month name of April and May. It actually means to blossom. One of the most beautiful things when you teach the Bible, when you show to people that this is a living book, you are blossoming their lives. They then live in a way that by understanding the word, whether the spirit of God teaches you in your own personal study or you learn it from sitting under a teacher, as you learn that the Bible is alive, that there are laws and ways to to think and live. What happens to our lives?

Like the months of April and May, the zip of the Hebrew calendar, we will blossom. One of the tragedies of our contemporary culture is that people are not convinced that I lay the burden right at the feet of every pastor teacher who has ever stood and preached. And I heavily consider this burden myself, is that the people of our American society do not believe that this book has anything to do with life in the 20th century. Let me read you some statistics from a survey that just came out.

This was done by the Barna Research Group that discovered of the 600 people, they covered a wide range of culture. One out of four people read their Bible more than once a week. Half do not read it at all. These are Christians. The president of this research group tried to summarize why.

And he said this. People aren't reading the Bible because they think it is irrelevant to everyday life. Many people, even those who read the Bible, do not see the scriptures as containing instruction and answers that deal with the everyday problems they face.

Catch this. They think of the Bible as they would a cookbook. That is a wonderful thing for putting together 30 person dinner parties. But it doesn't have any recipes in it for tonight's dinner for the family.

It's great for special occasions, but not for everyday situations. The burden of proof on those of you that have the responsibility of teaching and those of you that know Christ is to understand that this book is alive and powerful and sharper than any two edged sword. And as Paul exhorted his young son, he said this book is profitable for every event and activity of life.

It's alive. And Moses was being instructed by godly counsel to make that which was revelation from God yet to be put in written form come alive to the people so they would know what to believe and how to live. Now, the second part of his counsel was not just related to Moses's own personal job, that which was essential, but how to delegate and organize.

And this is great. We could spend a series alone on the principles related to this organization. But note here what he says in verse twenty one. Furthermore, you shall select out of all the people able men. And here are the qualifications. First of all, they fear God.

That's primary. It's not that they have experience in leading people spiritually. It's not that they know all of the programs. It's not that they have they have been trained in how to lead. It is that these men know God. They did that in acts as well as they began to select men who would lead that emerging body. What was the qualification?

Experience, expertise? No, these are men full of the Holy Spirit. Men who know God. He said not only that they know or fear God, but that they also love truth, men of truth. And I would translate this integrity men with integrity who will say no to that which is wrong and yes to that which is right. I heard a fascinating thing last week. One man say that every believer every day is given two tests. I love this. He is given a test of integrity and a test of obedience.

And what are the results by way of application? The results are found right in our text. The first is the leader is able to endure verse 22. Let them judge the people at all times. Let it be that every major dispute they will bring to you, but every minor dispute they themselves will judge. So it will be easier for you and they will bear the burden with you. And if you do this thing and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure burnout.

No, not part of the picture here. You will last in that which God wants all of you to do. And I think implied here is that new leaders will be able to develop. Obviously, he will then bring on his staff.

He will bring on his helping team, perhaps as many as 60,000 men. The third thing is that the people are able to have their needs met. Note the last part of verse 23.

And all these people also will go to their place in peace. So Moses listened to his father in law. There's a great ingredient of character. And he did all that he said. And Moses chose able men out of all Israel and made them heads over the people, leaders of thousands of hundreds of fifties and of tens. And they judged the people of all at all times. The difficult disputes they would bring to Moses. He sort of formed the Supreme Court. But every minor dispute, they themselves would judge.

Then Moses bade his father-in-law farewell and he went into his own land. Ladies and gentlemen, maybe God has brought someone into your life to reevaluate the use of your energy, to check the calendar, to see if you are involved in essential things and not just a host of additional things. And what's essential? The priority given to these future leaders would be that they know God, that they are spending time with God, that they are in the Word learning truth. If we are too busy for that, then we are too busy. Where do you put your family? Perhaps the one that God has brought into your life is a son with a fishing pole in his hand and saying, hey, Dad, when, when, when? Or a wife who says, hey, can I make an appointment to see you? Perhaps there are wives here who have never gotten involved in the lives of their husband's work and they, in a sense, labor alone. Perhaps there are husbands who are not involved in the labors of a mom who struggles all day with the kids and there is a woman's work and there is a man's work.

Your wife does it all alone then. Perhaps your children never gained the aid and the help from a parent. Perhaps there are people in this ministry who feel that needs are going unmet. Whatever it may be, we are challenged to re-evaluate what we do.

Perhaps God has brought someone like Jethro into your life. Undoubtedly, it's time to listen. There may be areas of your life where you need to enlist the help and support of others. There might be people in your life who need you to support them. That's part of what it means to be in the family of God. We support, help, and encourage each other. I hope that today's message from God's Word has helped and encouraged you. This is Wisdom for the Heart and this message is from our Vintage Wisdom series from Exodus. From time to time, we go back in the archives and bring you sermons that Stephen preached many years back. Stephen first preached this message back in 1989. You can learn more about the Ministry of Wisdom International if you visit our website, which is Go there to be challenged and encouraged by the truth of God's Word. We're glad you are with us today. Please be sure and join us next time as we bring you more wisdom for the heart. Thank you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-23 09:25:40 / 2023-03-23 09:36:21 / 11

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