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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Overcoming Leadership Hesitation

Continuing my personal study of the life of Moses, I came across that famous moment of hesitation when he asks God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and that I would bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11). Interesting question.

First, the question sounds philosophical, “Who am I?” Moses is an older man now, so is he really wrestling with identity? Is this mid-life crises? Perhaps there may be some allowance for this, and it may be permissible if it were not an excuse to obey God. You know, “Ok God, I worship you and all, but if you really want me to do something, I’ll be over here trying to figure out who I am.” God does not play the “I AM” game because He knows who you are and that’s enough for Him. Since He is the great “I AM,” who do you think you have to be to obey Him?

The only way to answer what seems like a philosophical problem is to return to the creator who says to the one He calls, “you are not alone.”

Second, the phrase, “who am I” is connected to two other thoughts: “Who am I to go to Pharaoh,” and “who am I to lead my people?” Well, who do you have to be to stand before anyone, great or otherwise? You have to be a God-present person. People are not devoid of understanding.

See, Pharaoh and the Egyptians apparently have an idea of who God is and God put that idea before them. Notice Exodus 3:18 where God tells Moses to use specific words about Him when addressing the Egyptians. When we go into all the world, we move among people who have an idea of who God is. Dignitaries are small in the presence of the King of Kings (Note Psalm 2).

Notice also Exodus 3:15 where God tells Moses to use specific words concerning Himself to the religious crowd. They, too, have an idea of who God is. The goal is to get these people connected to the promises He has made.

Both these answers are enough for Moses to change culture. This is enough for us. If we have been reconciled to God in Christ Jesus and are filled with His Spirit, who we are is God-indwelled people with His power. Of whom shall we be afraid?

So here’s another question leaders ask when hesitating: “what if they don’t believe me or listen to what I say?” (Exodus 4:1). The problem is with those who fail to believe God, starting with the leader. What is the real cause of hesitation? Do you believe God when He says He is with you? Do you believe God when He says He empowers you? Do you believe the message He has given you to speak? Moses is on the precipice of failing to believe God.

If people don’t like what you have to say, it is because people fail to believe God. If they don’t listen, the problem is that people won’t listen to God. How often folks can be heard saying, “I believe in God, but . . .” These are the people we get to lead: people who believe God and those who think they do. We can’t lead those who outright don’t believe.

God equips Moses with three tools to overcome hesitation:

1. (3:12). God promises His very presence. Do you believe Him?
2. (4:1-9) God makes miracles happen. The evidence is in those who believe Him.
3. (4:10-17) God challenges our preconceptions of Him so we can live by faith.

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