The following is an excerpt from “Do Not Grow Weary in Prayer and Fasting,” written faithfully each week for nearly 10 years by Jerry Hale, Spiritual Emphasis Committee Chair for the Growing and Building Campaign.
From 16 JUN 2015: Greetings from Xian, China, the capital of ancient China, dating back to 600 BC. Missionaries from Syria first brought Christianity to China in Xian approximately 700 AD via the Silk Road.
I continue to seek the Lord’s wisdom in better understanding principles of leadership and humility with the hope of improving my own life as well as passing these concepts along to the next generation of international leaders.
Two incidents in the life of Moses speak to both of these issues. These two incidents, described in Exodus 17:1-7 and Numbers 20:1-13, are similar events—the first occurring shortly after the Israelites came out of Egypt and the second 40 years later as the next generation prepared to enter the Promised Land. Both events are similar in that the people are complaining about the lack of water and are questioning both Moses’ leadership and God’s ability to provide for them.
In both incidents, Moses (who is described as the most humble person who ever lived) feels the pressure of leadership, but rightly brings the problem to the Lord. In both cases, God provides abundantly, yet Moses is disciplined for not being obedient to God’s direction in the second scenario.
Here’s an account of what happened:
The Lord said to Moses, “Take the staff and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to the rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water…” So Moses took the staff from the Lord’s presence, just as God commanded him. He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with the staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank. But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.” Numbers 20:7-12
Reading through the life of Moses in recent days, I gleaned new insight that I expect will be helpful to me in the future and perhaps to you as well. I regularly tell my students that God has a plan for each of us, and I see my job as helping them find God’s path for each of them as they allow me to assist. Looking at Moses, we know that his calling from God (his life’s path) was to lead God’s people out of bondage in Egypt to the Promised Land. That was the strategic view from God’s perspective, yet day to day Moses had to deal with the tactical issues needing to be completed to see the long-term vision come to reality.
Moses was viewed as a humble man, no doubt because God humbled him as he went from being “Prince of Egypt” to serving decades of tending sheep on the back side of the desert. As a humble man he learned to trust God (and not himself) for his provision for each day of the entire 40 years that he led Israel in their travels through the desert. Yet, at the end of those 40 years with the long-term plan almost complete, Moses lost sight of the strategic view. During a time of great testing, he disobeyed God and took a tactical defeat, losing his composure with the new generation of Israelites and striking the rock twice in anger.
My take away from these accounts is that we must always keep in mind God’s long-term calling on our lives. Assured of this, we can know with certainty that we can trust God day by day to move us closer to our goal. We must be careful not to step in and take over the daily struggle, especially in times of great testing through worry, anxiety and lack of faith! The good news is that even though we might fail in the tactical from time to time, we still can have confidence that God will get us to the goal He has for us.