In today’s post we’ll talk about step 4 of 12 in the Leadership Journey. If you’ve missed any of the previous posts, we recommend reading those before getting started with step 4.
Along the way you’ll find questions to think through, journal about, and pray over. The path to leadership always runs first through self-awareness. We’d encourage you to utilize these questions as a guide.
The next stage in the leadership journey is a call to adventure. It’s where it becomes clearer now that you have to do something.
Exodus 2:16-17 : Now a priest of Midian had seven daughters, and they came to draw water and fill the troughs to water their father’s flock. Some shepherds came along and drove them away, but Moses got up and came to their rescue and watered their flock.
Moses may have seen the need for a deliverer of Israel but he wasn’t prepared for that to be him.
In Midian he was given a chance to practice “rescuing” the oppressed.
18 When the girls returned to Reuel their father, he asked them, “Why have you returned so early today?” 19 They answered, “An Egyptian rescued us from the shepherds. He even drew water for us and watered the flock.”
What did you notice?
For me it was “He even drew water for us and watered the flock.”
In the last lesson we talked about how “Midian” is a place to practice and develop your leadership skills.
“Midian” is also a place to develop the character needed to lead in “the kingdom”.
Leadership is caught more than it is taught.
Moses has been in the palace of Pharaoh for 40 years, watching how they led.
My guess is that he never saw those men ever serve anyone; that would certainly be beneath a Pharaoh, the most powerful man in the world who represented the gods on earth.
So here in Midian, Moses comes across seven women who are being bullied by shepherds. Shepherds were despised by the Egyptians because sheep damaged their crops and were worthless for food or sacrifice.
It probably was no big deal for Moses to see himself superior to them and drive them away, “I’m a prince in the palace of Pharaoh!” He has seen leaders with titles do this his entire life.
But he has probably never seen a leader serve someone beneath them.
Midian is a place where you are forced to do things that seem below you.
Whether he knew it or not Moses is practicing “Kingdom” leadership.
Matthew 23:11 The greatest among you will be your servant.
To be great in the kingdom is to serve.
Your biggest threat to your leadership is you!
Matthew 23:12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
Being a humble person is a choice. If you do it it’s called humility. If God or someone else does it it’s called humiliation.
Over and over again the Scriptures say, “humble yourself”.
We will come back to that.
Exodus 2:20 – “And where is he?” Reuel asked his daughters. “Why did you leave him? Invite him to have something to eat.” Moses agreed to stay with the man, who gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses in marriage.
Moses is in Midian, a land closer to the Promised Land than Egypt, married to stranger.
Moses knows this isn’t where he is supposed to be, so much so he names his son after the way he feels.
Exodus 2:22- Zipporah gave birth to a son, and Moses named him Gershom, saying, “I have become a foreigner in a foreign land.”
Can you imagine his thoughts, “God what are you up to?”
Let’s retrace his journey for a moment: Israel’s future seems hopeless, threatened by Pharaoh’s oppressive measures and his command to kill every Israelite baby boy. Moses, “no ordinary child” is somehow saved and becomes the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He spends his formative years being prepared for life in the palace. But he loses his influence and status when he tries to do what he thinks is right. He flees to the backside of the world, marries into a foreign family, and seems to be primed to live a life of obscurity.
Ever wonder what thoughts must have been going through Moses mind during the 38th or 39th year of tending sheep in Midian?
“This is what God had for me?”
Who have you seen lose their passion “for what could and should be” while they were in their “Midian”?
The Midian you experienced was an opportunity for you to grow in your character and skills; hopefully you took advantage of it.
But it maybe more about God preparing those that you might lead. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. God is getting his people ready!
Can you look back on your “Midian” and see how God was preparing others?
Exodus 2:24-25 God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.
No matter how bad things may appear to be, God’s purposes are being realized.
Exodus 3:1 – Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.
I believe God will take a leader through something before he allows them to lead others through it.
In Deuteronomy it says that the 40-year wilderness journey of God’s people was for this:
Deut 8:2 – Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.
He gave Moses the same opportunity I believe…to humble and test.
Which path have you been on: making yourself something or nothing?
Let’s face it in today’s leadership criteria Moses would have seemed like a failure. He had lost his position of power and authority, his fame and riches. And at that time he was carrying out the most menial type of work in a barren land!
What would you be thinking if you were Moses?
One of the greatest temptations in a desolate place without hope is to give up, or to settle for life the way it is, not the way it could be.
Ever been at a place where you just settled for life the way it is?
Moses, like all of us, needs something to wake us up, get our attention, to move us out of our complacency.
Exodus 3:2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 3 So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” 4 When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
Have you had a burning bush moment? What has God called you to do?
What are your takeaways from looking back at this stage of your journey?