Many people look at the Moses-style of leadership as autocratic, authoritarian, and absolute: there’s this one guy through whom everything must go, kind of thing. Personally, I don’t see this to be the case.
First things first, Moses always sees himself as second-in-command to the Lord.
Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”
[God] said, “But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”
Moses is also painfully aware of his own shortcomings (4.10), and at one point even asks NOT to be the leader (4.13). He settles for a situation wherein he basically relays information from God via Aaron,
[God] said, “Is there not Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he can speak well. Behold, he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth, and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth and will teach you both what to do. He shall speak for you to the people, and he shall be your mouth, and you shall be as God to him.And take in your hand this staff, with which you shall do the signs.”
He grows into the role, as all leaders do, and is firmly established by God as ‘the guy‘ (Numbers 12). It is then in Exodus 18 that we see a key piece of leadership structure, a piece of information those seeking to discredit Moses and this style often overlook.
His Father-in-Law says, look,
“What you are doing is not good. You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone. Now obey my voice; I will give you advice, and God be with you! You shall represent the people before God and bring their cases to God, and you shall warn them about the statutes and the laws, and make them know the way in which they must walk and what they must do. Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. And let them judge the people at all times. Every great matter they shall bring to you, but any small matter they shall decide themselves. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. If you do this, God will direct you, you will be able to endure, and all this people also will go to their place in peace.”
Clear then; God in control, leadership covenant with one man, who then appoints other men to care for groups of people within the wider family. We see this mirrored in the New Testament with Jesus, the Church, Pastors, and Elders (see Ephesians 1.22, 4.10-12, 5.23, Colossians 2.10, Titus 1.5).
What this means for you is that we all have the opportunity to live and serve and thrive in structures that God has tried, tested, and found to be true over many, many years.
For you, this means that Jesus is the Head of any church you are part of. If He is not, it may be time to gracefully talk to those in leadership.
For you, this means that the plans and protections that God has always put in place for His people are still there for you. Is there a better place to be?
If you are journaling along with this series, try this today – who has God put in these roles in my life? What is my role in my current location? How can I support those in God-appointed roles in my life?