Monday, January 26, 2009

A Leader Like Moses?

6He said also, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob " Then Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

7The LORD said, "I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have given heed to their cry because of their taskmasters, for I am aware of their sufferings.

8"So I have come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite.

9"Now, behold, the cry of the sons of Israel has come to Me; furthermore, I have seen the oppression with which the Egyptians are oppressing them.

10"Therefore, come now, and I will send you to Pharaoh, so that you may bring My people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt."

11But Moses said to God, "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?"

12And He said, "Certainly I will be with you, and this shall be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God at this mountain." - Exodus 3:6-12


God calls, then sends, then equips. He has a vision and a plan, you are just obliged to follow.

Moses was minding his own business when God got his attention with the burning bush. Moses was not looking for a mission. He didn't feel like changing his current situation (although he was unhappy enough to name his son Traveler-in-a-Foreign-Land--bet high-school was rough). Often times we will be 'stuck' in a place or situation where we feel very far from what we want: you or your children are getting overweight, your wife is short with you, deadlines at work and at home are getting missed, etc. I think Moses' life in the un-quoted portion of Ex. 3 really typifies this setting--He wasn't happy, but he wasn't going to do anything to change it.

Not your Vision, but God's
But this passage doesn't really start with Moses, does it? It starts with God's as-yet unattained vision for his people. He saw where they were at and where he wanted them to be. God didn't ask Moses if he wanted to change anything. He didn't ask if he would be interested in taking his life in a slightly different direction. God was moving and he decided Moses was going to be his mouthpiece.

I'm sure if we could only see the following drama unfold between Pharaoh and Moses from a bystander's position we would be horribly impressed with Moses' chutzpah to stand up to Pharaoh and his tenacity in following out his vision to free his people, but actually very few of us who read the drama in the bible feel that way about Moses. We get to be in on Moses' weakness and we get see how God is actually the one doing all of the work. He is supporting Moses when Moses all but refuses to go back and stand before Pharaoh. We must remember that it is not our work, but God's work. We are along for the ride. We are His tools, His hands, and we depend on His strength, His skill, His words to accomplish His goals.

A Godly Leader is Focused on His Strength and not on his Own Abilities
I would challenge all of you to make a list of the areas where you are a leader. Many of those areas are similar to what Moses was confronted with--God's direct mandate to lead. Areas like being a husband, father, Churchman, etc are the most important areas of our lives and thankfully we don't have to ask God if he wants us to be a leader for our wives and children. He is very clear on that issue in Scripture. The call for all of us working stuffs is to look up, realize that God is calling us to be proactive, enthused, discerning and effective leaders at home and at church. We don't get a choice in this, we were handed that position the moment we said "I do" or the second our child started to first cry.

Practically Speaking...
Looking at quitting my side job, taking on some more responsibility at church, and totally unsure of where and how I am to lead at home, I lie in bed at night somewhat discouraged that I do not feel like the leader I am supposed to be. The Bible is clear about what I must do, I must lead, I must ensure that my spouse is growing spiritually, that her heart--and mine--is growing in devotion towards God.

This kind of thinking is easy to get trapped in. It only creates feelings of inadequacy and desperation. In times like this we need to lead like Moses: wimpy, whining, kicking and screaming. Never once will I be able to question if I am doing this great work on my own. This is where some people get paralysis-though-analysis--stuck questioning the right move for so long that we miss the opportunity to go forward. That is where Moses fear came from. He thought God was telling him to figure out how to free the Israelites himself. As we know, that couldn't be further from the truth. He was just a tool, doing what God told him to do. We might think it was easier for him since he got to talk to God first hand, but how many of us have seen Scripture drastically change a life? We don't question its efficacy then, but we do when we are stuck in the middle of one of these "Moses Moments."

God, I pray I would do those things that you have called me to. I pray that I would be faithful in the things that you have explicitly called me and prayerful in all of the particulars of which I am unsure--knowing nothing is a surprise for you.

1 comment:

  1. great thoughts. I've been getting a lot of mileage out of the account of Joshua in the first chapter of "his" book. I sent you a list of books that might be helpful; one other thing that might be helpful is to pick through 1 Timothy - esp. ch. 3.