Moses is a key individual in the history of the nation of Israel and it is through Him God establishes the Laws of the Nation, performs miracles, a structure for worship and deliver’s his people from slavery.
A Little Background
Moses: The Leader
Moses was called by God.
This is probably one of the most important qualities of any spiritual leader PERIOD. Read Exodus 3:4, 10. As Moses was in the desert serving his father-in-law he came upon a burning bush and heard the voice of God calling him. The voice of God called him by name and gave him specific details as to what He had in store for Moses. God tells Moses He is going to use him to deliver the Israelites out the hands of the Egyptians. Calling is essential to the work of God.
I run into people constantly who have no concept of calling and leadership. Believe it or not leadership (especially in the body of Christ) is a calling and is not necessarily something that is learned. Certainly people can go to school, college, seminaries etc. and learn how to be a leader of the church but if God has not called this individual to this role they will never be effective for the Kingdom of God. There are people who are able to attract a lot of people, build large church buildings, and convince people to support them in various ways but God will not put his hand of blessing (spiritually speaking) upon an individual who is not called. As humans we have the tendency to associate success with human accomplishments, charisma as a leader and the likeability (or attractiveness) of an individual. When we read this passage no where does God refer to Moses’ human qualities, confidence or character as a way to accomplish his will. As God speaks to Moses you can see God uses the word “I” a lot. God is the one who accomplishes success and as leaders we would do well to understand and believe this.
People have asked me, “How do you know that you are called to the ministry?” It is a question I cannot honestly answer other than saying, “I just know I am.” I certainly did not have a physical burning bush experience in my life but I do know that God has been with me every step of the way. This leads me to the second quality.
Moses was Dependent on God.
When you are called by God you also acknowledge that you cannot lead on your own. In fact when you are called you respond much like Moses does in Exodus 4:10 – 12 (Read). When I received my calling my initial response was, “Um, God… Are you sure you have the right man here? I mean look at me, I am overweight, I am not a dynamic speaker, I don’t fit any mold for a Pastor and besides I was never a leader, I was always a follower in my younger days. Maybe you were talking to someone next to me and I overheard the conversation.” It took time for me to come to the understanding that God wasn’t calling me because of the things I thought I needed to be, He was calling me in spite of me. A called leader knows that success comes when we are completely dependent on God. Ultimately I have no control over the success of my ministry. My job is to be available when God calls and completely dependent on him when he does. Read Exodus 33:12 -16. Moses basically says, “I will go wherever you call me to go, however I will not go unless you go before me.” A true leader knows he cannot accomplish anything for God unless God goes before him.
Moses prayed for his people.
A leader must always pray for his flock. There were times when Moses was praying that God would shut the complainers mouths and I am sure there were times when he prayed God would get a little tough with them, but I also know he interceded for his people as well. Read Exodus 32:11 -14 and Deut. 9:25 – 29. Little did the people of Israel know that Moses was interceding for them. There are a number of times where God says to Moses, “I’ve had it with this rebellious nation! I’m going to kill them all and start all over.” Yet Moses as the leader intercedes for them and because of this the Bible tells us that God relented.
Moses was in continual fellowship with God.
Since Moses was a man of prayer we also know he spent time with God. He was on a mountain with him and was shown the tail end of God’s glory (the most any man or woman in the Bible ever saw of God). The end result was Moses’ face shined the Shekinah glory for days after being in the presence of God. Exodus 33:7 – 11 tells us Moses would leave the camp of Israel and make a tent and fellowship with God. They respected this and they knew the presence of God was with him. I love that verse 11 says, “The Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to a friend.”
Time with God is a very important time of a leader’s position. This is why it is important for leaders to take time away and just be with God. We sometimes need to leave the camp (or our offices) and go spend time with the Lord. I love to do this and I plan to do it more in the months to come. It is during this time with God that He speaks to us as a man speaks to a friend.
Moses was not perfect.
Moses was a flawed individual. He was not perfect, he misrepresented God at times, made bad decisions, and generally ticked off the masses but this did not disqualify him as a leader. In fact this made him a better leader to the people because in his flaws and quirks the people could see that it wasn’t Moses who was to be glorified, it was God who needs to be glorified. Read Numbers 20:10 – 13. This is a sad day in the life of Moses. He misrepresented God to the people. It was a mistake that Moses would live to regret. However God continued to use Moses even after this fatal flaw.
As a leader I am aware that I am far from perfect. I know my limitations and I know there are times I have missed out on a blessing because of my stubbornness or my stupidity. I do know that God has not abandoned me in my sin. I know God still chooses to work through me (even when I can’t understand why). God displays his mercy to us so that we may display mercy to others. I for one am glad that God uses imperfect people to accomplish his perfect plan.
The story of Moses’ life is one of the most fascinating stories in the Bible. It gives me encouragement to know that God is not out actively seeking for men and women who “have it together” to accomplish his will. I look at the successes and failures of Moses during his lifespan and I see the hand of God in all aspects of this mans life. As individuals and as a congregation we can also be encouraged that God’s hand is upon us to accomplish his will here is Spring Valley. God has done some amazing things in the history of the nation of Israel (I would encourage you to read through these stories in the outline) and I believe He can and does still have amazing things in store for his Church as well; what they may be, I don’t know, we can only pray, wait and see.
Jeff has been in full-time ministry for thirty years. He currently serves as Executive Director at Anchor House Ministry at SeaPort Manatee in Palmetto, FL and he is a part-time Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Southside in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored A Lent Devotional (A Spiritual Journey to Lent) an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). All three are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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