Read Exodus 3: 1 – 6; 4: 10 - 14
Aside from Jesus, Moses is probably one of the most revered and highly regarded individuals in the Bible. There is much written about him. The first five books of the Old Testament (called the Pentateuch) are traditionally believed to have been dictated by Moses and is the story of God working through him to establish God’s chosen nation, Israel. It would be impossible for me to touch on every detail of his life in our short time together, so my purpose in the next few moments is to look at Moses’ life as the leader of a nation one of its most significant times in history.
Moses: The Leader
As I prayed about what God would have me speak on concerning Moses, my attention was brought to his leadership qualities. We can learn a lot about leadership when looking at the life of Moses. These qualities do not ONLY apply to leaders in the church, but also apply to all believers today.
What I love most about Moses’ leadership examples is that he was not really a great leader at the beginning nor was he the most qualified. He was, however, an influential man whom God called and used in great and mighty ways to lead his chosen people.
Today we will look at five qualities of Moses’ life and leadership that I believe can benefit us all as we apply them in our lives today.
- Moses was called by God.
This is probably one of the most important qualities of any spiritual leader PERIOD… CALLING. (Read Exodus 3:4, 10) Moses was in the desert serving his father-in-law and as he came upon a burning bush he heard the voice of God calling to him. The voice called him by name and gave him specific details as to what was in store for him. God tells Moses He is going to use him to deliver the Israelites out the hands of the Egyptians and Moses would serve him on the mountain. This was his calling and it was essential to the work of God.
I run into people constantly who have no concept of calling. Believe it or not leadership is a calling and is not necessarily something that is learned. Certainly people go to school, college, seminaries etc. and learn how to be leaders in church, but if God has not called individuals to this role they will never be effective for the Kingdom of God.
There are people who are able to attract people, build large church buildings, and convince others to support them in various ways, but God will not put his hand of blessing upon an individual who He has not called. As humans we often associate good leaders with accomplishments, charisma and the likeability (or attractiveness) of an individual. We do not see this in the case of Moses. God does not chose Moses based on his qualities, confidence or character as a way to accomplish his will. As God speaks to Moses we read that God uses the word “I” a lot. God is the one who calls a leader and accomplishes success in one’s life. This applies to all Christians, whether in leadership or a laity, God must be the initiator in all things in order for success to happen. He will call us and our job is to be available.
- Moses was dependent on God.
When one is called by God it is important to understand that one cannot do whatever he is called to do on his own. In fact when God calls it would benefit you well if you responded much like Moses does in Exodus 4:10 – 12 (Read). When I received the calling to ministry 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 am not a leader.” It took time for me to understand that God wasn’t calling me because of who I was and what I thought I could accomplish, He was calling me in spite of me. A called person knows that success comes when they 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. In 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 or believer knows he cannot accomplish anything for God unless he/she is completely dependent on God.
- 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 complainer’s mouths, but I also know he prayed for his people as well. This is evident in Exodus 32:11 -14. Little did the people of Israel know that Moses was interceding for them. The people were openly critical of Moses, his leadership and with God. 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.
I want to assure you that you are prayed for daily. I know there are some who complain, belly ache, and criticize and we pray for them as well. We know as a pastoral staff prayer matters and we are committed to praying for this congregation because that is what God calls leaders and Christians alike to do.
- Moses was in continual fellowship with God
Moses was a man of prayer he spent a lot of time with God. He was on a mountain with Him and he was shown the tail end of God’s glory (the most any man or woman in the Bible ever saw of God). His 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. The people 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.” This was a privilege and it is a privilege all believers have today.
Time with God is very important. We sometimes need to leave the camp (or our offices or homes) 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 Flawed
Moses was a flawed individual. He was not perfect, he misrepresented God at times, he made bad decisions, and he 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 being glorified, it was God. (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, yet God in his mercy continued to use Moses even after this fatal flaw.
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 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 life of Moses is a fascinating and we see that he was an influential leader called by God, completely dependent on Him, who prayed for his people, communed with God and regardless of his flaws, God used Him in mighty ways. This gives us all encouragement, to know that God is actively seeking men and women to use to accomplish His will. With the successes and failures of Moses we clearly see the hand of God in all areas of this mans life. We also find encouragement in knowing that God’s hand remains upon us today to accomplish his will. God has done amazing things throughout the history of of Israel (I would encourage you to read through the stories of Moses’ life) and I believe He continues to have amazing plans in store for His Church today. What those plans may be, I don’t know, but we can pray, wait and enjoy the ride when He does move among us.