Yesterday, during our staff meeting, we studied Exodus 17. I have written on this passage already and you can read it here. In this article, I want to focus on the leadership that Moses shows while dealing with God’s people.
I. Moses depends on God
The chapter begins with Moses leading the people through the wilderness. Now, Moses is the visible leader yet the actual leader is God. The Lord is the One who rescued the people from slavery in Egypt. He called and equipped Moses. Even though Moses was the visible leader, God was calling the shots. The people saw the power of God. They saw Moses’ dependence upon God, moment by moment, day by day. After crossing the sea and traveling into the wilderness, the Lord was still commanding Moses and telling him where to go and take the people. Moses did not change his leadership style once the immediate threat was disposed. He continued to depend on God. God used Moses to reveal the hearts of the people when they no longer had water to drink. This was not a mistake by Moses in his leadership. This was all part of God’s plan. Let’s see what God wanted to expose. But, before we get into that, I have a couple of questions for you, dear leader. As a follower of Christ, you are to make disciples which will automatically thrust you into the role of leadership. Do you depend upon the Lord and follow His commands as you lead others? Do you hear from the Lord on a daily basis the way that Moses did? You can when you open up God’s Word and study what He has preserved for us. Do you depend on the Lord during both the bad times as well as the good times? It’s easy during the bad times but what about during the good times? If God were to lead you to a difficult circumstance, would you still run to Him for help, or, would you get upset and question what He was doing?
II. Moses deals with ungrateful people
God knows our hearts and He wants to reveal who we really are to ourselves. We see ourselves as being much better than we really are. The Israelites were no different. Once the water dried up, God reveals to Moses that the people are not really being led by Him, instead, they are being led by their desires. The children of Israel began to reminisce about the past with rose colored glasses. They forgot about how they were crying out to God for relief and began to speak of how much better it was in the land of slavery. They were very ungrateful for what the Lord had done and they were not appreciative of Moses’ tireless sacrifice for them. They were rebels at heart and God was exposing that. We are no different today. They could not lash out at God so they did the next best thing, they rebelled against the spiritual leader whom God had placed over them. They began to grumble and complain and that quickly escalated into quarreling with Moses. They were so angry that they were ready to stone Moses to death. At first, Moses confronts them and points out that the root of their issues was not with him, but, with God. They were manifesting that issue in quarreling with Moses and each other. The same happens today with people who call themselves followers of Christ. When tough times comes, the mask of hypocrisy is melted away. People would never openly rebel against God but, they demonstrate their problem with God in the form of insubordination to the spiritual leaders whom God has placed over them. The people of Israel began to make false accusations against Moses. It gets so bad that they are ready to revolt and kill Moses. He does the only thing he can, he runs to the Lord. The is Moses’ best decision yet.
God gives Moses some great advice and a plan. The advice is to form a team to help you. The next thing is a strange sounding plan that Moses has to choose to believe or not. The good thing about Moses is that he is very quick to believe/trust God and do exactly what God says. This is a great quality for a godly leader. He does not try to fix everything on his own. He runs to God for advice and works together with others as part of a team. God is not looking for lone rangers to do His will. He wants to work with us and have us work with each other as a team.
III. Moses obeys God
As the paragraph title explains, Moses obeyed God. He carried out God’s plan exactly and was successful in leading the people back to the Lord. An outside enemy attacks and Moses takes action. He works with a team again and trusts in the Lord for victory. Once victory is attained, the Lord has Moses write down all that happened as a teaching memorial for all the people. The first thing that Moses does is teach this to his disciple, Joshua. As a leader, are you too busy with “leadership” activities to make disciples? Many leaders get caught up in this trap. Moses did not. After being taught to Joshua God’s message is taught to the people whom Moses led. Finally, this message has been preserved for us some 3,500 years later. Are these leadership qualities a part of your daily life? Do you constantly depend on the Lord? How do you respond when there is conflict? Do you take people to the root of their problem? Do you confront the people in love with all humility? Do you seek God’s advice for specific situations? Are you totally obedient to the Lord’s plan, even if it seems strange? As a leader, do you seek to build a team to share the burden? Are you investing in the members of that team, discipling them in God’s Word and God’s ways? What are you passing on to future generations? May the Lord help us lead the way that Moses did all those years ago!