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I Heard It Through the Desert Grapevine

Heard it Through the Grapevine by Flickr User Sonny Lazzeri, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, No Derivative Works

Heard it Through the Grapevine by Flickr User Sonny Lazzeri, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, No Derivative Works
Click image to open new tab/window to view original and to access user’s photo stream at Flickr.

Word spreads fast these days with all the different ways we can communicate at the speed of fiber-optic light. But what about the “old” days? I mean, I thought we were pretty clever when we were kids and could talk through cups or cans with strings attached. (Or at least we thought we could.) When hubby and I watch one of our favorite older shows, The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, I’m always amazed at how fast the bad guys hear about the payroll coming through on a Wells Fargo stage or rolling in on a train car. I was enthralled by the episode where they tracked a coming tornado/cyclone just by using telegraph.

But in today’s reading from Exodus 18:1 through Exodus 18:12, I don’t know how word spread as well as it did. Somehow, though, the word of what happened with Pharaoh and his armies spread across the desert to Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian. There was plenty of wine, so I’m sure there were grapevines, but I don’t think that’s how the word was carried. 😉 Still, the word spreading to Jethro is important enough that our full portion for the week, Parashah 17, is titled Yitro and is Hebrew for “Jethro.”

So Jethro hears about how God has delivered Israel and all He has done through Moses since Moses sent his wife, Zipporah, and his two sons back home to Jethro. He brings the family to see Moses in the desert where he was camped at the mountain of God. He had already sent word to Moses saying, “I, Jethro, am coming to see you with your wife and two sons.”

Moses goes out to meet Jethro and prostrates himself before him then kisses him. After checking on each other’s welfare, they enter the tent, and Moses tells his father-in-law everything God has done for him and for Israel in delivering them from Pharaoh and from slavery in Egypt. In verses 10-11, Jethro says, “Blessed be Adonai, who has rescued you from the Egyptians and from Pharaoh, who has rescued the people from the harsh hand of the Egyptians. Now I know that Adonai is greater than all other gods, because he rescued those who were treated so arrogantly.” And then Jethro brings a burnt offering and sacrifices to God, and Aaron comes with the leaders of Israel to share the meal with Moses and Jethro.

I’m not absolutely certain what type of priest Jethro was since he said the “now I know” part. I’m thinking that if he was already a priest of Yahveh, he already would have known that Yahveh is greater than all other gods. Never-the-less, God has always been big on wanting His good news to be spread, and I rejoice that Jethro learned and declared the truth. I believe God wants His truth carried to others by any means possible; cups, cans, telegraph, telephone, and–mostly–“tell a friend.” That’s where you and I come in with our testimonies. God’s Word says in Acts 6:7 (NLT), “So God’s message continued to spread. The number of believers greatly increased in Jerusalem, and many of the Jewish priests were converted, too.”

Now, I’d love to see some comments telling me what kind of grapevine you heard the good news through. Also feel free to share your favorite way to minister God’s word to others. I’ll share mine in comments as well.

January 18, 2014 - Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. A piece of my own testimony: I’m sure some seeds were planted in childhood Sunday School classes, but by the time I was a teenager, I had experienced enough heartache, that I was unsure God cared for me personally. When I joined Alateen (a group for teens with alcoholic parents), I learned the 3rd of AA’s “12 Steps” which said, in part, “God–as we understood Him.” I prayed & told God that I did not understand Him, and that if He truly loved me, He would not have forced His Son to die, but He would have done it for me Himself.” It’s a long story to explain, but I could not see a father who would give up his son as being sacrificial. Instead, it felt like child abuse to me.

    Many years later, I was working as a telemarketer when a Christian woman took the opportunity to minister to me over the phone. She promised that she would buy my product if I would attend just one church service. It was at that service I heard the reading from John 10:30, “I and my Father are One.” Suddenly, it was like bells and whistles going off as I realized how much God really did love me. After service, I would have gotten saved, but the pastor said I was misinterpreting the verse, so I didn’t. Still, I’d heard in my heart from God Himself, so I tucked it away and waited to see if anyone else believed that God robed Himself in flesh and laid down His own life for those He loved. I also experienced one or two of the most wayward years of my life.

