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23 January. Exodus chapters 16-18
Today’s readings covers several important passages including the provision of manna in the desert. This can be viewed as miraculous, or possibly explained away (at various times some sort of lichen, or edible insect secretion have been suggested, neither of which sounds very convincing). But whatever it was, it helped with the diet for a generation, and left a lasting impression that finds echoes in Jesus as the “bread of life” and so on.
Chapter 18 has a more general application: Moses, finds himself in great demand, and does not of his own initiative think of delegating his work. It takes an old man – his father-in-law – to persuade him to set up a system of delegated governance and retain just the function of a high court judge for difficult decisions. Too many leaders, especially those whose charisma brings them many close followers, still fall into this trap. God’s gifts are given to many people, and while not all can be leaders of thousands, others can exercise skills as leaders of smaller groups and make decisions on simpler matters.