Monday, June 13, 2011
Leadership Lessons from Moses (Part 3)
The first lesson for us in this study of Moses' life has been that we must be acutely aware of not only doing God’s will, but doing God’s will in His timing, not ours. As we can see with countless other biblical examples, when we attempt to do God’s will in our timing, we usually make a bigger mess than originally existed.
Moses needed time to grow and mature and learn to be a little more meek and humble before God. This brings us to the second 40 year span in the life of Moses; his 40 years in the land of Midian. No longer a prince of the realm, during this period of time, Moses learns the simple life of a shepherd, a husband, and a father. God took an impulsive and hot-tempered young man and began the process of molding and shaping him into the perfect instrument for His use.
What can we learn from this part of his life? If the first lesson is to wait on God’s timing, then Lesson #2 is to not be idle while we wait on God’s timing. While the Bible doesn’t spend a lot of time on the details of this part of Moses’ life, we do not think that Moses was sitting lazily waiting for God’s call. He spent most of these 40 years learning the fine points of being a shepherd and supporting and raising a family. These are not trivial things!
I find it interesting that God would make him a shepherd and he would have to learn firsthand how to get sheep to do what they are supposed to. Sheep are not the sharpest tools in the animal cracker box…And what does that say about Christ and the leader of the church being shepherds? Why do you think we are called sheep? Hmmm...
But back to becoming leadership material. While we may long to have a ‘mountain top’ experience with God, the bulk of our lives are lived in the valley doing the mundane, day-to-day tasks that make up a life. We need to live our lives for God while we are ‘in the valley’ before He can possibly enlist us into the battle.
It is hard to make a good and compassionate leader out of someone who has never been led, or one who refuses to submit to any authority!
There is something else we learn about Moses and the time spent in Midian. When God finally did call him into service, Moses was resistant. The man of action in his youth, now 80 years old, had become overly timid. When called to speak for God, Moses said he was “slow of speech and tongue.” Some commentators believe that Moses may have had a speech impediment, like stuttering. Perhaps Moses just didn’t want to go back into Egypt and fall flat on his face again. This is not an uncommon feeling.
How many of us have tried to do something (whether or not it was for God) and failed, and then been hesitant to try again; reluctant to get back on that horse?
There is however, something that Moses seems to have overlooked now that he is being called into service. That God would be with him. Moses failed at first not only because he acted impulsively, but because he acted without God.
So, Lesson #3 is that when we discern a clear call from God, we should step forward in faith, knowing that God goes with us! Do not be timid, but be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might (Ephesians 6:10-3)
The third and final segment of Moses’ life is the portion that the Scriptures spend the most time recording, namely his role in the redemption of Israel. What additional lessons lie in these pages for us?
The first of these lessons is how to be an effective leader of people. Moses in actual fact had responsibility over 2 million Hebrew refugees. When things began to wear on him, his father-in-law, Jethro, suggested that he delegate responsibility to other faithful men. This is a lesson (#4) that many people in authority over others need to learn.
In Moses, we also see a man who was absolutely dependent on the grace of God to help with his task. Moses was repeatedly pleading on behalf of the people before God. Wouldn’t it be great if all people in authority would petition God on behalf of those over who they are in charge! (Lesson #5)
Moses’ life also teaches us the lesson that there are certain sins that will continue to haunt us all throughout our lives (Lesson #6). That same hot temper that got Moses into trouble in Egypt also got him into trouble during the wilderness wanderings. I mentioned Meribah earlier in the discussion. At Meribah, Moses struck a rock in anger in order to provide water for the people. However, he neglected to give God the glory, and he had not followed God’s precise commands. This is why God forbade him from entering the Promised Land. In like manner, we all give in to certain besetting sins which plague us all our days. These sins require us to be on full and constant alert.