    During that wayward time, I was in an “alternate state of mind” when the subject of Jesus came up. I said what I believed and was challenged to prove it in Scripture. My first dilemma was where to find a Bible in a house of drug addicts. I walked out to the living room I had been in many times before (and had even vacuumed before), and there in front of me were two gold Gideon Bibles leaning between the bottom of a bookshelf and the floor. It was as if someone had pulled from the top and leaned them out to be seen. (There was no one else in the house, so I now believe an angel had come to visit.) But, if you know Gideon Bibles, you also know there is no concordance or index to search for a Scripture.

    I sat down and told God that He was probably not listening to me because of my present condition but that, if He was, would He please help me to open the Bible to that Scripture and put my finger on it. I opened the Bible to (you guessed it) the tenth chapter of John, but when I began to read, I saw something about them picking up rocks to stone Jesus. That was verse 31. Just as I was saying to myself that I didn’t think God was listening, I distinctly heard, “Move your finger up.” I did, and there was the verse. God had helped me to literally put my finger on the verse.

    While I still didn’t turn my life around right then, the seed that was planted because a woman took the opportunity to minister to a stranger on the phone had been given a chance to root itself in a miraculous way. I’m sad that the pastor was so wrapped up in doctrine that he couldn’t minister to me in my place of need, but I wouldn’t trade it for all I experienced as God walked me closer and closer to Him. I am thankful now to be any part of what He does to touch the lives of those He has created as He invites them to call Him, Abba Father because I am thankful for what that woman, and any other teacher in my life, did for their parts.


    Comment by Crystal A. Murray | January 18, 2014 | Reply

  2. Crystal, sounds like God knew you were ready to know the truth. He saw your heart, that you were just ripe for believing the truth. God is so good to have caused you to find Him the way He did. The first scripture that came to life for me was, “Greater love hath no man than this, than a to lay his life down for his friend.” I was so alone and my soul ached for a real friend who could understand me and accept me, warts and all. God let me see that scripture before I even knew what being born-again meant. It was one of those things that just stayed inside of me and it wasn’t until I called out to Jesus that I knew what it meant. Jesus was my friend! God is so awesome the way He moves.


    Comment by redeemedhippiesplace | January 19, 2014 | Reply

    • Amen, Brenda. God is so good. He truly knows our hearts. Now, if we could just strive to know His heart even better. 🙂


      Comment by Crystal A. Murray | January 19, 2014 | Reply

  3. My favorite grapevine testimony? How I found out about the Lord? At my Mother’s knee, of course. Cradle Catholic. Because I lived almost 3 months premature, my mother dedicated me and my little brother to the Lord. Which is evidenced through gifts of the Holy Spirit throughout our lives. Every time we tell a miraculous intervention, it becomes a grapevine story for God’s glory and our benefit.


    Comment by debbie peyron | January 27, 2014 | Reply

    • I like that, Debbie…multiple grapevine stories for God’s glory. And to think He knew and planned not only our survival but that we would meet one day and be able to encourage each other by sharing His amazing works with each other. He blesses us even as we bless Him.


      Comment by Crystal A. Murray | January 27, 2014 | Reply

  4. I seem to remember part of this testimony,But it’s the first time I recall reading about how you found the Gideon the Bible.Those Gideon Bibles are a blessing. What a great story.


    Comment by Candiece | January 27, 2014 | Reply

    • Yes, and isn’t it amazing that I still have that Bible? I used it as my regular Bible for years. I’m thrilled to get a front row seat on watching God’s Hand with mankind.


      Comment by Crystal A. Murray | January 27, 2014 | Reply

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