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Monday, August 8, 2011

Delegation (6), conclusion - Exodus (6)

As we complete this discussion about delegating, let's skip ahead to a later time when Moses is struggling again under the burden of leadership. He has delegated the judicial functions of his office, but not the day-to-day execution of decision-making. He is burned out. He hears the people crying for food and just can't handle it any more. He says to the Lord:

"I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. If this is how you are going to treat me, put me to death right now -- if I have found favor in your eyes -- and do not let me face my own ruin." (Numbers 11:14-15)

Instead of rebuking him for his petulance, God understands him and lets it pass. He instructs Moses:

"Gather for me seventy of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them; bring them to the tent of meeting, and have them take their place there with you. I will come down and talk with you there; and I will take some of the spirit that is on you and put it on them; and they shall bear the burden of the people along with you so that you will not bear it all by yourself." (Numbers 11:16-17)

Moses' job is to gather accredited leaders from the various tribes,  people who are recognized leaders. He is to and gather them together at the tabernacle. God does the rest.

"Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders; and when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did not do so again." (Numbers 11:25)

God puts his Holy Spirit on the elders to equip them to share Moses' ministry. But observe that their experience of prophecy (a sign of the coming of the Spirit) was not continuous, but only an initial experience. Moses own experience of God as the nation's prophet (Deuteronomy 34:10) was continuous.

The Biblical leadership lesson is that we can't do the work of God adequately by just competency and recognition as leaders. We must possess the Spirit of God!

We can learn a lot from studying secular leadership. But there's a limit. Our leadership should combine our human wisdom to make decision with listening to what the Holy Spirit says. Our leadership relies on God's direction and His power to accomplish the task. Never forget that!

Leadership is never easy -- and sometimes not much fun at all! The leader must take upon himself:

the loneliness of office

the criticisms of the people

the responsibility to remain steady during the battle

the care of the people, and the

task of training and

delegating authority to leaders under him.

This is why the author of Hebrews says:

"Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you." (Hebrews 13:17)


Heavenly Father, we come to you with the heavy task of leading your people. We pray for our leaders. Give them wisdom, faith, stamina, and courage. When they are weak, strengthen them. When they are discouraged, bless them with renewed vision and faith. In Jesus' name, we pray.


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