By Brooke Holt
“So Moses cried to the Lord, ‘What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.’” Exodus 17:4
Leadership can prove quite challenging. As a leader, one can face demanding time requirements and needed expertise. However, a leader’s true challenge is dealing with people. People can prove hard to please, hard to motivate, and even harder to understand. Take a moment to consider the difficulties Moses faced while leading thousands of Israelites from bondage in Egypt to the Promised Land. As slaves in the land of Egypt for hundreds of years, many of these people did not know the Lord or remember his promises. They only knew God had acted miraculously to set them free from Egypt and then appointed Moses to lead them to their new home.
As the appointed leader, Moses took the brunt of their myriad of emotions. When they felt scared, they blamed Moses. When they felt hungry, thirsty, tired, uncertain – they blamed Moses for all of that, too, for he had led them from the land of Egypt into this desert place.
In Exodus 17, the Israelites had finished a long day of travel and were overwhelmed with thirst. Once again, they cried out against Moses. They saw it as his responsibility to provide them with water to drink. So, what was Moses to do? Cry out to the Lord, exactly what God invited the entire nation of Israel to do.
When Moses did not know how to lead, he petitioned the Lord in prayer. When the demands of the people overwhelmed him, he petitioned the Lord in prayer. When he needed the Lord to provide, Moses cried out to the Lord. And when he felt overcome by their criticism, Moses brought his questions and concerns before the Lord.
God longs for his people to do as Moses did. He sees the issues, he knows the needs, and yet he wants to be acknowledged and petitioned. Otherwise, who would recognize his hand at work or his care for the people?
What is amazing to watch throughout Moses’ ministry is how God hears him and responds to him. Moses has learned how to engage in continual dialogue with the Lord, and he is blessed with a dependency on the Lord that leads to perfect provision and care.
The Lord stands ready to do the same for you. He can help you in your roles of leadership, when you face criticism, or during times of need. He wants you to follow the model of Moses and to bring the fullness of your emotions, frustrations, and needs before him. Then wait, watch, and listen. Your good heavenly Father will make the way for you.
How do you respond to the challenges of this life, especially that of criticism? Do you know that God welcomes you with open arms. He wants to hear you, to understand you, and to lead you through the difficult situations of this life. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Awaken the awe and the wonder of Advent! “The King Is Coming” is a 4-week Advent devotional especially written with a child’s heart in mind. It takes families through the salvation story by focusing on who God is, the gift of Jesus, and the importance of celebrating and sharing that miraculous gift! Bring your family together this Advent season for a journey exploring God’s big love for you.
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