From Me to We Leadership!

Exodus 18:10-27, CEB

Sharing is not part of the human psyche.  We are raised to possess and control.  But in the story of Moses there is another moment where God offers a holy perspective through Jethro his father-in-law.  The idea of lessening the burden of carrying the entire load of people is referred to as delegation of authority.  It’s another way to say shared leadership.  Jethro offers Moses some insight about shared leadership.

Partner with the right people who possess godly wisdom!
The next day Moses sat as a judge for the people, while the people stood around Moses from morning until evening.  When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, “What’s this that you are doing for the people?  Why do you sit alone, while all the people are standing around you from morning until evening?” Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God.  When a conflict arises between them, they come to me and I judge between the two of them.  I also teach them God’s regulations and instructions.”  Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “What you are doing isn’t good.  You will end up totally wearing yourself out, both you and these people who are with you.  The work is too difficult for you.  You can’t do it alone.”   Exodus 18:13-17

Choose trustworthy, compassionate, and capable people!
“Explain the regulations and instructions to them.  Let them know the way they are supposed to go and the things they are supposed to do.  But you should also look among all the people for capable persons who respect God.  They should be trustworthy and not corrupt.”   Exodus 18:20-21

Develop a system that connects people to God and each other!
“Set these persons over the people as officers of groups of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens.  Let them sit as judges for the people at all times.  They should bring every major dispute to you, but they should decide all of the minor cases themselves.  This will be much easier for you, and they will share your load.”  Exodus 18:21-22

Listen for God’s next for the people!
Moses listened to his father-in-law’s suggestions and did everything that he had said.  Moses chose capable persons from all Israel and set them as leaders over the people, as officers over groups of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens.  They acted as judges for the people at all times.  They would refer the hard cases to Moses, but all of the minor cases they decided themselves.  Then Moses said good-bye to his father-in-law, and Jethro went back to his own country.   Exodus 18:24-27

Hear the W.O.W., the Words of Wisdom,
“When we share our life, we expand the kingdom!”

God Says!

Exodus 14:26-31, New Revised Standard Version

Uncertainty can invite faith!  And faith pleases God!  Moses and the Israelites have experienced an on (faithful) and off (unfaithful) relationship with God.  Their trust has been challenged while being shaped.  Now God’s chosen people find themselves in the in-between of life.  Choosing to go back into their past or venturing out into the unknown by faith.  God’s hand has delivered them from Pharaoh and the oppressive land of Egypt.  God’s compassion led them to an obedience of faith!

In the twenty-first century, many Christians struggle to maintain their faith.  In the midst of uncertainty, how does Moses’ faith come alive?

Faith Aligns with Obedience!
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, so that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots and chariot drivers.”   Exodus 14:26

Obedience Awakens the Heart!
So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at dawn the sea returned to its normal depth.  As the Egyptians fled before it, the Lord tossed the Egyptians into the sea.  The waters returned and covered the chariots and the chariot drivers, the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea; not one of them remained.  But the Israelites walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left.   Exodus 14:27-29

 The Heart receives the WORD!
Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore.  Israel saw the great work that the Lord did against the Egyptians.  So the people feared the Lord and believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses.   Exodus 14:30-31

Hear the W.O.W., the Words of Wisdom,
“Never Underestimate God!”

Breaking Free from Fear!

Exodus 6:28-7:7 New Revised Standard Version

God is ready to deliver Israel from bondage and bring them into the Promised Land.  Despite several attempts to strengthen Moses, he is not ready because of fear.  Everyone has something they fear.  It’s amazing what fear can do to people.  However, God knows our fears.  Moses was afraid of failure!  Fear is often grounded in failure.  Moses felt insufficient and overwhelmed by the weight of responsibility.  What do you fear?  How does God break Moses free from fear?

God confronts Moses’ fears!
On the day when the Lord spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt, he said to him, “I am the Lord; tell Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I am speaking to you.”   Exodus 6:28-29

Moses confesses his fears to God!
But Moses said in the Lord’s presence, “Since I am a poor speaker, why would Pharaoh listen to me?”   Exodus 6:30

God protects His plan!
“But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and I will multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt.  When Pharaoh does not listen to you, I will lay my hand upon Egypt and bring my people the Israelites, company by company, out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment.”   Exodus 7:3-4

Obedience of God casts out all fear!
“The Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out from among them.”  Moses and Aaron did so; they did just as the Lord commanded them.  Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three when they spoke to Pharaoh.”   Exodus 7:5-7

Hear the W.O.W., the Words of Wisdom,
“God seals the deal!”

The Disruptive Wilderness!

Exodus 3:1-12, Common English Bible

Everyone has the capacity to hear from God!  It may not be audible, but God gains our attention in a variety of ways.  Being available is the prominent position we must take to have the opportunity to respond to God especially while we are in the wilderness.  Out in the wilderness, we find Moses stumbles upon “the mountain of God” known as Mount Horeb.

Experience the wilderness lately?  In the ancient world, mountaintops were the traditional dwelling places for the divine.  There, at the mountain, Moses encounters an undeniable and unquenchable burning bush.  Fire is a common biblical symbol of God’s divine presence.  The fiery, yet unconsumed, bush is an icon of the divine, a material or sacramental window into God’s presence that both reveals and hides.  In part, the ever-burning shrub out in the wilderness signals God’s merciful accommodation.  God comes down from the mountain of God to meet Moses in the bush.

Why does God cause such an intentional disruption?  Every divine disruption has a deliberate order.

First, there is the call!
When the Lord saw that he was coming to look, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!”  Moses said, “I’m here.”   Exodus 3:4

Second, there is clarity!
“Now the Israelites’ cries of injustice have reached me.  I’ve seen just how much the Egyptians have oppressed them.”   Exodus 3:9

Finally, there is the cause!
 “So get going.  I’m sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.”   Exodus 3:10

Hear the W.O.W., the Words of Wisdom,
“Disruption causes new direction!”

What’s That in Your Hand?

Exodus 4:1-5, Common English Bible

Whatever we have in our hand, like Moses, belongs in God’s hand.  God gives us only what we need to do in order to complete the work before us.  Moses is chosen by God to offer a different way for the Israelites.  God is preparing Moses to go before Pharaoh, the representation of evil, and address him.  Moses receives signs from God and begins to question if the congregation will believe in him.  Remember everything in our hand, in our identity, and in our area of influence is put there so that we can unify the body of Christ.

So Moses needs to…

Know what’s in his hand!
“The LORD said to him, “What’s that in your hand?”  Moses replied, “A shepherd’s rod.”   Exodus 4:2

Trust God to be God!
“Then the LORD said to Moses, “Reach out and grab the snake by the tail.”  So Moses reached out and grabbed it, and it turned back into a rod in his hand.”   Exodus 4:4

Remember God’s redemptive past!
“Do this so that they will believe that the LORD, the God of their ancestors, Abraham’s God, Isaac’s God, and Jacob’s God has in fact appeared to you.”   Exodus 4:5

Hear the W.O.W., the Words of Wisdom,
“Put what’s in your hand in God’s hand!”