statue of a leader February 2 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today's Bible reading: Exodus 1:1-4:17

Leadership, Born of Necessity

Why doesn't someone do something about this? Most of us have asked this question at one time or another. What are we saying? We are expressing a frustration that a problem needs to be addressed, and we need a leader to step out of the shadows to take care of it. This is leadership, born of necessity.

The book of Exodus begins where the book of Genesis ends. In Genesis we left Joseph and his brothers and their families in Egypt in the region of Goshen. After their father Jacob died, his son Joseph lived until he was 110, seeing his great great great grandchildren. At that time Joseph uttered a prophecy about the children of Israel that showed his faith. God would come to their aid; and when they were delivered they were to take his bones with them back to the land of Canaan, the land promised to them by God (Genesis 50:24-25). In the meantime, something was going to happen to their large family; that something was oppression and slavery.

The children of Israel (descendants of the patriarch, Jacob) became slaves to the Egyptians when a new king of Egypt took the throne who did not know Joseph and what he had done for them. The Israelites were multiplying rapidly, and seeing the threat of their numbers, the Egyptians put them into servitude so that they would not rise up and conquer them. We will later see that God allowed all this to happen so that he might deliver the Israelites in a mighty way. They would need to see this so they would revere him and have courage to embark on a journey through the wilderness to the Promised Land. If they got comfortable, they just might stay in Egypt and not inherit his promises. Perhaps that is one reason why some of us go through hardships; God has something better planned for us. We must learn to trust him even in our darkest days.

The Israelites were certainly in trouble. They were harshly treated and worked ruthlessly. They must have asked the question many times over the 400 years of their oppression, “doesn't God see us?” And now, to make things much worse, their babies were being killed because the Egyptians were threatened by their over population. We might ask the same question today because of the babies being killed through abortion; doesn't God see? Help us LORD! Of course God cares about babies. God especially cared about the Hebrew babies because God promised to bless Abraham's chosen descendants.

Moses was born to lead. Even as a baby he was somehow considered an exceptional child (Hebrews 11:23). His mother hid him, but when she could not hide him anymore, she trusted in the God of Israel to take care of him. She was led of God to hide him in a weatherproof basket and float him along the reeds of the Nile to be found by someone who would take care of him. He was found by Pharaoh's daughter. Miriam, the sister of Moses saw this and asked the princess if she wanted her to find a Hebrew woman to nurse her. Of course, Miriam asked her own mother. Her mother had the privilege of nursing her own son, Moses, legally. She was even paid to do it.

By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward (Hebrews 11:24-26, NIV).

Moses recognized God's hand on him for leadership, but when he tried to exercise it in his own power, he stumbled at the first sign of opposition, became fearful, fled Egypt, and went into hiding. “When Moses tried to rush the plan of God, he lost both his courage and his ability to lead the people he was supposed to lead.”* Has anything like that happened to us? Yes, leadership is born of necessity, and we may have a feeling that we are the leader to meet that need, but timing is everything. We must be sensitive to God's choice and his leading. Forty years later, when Moses had learned the occupation of a humble shepherd, God appeared to him and commissioned him for the task of delivering His people from slavery.

Sometimes even when leaders are chosen and empowered they are hesitant to take the leadership. Moses now had heavenly power, but he was reticent to take the leadership given to him from the LORD. Perhaps it was because he was older or because he had failed previously. Perhaps it was because this assignment from God seemed like an insurmountable challenge. It was easier for him to remain a shepherd and raise his family. He used the excuse that he could not speak well. What excuses do we use for not obeying God's will? The LORD was angry and chose his brother Aaron to be his spokesman. Do we want God to use us? Then we must trust him and not look to our own resources to meet the needs. We need to be obedient to our calling.

Lessons to live by:

  • Are you oppressed in your spirit? God wants to give you new life and peace (more...)
  • Sometimes it seems like God does not care, but he sees everything that goes on in our lives and does care. It may not be time for him to deliver us, but God is faithful to his children. He keeps his promises, and he does everything for his glory and our good.
  • One reason why some of us go through hardships is that God has something better planned for us. We must learn to trust him even in our darkest days.
  • God chooses leadership, if we will have the patience to wait. Perhaps you were born for such a time as this.
  • God wants humble, obedient, and willing servants. He will empower us to accomplish much more than we ever could in our own strength.

Today's Bible memory verse:

Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (NIV)

*insight from Pastor Nathan Sabin, editor.

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