Over the past couple of weeks, at Southern Calvert Baptist Church, we have been studying through the life of Moses, learning about the Calling that the Lord has for all people.
- Answering God’s Great Calling
- Pharaoh’s Response to God’s Great Calling
- God’s Calling and Impacting Relationships
This coming Sunday, our Sunday School classes are going to cover Exodus 16:1-20. This is a great chapter because it reveals the heart of sinful man and the need for strong Biblical leaders.
I. Leadership begins with God
God wanted to lead His people out of slavery in the land of Egypt and into the Promised Land. God’s character is that He is All Sufficient and Self-Existent. This means that He has life in Himself and has no need of any outside source of continuity or satisfaction. God can do anything that He wants. He could have led the people of Egypt out of slavery on His own, yet, He chose to work through a leader, Moses. This is how God chooses to work. He leads people through His chosen leadership. Moses had a personal relationship with God and Moses’ leadership position was bestowed upon him by God. The Lord gives His authority to leaders and sends them out to lead in His authority. God continues to lead the leader as the leader now leads the people. This is God’s pattern all throughout human history. God is aware of how the people respond to His chosen leader. He intervenes on behalf of His leader when there is a need. As the leader interacts with the people, God tests the people to see how they will respond to His leadership through the local leader of His choosing. When His leaders are opposed, it is the same as opposing Him. The neat thing about God is the fact that He is specific when it comes to His commands. God explains things clearly to Moses and then Moses takes the information and relays it clearly to the people. Moses is without excuse. The people are without excuse.
II. Leaders have a relationship with God
The number 1 criterion for qualification as a leader established by God is to have a personal relationship with God. Moses has a personal relationship with God and he communicates with God regularly. As Moses is led by God, he leads the people. Moses exhausts himself in leading the people. He was insistent with Pharaoh. Moses was continually rejected by Pharaoh and hated by the people whom he served. He placed his life on the line every single time he opposed Pharaoh. The people witnessed all of the miracles of the plagues. They had all of the proof that they needed to trust God yet, not one month after they had escaped Egypt, they turned on Moses. They did not appreciate him and all of his hard work. They began to grumble against him. This is a tough place to be in for a leader. This man has poured out his life for these people. They respond with ungrateful remarks. He is attacked simply because he is following God’s leadership. A leader in this position needs to be encouraged. God knows that Moses needs encouragement so He intervenes and encourages him in verse 4. God reveals His plan to Moses, letting him know that the people are not opposing him. Their opposition of him was a manifestation of their opposition of God. Moses takes what he learns from his meeting with God and delivers it to the people exactly as he received it. This is the job of a godly leader. He is to meet with God, receive the Word of God as is and then deliver the Word of God to the people, as is. Because of this, some will oppose him but, that opposition is the manifestation of a deeper problem, their opposition to God. Moses cares for the people whom God has entrusted to him. He cares so much for them that he is willing to confront them in their sin, for their own good. He tells them what God revealed to him. Their opposition to Moses’ leadership is opposition to God. This is a tough job but it is important for leaders. A Biblical leader has to confront sin. He does it in a loving way, even if the people do not want it or like it. He does it so that they can examine their relationship with God and make the appropriate changes. The people did not learn from the first confrontation. That does not stop Moses from confronting them again in verse 20.
III. Sinful people need Biblical leaders
When we see Israel, it is easy for us to point a finger at them and ask, “what is wrong with them?”. Just remember, when you point a finger at someone else, you have 3 fingers pointing back at you. We are just as sinful and just as ungrateful as the people of Israel. As a pastor, I cannot begin to tell you how many “good, church going” people will claim to be following God yet, at the same time, oppose God’s leaders in the local church. They claim that they have a personal relationship with God and do not need spiritual leaders. That same God, whom they claim to follow, is the One who has chosen to lead His people through flesh and blood leaders within the local church. It is hard to claim to follow God when you do not have a spiritual leader giving you guidance and accountability. The people of Israel are ungrateful because that is the character of every person who is born with a sin nature. That includes everyone, you and I included. How do we show our lack of gratitude? We do it by grumbling about spiritual leaders whom God has placed over us in the local church. You may be one who says, “I would never doubt God” yet, you are the same one who grumbles about the direction that the leadership of the church is going. I can already hear the objection, “what if the leader is not following God?”. I am sure that was on the lips of the people of Israel. If the leadership is not contradicting the Word of God, then be careful. It could be that your personal traditions are getting confused with the Word of God. In fact, the people of Israel looked at the “good ole days” through rose colored glasses. This is the way that we are wired. We remember the positive and down play the negative. The people of Israel were beginning to remember the food in Egypt and forgetting the fact that they were enslaved and treated miserably. Because of this, they began to grumble against God by grumbling against His chosen leaders. These sinful people of Israel, just us, the sinful people of the present day, need a spiritual leader to confront our sin so that we can change. The people of Israel were ungrateful and that was confronted. They disobeyed God and needed to be confronted. We need this today. This is why God charges His chosen spiritual leaders to . . .
2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. (II Timothy 4)
We need to be shown where we are wrong and then encouraged to get back right. The one who does this must do it with great patience. Do you have someone in your life who loves you enough to confront your sins, for your own good?