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Leadership 101: A Godly Leader Must Realize They Aren't Running The Show, God Is!

            Have you ever noticed that God often uses one set of circumstances in our lives to teach us multiple lessons?    If you are a wise leader, you will seek to learn as much as possible from each event, allowing each experience to shape you into the leader God envisioned when He called you to the task.   

 

            As we continue our study in the life of Moses, we see this principle at work in his life.     Last month, we observed Moses’ first few days in Egypt and learned that a godly leader needs to follow God even when it isn’t popular. 

 

            This month, we’re going to look at a second lesson that Moses learned during this difficult time:  Moses had to learn that he was just the messenger---God was in control. 

 

            To continue our study, let’s once again open our Bibles to Exodus 6:1-8:

 

            Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: Because of My mighty hand he will let them go; because of My mighty hand he will drive them out of his country.”

 

            God also said to Moses, “I am the Lord.  I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by My name the Lord I did not make myself fully known to them. I also established My covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, where they resided as foreigners.  Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered My covenant.

 

            Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment.  I will take you as My own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, Who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.  And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord.’”

 

            As you’ll remember from last month, Moses was in a really tough spot when He received this message from God.    Just a few months ago, Moses was just your average shepherd in Midian.   After an encounter with God at the burning bush, he packed up his wife and kids, left everything else behind, and returned to Egypt to answer God’s call.   Even though he and his message were initially received with great enthusiasm and joy by the Israelites, as soon as difficult times came, they jumped ship and turned on Moses.    Instead of accepting him as their leader, they prayed he would be judged for the difficulties that came with his arrival.

 

            Things weren’t going much better with Pharaoh either.   Instead of receiving Moses’ message from God and letting the people go, Pharaoh practically laughed in Moses’ face.    In short, his response was, “Fat chance that will ever happen!  I don’t even know this God you’re talking about!”   Then, making things worse, he made the people’s work load harder just to get back at Moses for his request.

 

            From Moses’ perspective, things were looking very bad.

 

            Pharaoh’s heart seemed immovable.

 

            The people hated him and wanted him dead.

 

            Completely dismayed, Moses turns to God and says, “What???   This is why I left Midian?   I stuck my neck out and You didn’t have my back!   This is not how things were supposed to go!”

 

            However, as we look at God’s reply in Exodus 6:1-6, we see the keys to the next lesson that Moses had to learn. 

 

Key #1   God had a plan even when Moses couldn’t see it.

 

            Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: Because of My mighty hand he will let them go; because of My mighty hand he will drive them out of his country.”

 

            From Moses’ perspective, everything looked hopeless.   From God’s point of view, things were just getting started.   Although Moses was completely surprised by the turn of events, God was just making things off His checklist. 

 

Pharaoh’s heart hardened                                                 Check

 

Israelites hating Egypt because work increased           Check

 

Moses realizing he’s powerless on his own                  Check     

      

            In God’s eyes, Egypt was ripe for judgment and Israel was ready for deliverance.   He had a plan to carry out both tasks, in His way and in His time.   God wasn’t worried at all, He had everything under control.    That was the first message He conveyed to Moses:  Stop looking at this situation through human eyes and start looking at what I’m going to do.

 

            This is one of the lessons that all godly leaders need to learn.  Although it is challenging, we all need to avoid the temptation to panic and accuse God of not helping us as we look at things from the human perspective.   Instead, we need to get our emotions under control, turn our eyes toward Jesus, and ask God to help us see things from His perspective. 

 

            Trust me, I know this isn’t easy.   In fact, just the other day I had to relearn this lesson again when I found myself losing perspective and questioning, “Did you really bring us this far to let us fail?” 

 

            You see, recently, my sister and I took a huge step of faith and followed God’s call into a new expansion of our ministry.   At first, everything was exciting as we watched God work out many of the details and we saw the vision begin to take shape.   Then we started to face opposition.    Things weren’t falling into place as easily as they did at the get-go and I started to panic.  

 

            What if we hadn’t really heard God?

 

            What if the small details never worked out?

 

            What if we failed and looked like fools in front of everyone?

 

            Don’t you think these were some of the same feelings Moses was experiencing while Pharaoh was laughing at him and the Israelites were giving him the silent treatment? 

 

            As the ‘what ifs’ and ‘maybe we shouldn’t have started’s’ filled my mind with fear, I began to panic and try to work out things on my own, only to find my efforts futile.  

