We can glean a lot from the leadership of Moses. This picture we get of him standing in the breach is one that exemplifies what it means to be a leader. Don’t stop reading with the excuse that you are not a leader. Everyone is leading someone. The question is—do you stand in the breach?
First, you have to know what it means that Moses stood before God in the breach. When you consider a breach, picture a wall. You have a wall for protection. This wall works great so long as it remains intact. However, there are moments when there is a breach in the wall—a breakdown of the wall at some point that makes the wall ineffective. Now whatever you are trying to keep out is now coming through this break in the wall. When soldiers are protecting an area and there is a breach, the soldiers will use their own bodies to stand at the breach to continue to ensure the area is protected.
When we look at Moses and this picture of him standing before God in the breach, we see a leader who is concerned for the Israelites, the people he was leading. Despite their sin, their shortcomings and failures, he cared for the people. He sought for their best interest. He stood between them and God and made his plea of intercession. He recognized their weakness. He recognized their sin, but he did not let that change the way He cared for them. He sought the mercy of God. He prayed for the people.
As a leader, the most important thing is to care for the people you are leading—to love them. Love them like Jesus loves them. Love them with all that you are and love them despite their shortcomings and failures. Look at them as God sees them. Do all you can to stand in the breach. Pray for them. Give them your very best as you pour into their lives. Treat your time with them as precious. Don’t sell them short. Don’t treat them as a number or a task. Seek their best interest always. Love them. Love them like Jesus.
“So he said he would have destroyed them–if Moses his chosen one had not stood before him in the breach to turn his wrath away from destroying them.” – Psalm 106:23 [CSB]
My daughter loves to sketch and paint. She has a lot of talent. Yes, I’m biased but you can look for yourself. Talent can get you so far in life, but experience is always necessary. God gives us all talents, but He also takes us through many experiences in life to grow us to properly use our talent.
In Exodus 18 and Deuteronomy 1, we read of the leader selection process in the Old Testament. Listed character traits include those who fear God, who are honest, who are wise, who are understanding, and who are EXPERIENCED. The wisdom and the understanding comes as we continue to fear God and walk with Him. The experiences of life, the dark valleys and high mountains of life that God leads us through, teach us and stretch us. It is through experience that we become more capable.
Each of us are leaders. We are created to be leaders. But we aren’t where we are meant to be in life, and we certainly aren’t the leaders we could be to those we lead. Allow God to use you where you are at right now. Keep your ears and eyes open. Ask for Him to use you. Don’t be selective. Allow the Spirit to lead you. Serve where He places you. Soak up the experience. Glean from what He has placed before you. God wants to teach you. He wants to raise you up. Don’t let yourself get in the way. To be a better leader in your home, at church, in your workplace, on the field, you need to humble yourself as a servant of Christ, and forever remember that He both qualifies you and places you. Always stay focused on Him; always point to Him.
“But select capable men from all the people–men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain–and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.” – Exodus 18:21 [NIV]
“Choose for your tribes wise, understanding, and experienced men, and I will appoint them as your heads.” – Deuteronomy 1:13 [ESV]
I love reading Paul’s letters to Timothy. What a wealth of information for leadership that Paul has shared with his young ministry worker and the world. In 1 Timothy 3, he reviews the qualifications of overseers. He poses an important question—“if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church?”
Leadership must start at the home. God appreciates order. He created order from the chaos. As we read each book of the Bible, we see order. Don’t allow yourself to get caught up in all of the small details in the Bible—instead appreciate the small details, understanding that God cares so much even for the smallest of details. Everything is meant to fit perfectly. Everything is perfectly designed. It’s something we cannot fathom. The world is filled with balance and rhythm my friends.
