Wednesday, April 10, 2019
Far too many people are trying to make it on their own in this life. For reasons of insecurity, fear or pride, they take on the responsibility, burden, and outcome of everything and share none of the load with others, except in the cases where there is personal benefit and advancement. Moses was one such man, and in the process of growing his faith, God was about to change him.
Exodus 17:8-13 The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.” So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up – one on one side, one on the other – so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.
I can relate to Moses. I naturally move to the authoritarian style of leadership and try to handle everything on my own. I did that for many years and discovered that after the honeymoon period that is granted to every new leader by the group being led, things begin to fall apart. People become discontented because they feel unneeded, unnecessary, and unfulfilled. They respond to such feelings by either withdrawing or attacking, and I have experienced both. The pain that results on both sides does not easily heal.
I am so very blessed to have been granted the grace to change, and to learn the life-changing principle that great leaders surround themselves with people who are better than themselves. When I return from a vacation I realize how relaxing it was to not have to be concerned about anything at the church because of the gifted and qualified people who are in charge of their specific areas of ministry. I have been blessed with great partners who see what needs to be done and then get it done.
That’s the lesson Moses had to learn, and the doorway to change was opened a crack in today’s story about the Amalekite attack on the Israelites.
Moses started out by proclaiming that he alone would stand on the top of the hill and direct the battle with the staff of God in his hands. But Moses allows two other men to go with him, and when he grows tired he allows these men to partner with him in the action. We see no indication that Moses asked for the help, but he humbled himself to accept the help when it was offered. His partners saw a need, they developed a plan to meet the need, and they carried out the plan to completion. They put their faith into action. Moses took the first step of change when he allowed himself to be served.
There are two main challenges for us from this lesson today:
- Don’t let pride, insecurity, or fear cause you to be a control freak. I see so many people who are compulsive controllers, and they kill relationships and ministries. Remember one of the foundational statements of a church’s existence – “It’s not about me, and it’s not about now: it’s about God and His glory.”
- Become a faith partner of action. Don’t wait to be told what to do – take the initiative to get involved. When you see a need, develop a plan, put it into action, and stick with it until it’s done.
Faith initiates activity in partnership with others. There’s no need to do it alone. There’s no benefit either.