Spiritual Leadership 101
In the fourth chapter of Exodus, we find an couple of verses that are easy to overlook, but on further investigation, they tell a shocking story that most have never seen in this narrative of Moses and God’s call to lead God’s son, Israel, out of the bondage of Egyptian oppression. The Holy Spirit strategically placed these verses, here, so that we might gain instruction (as men) on how to be spiritual leaders, from the account of Moses. Moses, with all his excuses of why he would be unable, unqualified and inadequate for what The Lord God was calling him to do, was about to get a crash course in obedience. It was a matter of life and death!
Background: Meanwhile, back at the ranch…
In the third chapter it is recorded that God appeared to Moses (by way of the burning bush), as he was out pasturing the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian. The land of Midian is where Moses fled, after killing the Egyptian he saw beating his Hebrew kinsman. Moses, as the Biblical account tells us, was miraculously saved from being killed by Pharaoh, as a child. He was saved by The Hand of God, for the purpose of leading God’s people out of this Egyptian suffering. Most Sunday School kiddos know how that Moses was spared by his own mother who put him in the pitch-covered basket, placing him in the Nile, where he was discovered by Pharaoh’s daughter. She took the baby and raised him as her own son, being nursed by Moses’ own natural mother. This was all in the plan of God.
Now, in Exodus 4 God has called Moses, dealt with his excuses, and commissioned him to carry out God’s mission of rescuing God’s people from the suffering at the hand of their oppressors. In Exodus 3:7 God says that He has surely seen the affliction of His people. So, God appears to Moses in the burning bush and issues him the command to go and deliver Israel. One of the main points that stands out is the fact that God sees His peoples’ afflictions. Never forget that God knows about all we go through. None of it fails to meet His Gaze. He heard the cry of His children and He is about to execute His rescue mission. He has chosen a man to lead them out—Moses.
No less than four times Moses offers an excuse to God: Who am I? What if they say… What if they won’t believe me? I am not much of a talker. You get the feeling that this mission is urgent, and The Lord is not in the mood for wasting time. In Exodus 4:14, we read that the anger of The Lord was kindled against Moses. Right after God had told Moses that He would teach him how and what to say, Moses blurts out that maybe God should just pick someone else. It appears that this is not sitting well with The Lord.
So, we might say that Moses was just a man a great humility, not wanting to be in the spotlight, he simply wanted to be a behind-the-scenes servant, letting someone else get the credit and press for doing what needed to be done. What’s wrong with that? But there was more to it than that. God had called Moses. He had called him for this purpose, not just to stand by and observe, or even to lend a hand to others doing the job; He had intended Moses be that man. And Moses was about to get the training that would change his life!
Excuses were not the only problem!
After God tells Moses how all was going to play out in Egypt, in our chosen text, we find that on the way to Egypt, as Moses and his family stop to lodge for the night, verse 24 says that God met Moses on the way and sought to kill him! Why would God do this? Why would God send him to Egypt, then meet him halfway and try to kill him? The answer is found in the following two verses. In Genesis 17, God told Abraham that all his descendants would take part in the Covenant of circumcision. This was the sign of the covenant between God and Abraham, says The Lord, in verse 11. In fact, no less than 5 times in verses 9 through 14, God mentions this Covenant. It would appear, then, that it is important to God and to Abraham and his descendants, as well.
This brings us back to our focus text. The reason that we believe that Moses’ attitude was not simply one of great humility, but rather one of neglect and unwillingness to do what God had commissioned him to do, is because apparently he had failed to see that his new son (perhaps both of them) were circumcised, on the eighth day, as God’s Covenant commanded. Now, God has likely stricken Moses with an illness that threatens his life. Moses’ wife, Zipporah, literally saves Moses’ life by performing the circumcision with a knife of flint. Then she basically flings the pieces of flesh upon Moses’ feet as he lay there at death’s door, saying: Indeed you are a bloody bridegroom to me. The KJV says: “Surely a bloody husband art thou to me.” The following verse tell us that God let Moses alone.
We learn that Moses’ wife did not see the importance in the “bloody” ritual of circumcision, likely because her husband had failed to be the man of the house and teach his family what God had taught and commanded. When she saw what was happening to her husband, she did what was necessary to save Moses’ life. But apparently, she still found the practice barbaric. Her statement tells it all.