A good leader manages family well. The man is a strong godly leader of his family. A godly man loves and supports his wife. A godly woman submits to her husband and supports her husband as the leader of the family. They raise their children in the disciple and teaching of the Lord. A godly couple lives life with a balance of grace and truth. A godly person is respected. Because a godly man manages his family well, his life is balanced so he is able to thereby serve God’s church. This is the same for a woman’s ministry role. If he or she does not manage the family well in their God given role, the chaos at home will follow to the church. This is a great truth spoken by Paul, a truth that speaks volumes. Ministry always starts at home. Any ministry outside the home is an overflow. Focus first in your home, and the overflow will follow.
“He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him. For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church?” – 1 Timothy 3:4-5 [NLT]
After we read about the sinfulness of God’s people in the beginning of the fourth chapter of Hosea, there is this one verse that follows which talks about accusations. The verse says, “let no one contend, and let none accuse.” Then we read the reason why. The contention has a place—it is towards the priest.
Wow! This is harsh to chew upon. The finger is pointed at the leadership. The priest who was put in charge of God’s Word, who was to lead the people to God and His Truth, was on the receiving end. That was where the contention was placed. But why? Because the people were led astray. The people were so far from God that they had no knowledge of Him. What was the priest doing? Why was the Law absent? Why was God not known?
Leadership is hard. Each day I recognize the opportunity I have been given, but more importantly the responsibility. I have a tree of people in my office at work to look at to remember this responsibility. At my home office, I have a card I was given by the church congregation. I read over the names often. I remember this great responsibility. Lead to Truth. Lead with grace. Lead with love at the center. Whether you lead in an area of ministry, lead your children at home, lead at your workplace—no matter where you lead, it’s always the same. Lead to Truth. Lead with grace. Lead with love at the center.
“Yet let no one contend, and let none accuse, for with you is my contention, O priest.” – Hosea 4:4 [ESV]
We often like to add our two cents. It could be sufficient to say a particular thing but we add a little more because it’s on the tip of our tongue. We direct people to a passage of the Bible and then continue onward with our position. Some of us take whatever position we are in and go beyond the position’s description. For some of us, we serve those who are disadvantaged—we get saddened by their situation or irritated by their constant needs. Paul tells us to “keep a smile on your face” and not to add to whatever it is you are doing.
When you are preaching, it should be the Word of God, not your own agenda. When you are helping someone, you help—you don’t take over the situation and become an enabler. When you teach, you be sure to focus on teaching the Bible and not drifting off. When you are providing guidance and encouraging people, you do not cross the line and become bossy, trying to get the people to take your counsel and force your position. When you are in charge of something, you are not to use it to your advantage and get people to do as you desire. If you are in a position to help those that are in distress, be sure to pay attention so you can answer the call and not miss the boat. If you work with those who are disadvantaged, you should not be depressed by their situation. At the same time, you should never let them cause you to get irritated.
This is a lot of do’s and do not’s. It sounds like a bunch of rules. But what Paul is saying can be simplified—whatever you are called to do, do it with a smile and always point to Christ. It is not about you—it is about Him. If you always aim to point others to Christ and it is all about Him and not about you, all of these “rules” will be followed. When we add our two cents, we make it about us. It can never be about us.
“If you preach, just preach God’s Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don’t take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don’t get bossy; if you’re put in charge, don’t manipulate; if you’re called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don’t let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face.” – Romans 12:6-8 [MSG]
“David reigned over all Israel, doing what was just and right for all his people.” – 2 Samuel 8:15
When I read this verse yesterday, I read it over a few times and focused on three words: just, right, all. It can also be seen as “justice and equality,” “judgment and righteousness,” and the word “fair” is even used (ESV, Youngs, GW). When we look at our leadership today, do we see these things? When we look at our government, do we see these things? I’m not going to respond further to the recent news, the recent questions that have arisen. If you are a leader yourself at work or church, could someone see these things with your leadership? If you are a parent, are these things evident?
Saul was king before David, and nowhere do we read that he was “doing what was just and right for all his people.” As we look at King Saul, we see impulsiveness, we see a man who did not have a heart for the Lord. When we look at David, we read again and again that he inquired of the Lord, and that he was a man after God’s heart. He had a whole heart for the Lord. As a result, he tried to do what was “just and right for all his people.”
