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The Tie that Binds

The Tie that Binds

Exodus 18:10-12

Jethro said, “Blessed be the LORD, who has delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians and out of the hand of Pharaoh. … Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods, because in this affair they dealt arrogantly with the people.” And Jethro … brought a burnt offering and sacrifices to God; and Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat bread with Moses’ father-in-law before God.

As Jethro sits down among his new brethren to break bread with them for the first time, to partake in the manna of God’s everlasting favor, it strikes me that he isn’t here because he’s a man of the cloth or because he’s the highest ranking member in Midian or even because he’s now a blood-relative of God’s chosen miracle-man. He’s here, breaking the symbolical bread of Christ’s covenant, because he’s confessed with his mouth and believed in his heart that Jehovah is the true and living God.

I love how Moses continues to describe Jethro as his ‘father-in-law’ in almost every instance, as if he’s enamored by his ties to the old country priest, but there’s a deeper family tie than that now. Moses can call Jethro father-in-law all he likes, but that’s not who Jethro really is to him anymore. That’s not the substance of their relationship going forward. Jethro is now a Hebrew of Hebrews—a son of circumcision—a chosen child of Abraham—a fellow pilgrim—a son of God—an heir or righteousness—a brother, which I think is a bit more important than ‘father-in-law’!

Friend, scenes like these give me a yearning for that day when every saint from all time gathers together with glorified perspectives, feasting together at the banquet table of our King, laughing and singing and rejoicing as one, not divided by age or social standing or race, not distinguished by what makes us different but by what we share eternally in common. Yet here’s the truly astonishing thing that I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around: that Christ sits at the head of that table, scanning all our faces with a smile, breaking bread with us the way He broke bread with His twelve disciples, and calls us—of all people—brothers!