Upon reading this for the first time, God spoke to my heart about the importance of men being the spiritual leaders of the home. Yes, I believe the Bible teaches that men are the spiritual leaders. This is God’s choice. This does not mean that women are worth any less; it is simply a position that God chose, and He is God. It is His world and we are His people. This says nothing of the worth or value of women, in fact, women are more precious. Someone said that women were created one step further from the dirt. Women are special. Women can do things that men can’t, and vice versa. Beyond that, I refuse to get caught up in web of nonsense trying to explain something God has established. Let’s just accept what God made.
It’s our job!
It is so very easy for men to be manly, even in today’s climate, being outdoorsy and masculine is normal behavior for most men, though not an absolute prerequisite for being a man. Just because you don’t prefer the outdoor life, doesn’t mean you aren’t manly. However, to make the point, it is common for men to be masculine. The problem is when it comes to spiritual matters men often miss the mark. Many would rather let their wife be the spiritual one in the family. Oh, they will tag along with her to church, but don’t ask them to take a leading role. I don’t want to rain on the parade of those wives that are just happy their husband is going to church with them, but this is not what God intended. God not only wants men to be manly, in the traditional sense, but more important than that, He intends us to take the lead—the spiritual lead!
Sir, the family should be following you! It should not be you following them! God created you to be the head of the home, but in God’s Plan, that includes being the spiritual head, as well.
So many men complain that their wife doesn’t want to do as he wishes, but I say that if you would simply be the man that God created you to be, she would see you differently and follow you in God’s Grace.
Like Moses, men, we are full of excuses and reasons why we cannot be all God wants us to be—created us to be. But, like God told Moses, He will teach us what we need to know, He will put His Words (the Bible) within our mouths, when we hide it in our hearts, and lead us to lead our families.
A godly man leading the home will create an atmosphere that causes sons to grow into men that, in turn, lead their own families to Christ. Studies have shown that the presence of a loving father in the home significantly effects the emotional environment for daughters. Daughters need a God-fearing father that teaches them how to love and be loved the way God intended. A godly man in the home dramatically changes the entire home environment and he teaches them to follow The Lord.
Someone once asked me what I thought about women preachers. I know they were trying to trap me. I responded: Maybe God couldn’t find a man!
I’m going to take a shot at a sacred cow right here. A great controversy exists concerning this subject. I am convinced it wouldn’t be so prominent if men would step up to the plate and be all that God wants them to be! I believe the problem exists largely because of the failure of men and their unwillingness to man up! A man can be as strong as an ox, yet spiritually weak and you’ll not convince me that most women are not attracted to a man that is all God wants him to be. That is an attraction that God created. It is fact! Women love a God-fearing man because he is complete. He is complete because that is the way he was created to be. A God-fearing man is the ultimate man. You may be burly as Grizzly Adams, but without The Lord in your life, you are not a total man.
Zipporah stepped up and saved Moses’ life! Thank God for women! I thank God every day for my precious wife. He gave her to me, and I love her with all my heart. She is smarter than me in so many ways. She can do many things that I cannot. But she can’t be the spiritual leader of the family, that’s MY responsibility. God called me to that position. Each day I make a conscious effort to treat her like my queen. God commanded me to love her like He loves His church. That is a sacrificial love. That requires effort and it requires leadership. I am responsible for leading my family to God, taking them to church and teaching them to love Jesus. Like Moses, I falter, stammer, and sometimes don’t know how to proceed, but God teaches me and leads me, to lead them.
Just because we may be in the ministry, doesn’t mean God won’t meet us on the road, and require us to get things right! Moses had accepted the mission and yet he had neglected his family and his leadership responsibility to them and to God. God wasn’t having it! God didn’t try to kill Moses’ wife! She was a Midianite, not a Hebrew. She was not responsible for the leadership of the home—Moses was!
The covenant of circumcision was between God and Abraham. It was sort of a ‘blood covenant”, in a sense, but now we have a new covenant in Christ. The Bible tells that without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness. (Hebrews 9:22) In the book of Hebrews, The Lord teaches us that the New Blood Covenant (what Christ did for us on the cross) is superior to the old blood covenant God made with Abraham. It was not intended to last forever, but point us to the new one, in Christ. The Abrahamic covenant stressed man’s dependence on God rather than the flesh; as does the new one in Christ.
This paper is not intended to stir controversy, but rather to stir hearts—the hearts of the men of God. We have a Godly responsibility to be Godly Leaders. We need to be Bloody Bridegrooms (Husbands) but husbands covered by the blood of Christ. Christ is our Head, and we are meant to honor Him with our lives. What kind of husband are you?