There is a lot of news in politics today, having nothing to do with fair leading and justice, but a lot to do with possible scandals. There is unfairness in the workplace and even at church. In our homes, there is at times favoritism and injustice.
Today, let us focus our eyes on the Lord and inquire of the Lord just like David did again and again. As you get closer to Him, you will find that you will have no part in other things, but you will only want to be “doing what was just and right” with everything you touch.
Most people have heard the phrase, “We don’t live in a barn” growing up. As a little girl, I will admit I left the door open as I would rush into the house for a quick drink, allowing the cool air to send a chill through the home. We are told to keep our doors closed so the heat stays inside. However, when we look at doors from a church perspective, things are the opposite.
In Acts 21, Paul was at the temple, a place where he would often preach the Good News. As was so common, the Jewish leadership was trying to find fault with Paul to arrest him, because He was sharing Christ and people were believing. Upon another accusation, they grabbed Paul to arrest him. The Bible says in verse 30, that “they dragged him out of the temple, and immediately the doors were shut” (NASB). The Jewish leadership did not want Paul telling people the Truth. To keep the Truth from people, they had to rid the temple of Paul and they closed the doors to keep him out.
Sadly in many churches today, we close the doors. I am not talking about the fact that the doors are closed during the service hours, but rather, I am talking about how we as the body of Christ accept others. Instead of having an open door policy, where we are welcoming people to attend, we are judgmental. Instead of going out of the church to follow the Great Commission, and bring people to know Christ, we close ourselves up within the walls of the church and have fellowship amongst each other.
It’s great to break bread with fellow believers, to have Bible study, to gather together for encouragement and edification purposes. At the same time, a question that must be posed is, are the doors of your church open? Do non-believers feel welcome to come through the doors? When Jesus had His ministry on earth, He ate with sinners. He sat down with tax collectors, people despised by everyone, and looked past the fact. He spoke with a woman at a well that most would have shunned. Are the doors open or are they closed?
Today is a great day to open the doors, step outside for some fresh air, and see what is going on in your community. The Gospel isn’t meant to be all closed up.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:19-20 [NASB]
Life can be overwhelming at times, especially when we try to carry everything on our own. The Lord tells us to come to Him for His yoke is light. The Bible says we aren’t to worry, because worry is not from God. Instead, we are to give it to God and trust Him.
It is difficult to give it to God and then not worry. We are so tempted to give only so much to God, and then try to solve the rest on our own for whatever reason we have in our mind. Sometimes we do not even know why we cling to something that drags us down. What is worse is when we see that something is too much for us, and yet we still fight to survive with it weighing us down.
In the Book of Isaiah, the Assyrians were trying to get the people of Israel to not trust in Hezekiah’s leadership and in his word from the Lord of upcoming deliverance. Rabshakeh stood before the people and told them why they should not believe and should not follow Hezekiah or his God. Later Hezekiah even received a letter to bring him down. This could have turned into a situation of doubt and fear. Hezekiah could have drowned his sorrow, ran from his problems, turned his back, or sank down and left Assyria have their way.
Instead, Hezekiah took the letter he received, entered the house of the Lord, “and spread it out before the Lord” (Isaiah 37:14b NASB). Then he prayed, acknowledging God and seeking His answer.
We receive “letters” all the time, letters that crush our spirits, diminish our hopes, challenge us, hurt us, intimidate us, and make us feel anything but confident. We fear, we doubt, we hurt. We get tired, overwhelmed, depressed, and ready to throw in the towel. But instead of allowing the senders of the letters to get the best of us, we have a God who is above all, a God who can do the impossible. We have the option to take our letter, spread it out before the Lord, and let Him have a go. It may seem easy, but it’s not. Nonetheless, after you’re able to fully release it out of your hands and place it in the hands of your loving Father, you’ll find this peace overcome you. It may not happen overnight, but there will be a change.
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOUL. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30 [NASB]