 

            Then, I did what I should have done from the start.   I took a few minutes to quiet my soul and be alone with God.   Very softly the Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, “Don’t you think I have a plan?   Don’t you think I know exactly what I’m doing and how I want this to happen?   Wouldn’t your efforts be better spent seeking My will rather than trying to figure things out on your own?”  

 

            Immediately, conviction filled my heart and I began to repent for losing my perspective----allowing my vision to be clouded by the fact that things weren’t working out the way I had planned and submitting my will to walking on the path that was God’s plan.    Like Moses, I had to realize that it wasn’t my job to figure things out; it was my job to follow where God was leading and go with God’s plans.

 

Key #2  Moses had to learn that God always has been and always will be reliable.   

 

            God also said to Moses, “I am the Lord.  I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by My name the Lord I did not make Myself  fully known to them. I also established My covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, where they resided as foreigners.  Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered My covenant.

 

            After God said, “I’ve still got a plan even though you don’t understand it”, He reminded Moses of His history to prove that He formed the nation of Israel, He preserved it, and He would deliver it. 

 

            With these words, God reminded Moses of the covenant He established with Abraham, Issac, and Jacob where He revealed Himself as “The Lord, God Almighty”.    It’s important to remember that this covenant included the prophesy in Genesis 17:13-17, where He told Abraham:

 

             Then the Lord said to him, “Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there.  But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions.  You, however, will go to your ancestors in peace and be buried at a good old age. In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.”

 

            Basically, God was saying, “Remember your history Moses!   Remember how this nation began with one couple that no one thought would ever have a child.  Remember how I made a covenant with Abraham and his sons, and how I even told them ahead of time this would happen.   However, also remember that even 400 years ago, I promised deliverance.    Stop looking at the circumstances, and look to your history.   I’ve never abandoned this people before, and I’m not going to abandon them now.”

 

            Again, this is a lesson that every leader needs to learn when going through difficult circumstances:   Look to your history.

 

            Hasn’t God always had a plan before?

 

            Did He ever abandon you, forsake you, or failed to come through?

 

            Hasn’t He always proved Himself to be reliable and trustworthy?

 

            Haven’t His ways ALWAYS turned out to be better than your ways?

 

            Then why do you doubt Him now?   Instead, remember your history and trust Him.   It’s what Moses had to do and it’s what each of us has to do. 

 

Key #3  Moses needed to learn that the battle belonged to the Lord. 

 

            “Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as My own people, and I will be Your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord Your God, Who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.  And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord.”

 

            "Okay, Moses---Let’s try this lesson again---You are My messenger, but the battle is MINE.”

 

            Take a minute and really look at these verses.   Notice how many times God says, “I will”. 

 

I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.

I will free you from being slaves to them.

I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment.

I will take you as My own people, and I will be Your God.

I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob.

I will give it to you as a possession.

 

            What Moses needed to learn was that the battle wasn’t between Moses and Pharaoh, it was between God and Pharaoh.  Although Pharaoh wouldn’t listen to him; he would bend to God.   God was in control; Moses was just God’s messenger and spokesperson.   Before God could lead Moses any further into His plan in Egypt, He needed to make sure Moses understood this lesson

 

            Moses had to learn that from this point forward, God was calling the shots. 

 

            God determined what plagues would happen and in what order they would happen.   He also determined when they would stop and whom they would affect.  (Remember, some of the plagues only affected the Egyptians while others affected both the Israelites and the Egyptians.)

 

            When it was time for the Israelites to be delivered, God told Moses in detail how the Israelites were to leave Egypt and Moses had to follow every detail.

 

            After their deliverance, God chose the direction they travelled out of Egypt and throughout the desert. 

 

            For the rest of Moses’ days on earth, God led Moses and Moses led the people. Before Moses could truly step into the leadership role that God had for him, he had to accept this key to God’s kingdom, and submit to leading by this principle.  

 

            Just like Moses, we, too, need to learn that we are not fighting our own battles, building or advancing our own kingdoms, or even leading our own band of followers.   Everything we do is for God’s honor and His glory and we are simply His workers carrying out the tasks that He calls us to do.  

 

            Moses’ job was to obey God and speak to Pharaoh, trusting that God would stand by His Word and deliver His people.

 

            Our job is to obey God, trusting that God will use our efforts to accomplish the tasks necessary to build His kingdom.   Because we know Who He is and what He has done in the past, we know that He is reliable and trustworthy and it is safe to follow Him in whatever direction He is leading.   These are the lessons the Moses and all godly leaders need to learn:


God has a plan.

God is Faithful.

The battle and the victory belong to Him.

 

 

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