Moses was the most humble man on the face of the earth (Numbers 12:3). He showed his humility when his staff, congregation and elders challenged his authority and leadership. First Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses (see numbers 12). The Lord called all three out to the Tent of the Meeting and spoke to them. The Lord wanted to know why Miriam and Aaron weren’t afraid to speak against Moses whom God had chosen to lead His people. When the Lord departed, Miriam had leprosy. It would be human nature to agree with God’s discipline, but Moses interceded on her behalf and God relented. The leprosy would last only for a week.
In Numbers 14, the whole assembly is discouraged because of the bad report from ten of the spies. They were ready to stone Moses when the Lord intervened again. God said He would strike them down with a plague for their unbelief and make Moses into an even greater nation. How many Christian leaders would pass that test? If your congregation was about to stone you and God Himself said He was going to do away with them and give you an even greater ministry. Wouldn’t you feel just a little bit vindicated and maybe excited about your news of having a bigger ministry? That is not how Moses felt. He was concerned about God’s reputation. What would the pagan nations think if God brought these people out into the wilderness and destroyed them? Moses prayed that God would withhold His judgment and God did. Like Miriam, the people would have to suffer some consequences.
In Numbers 16, Moses is tested again. This time the community leaders who had been appointed members of the council rose up against Moses. Again the Lord intervened and said to Moses and Aaron, “Separate yourselves from this assemble so I can put an end to them at once” (Numbers 16:20). How many of us wouldn’t be making a fast retreat? Moses again cried out to God. “O God, God of the spirits of all mankind, will you be angry with the entire assemble when only one man sins” (Numbers 16:22)? Again God relented and the ground swallowed up only the leaders and their families.
If you are a pastor or leader and wonder why God doesn’t intervene for you when the people reject your leadership, you missed the point. Moses wasn’t praying that God judge those who rebelled against him. He was praying that God would withhold judgment. Would our churches profit more if their pastor prayed for God’s judgment upon his staff, board and congregation, or would they profit more if the pastor prayed that God would withhold His judgment? God said in Ezekiel 22:30, “I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not destroy it, but I found none.” God is looking for more servant leaders like Moses.
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