Leadership In Numbers

I contribute to another blog titled Sixty-six Books in a Year (Check my Blog roll).  I contribute to this blog two Tuesdays a month.  It’s a blog that follows the Bible reading plan for a year schedule.  Well, today was one of my Tuesdays to post, and my assigned passage was Numbers 10&11.  Since I chose Numbers 11:16&17 as the two verses I focused on and they were on leadership, I thought I would post it here as well.  Hopefully it will challenge you like it did me as I worked through the writing of it.  


  ”Then the LORD said to Moses, “Gather for me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them, and bring them to the tent of meeting, and let them take their stand there with you.  And I will come down and talk with you there. And I will take some of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them, andthey shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you may not bear it yourself alone,”  Numbers 11:16&17. (ESV)


The children of Israel were complaining so much that in the beginning of this chapter God sends a consuming fire and destroys some of them.  It gets so bad that Moses starts to complain to God.  He has had it with the Israelites and complains to God for ever giving him this assignment to lead these people.  So we get to these two verses.  God hears Moses’ complaint and has him call for 70 elders to come and share the responsibility of leadership with him.  In so doing God takes some of His Spirit away from Moses and gives Him to the others that have been chosen.  Moses looses some of the Holy Spirit power he has had since being obedient to God’s call to lead Israel to the promised land.  The consequences for followers and leaders alike can be far reaching when complaining takes place.  In a sense what Moses did was question God’s will for his life and the assignment He had given him as a leader.


I wonder if Moses could sense the Spirit’s power leaving him.  Did he realize what result his complaining would bring?  I lead God’s people and in the past I have complained about my assignment (In this season of my life I am thankful for those He has given me to lead and wonder at times whether I am up to the task.).  I have wondered why.  At times I have felt like my back was against the wall, like God had me trapped with His people.  I wonder how much of his Spirit’s power He took from me.  I have friends who crashed and burned in ministry.  They told me they did everything God called them to do, but when it came to crunch time, when it got hard, He didn’t show up.  He let them down big time.  I need to look at the hard times of leadership as growing times for me as well as the people.  I need to ask God for perseverance even when my followers are complaining.  I need to look to God and not the people I lead if I want power and strength for the assignment I’ve been given.  I never want some of the Spirit’s power to be taken away from me because I complain to him about the people He has given me to lead.  I know He doesn’t take away any of the Spirit, but chooses to exercise less power in my life and leadership activities because I have complained.  In times past I have been short-sighted not seeing what He was doing in those hard times when I complained.  He was preparing me for the responsibilities of today, of facing the challenges the lie before me now.  


Father, I confess there have been times I have complained to you about those you have given me to lead.  I wasn’t accepting Your will for me in those situations.  Please forgive me.  I ask for a new vision for ministry and leadership, one that sees the challenges and the push back from others as opportunities to trust Your Holy Spirit.  I pray that the rough times in leadership will make me a better person for Your Glory.  I pray these things in the strong name of Jesus, Amen. 


2 responses to “Leadership In Numbers

  1. These are good insights and even better application, Dave. I know you chose a narrow focus for your blog, but I want to suggest that this dispersion of the Holy Spirit wasn’t all bad. Part of mentoring and developing the people behind you is that they begin to take on some of the burden and therefore the rewards and glory for their successes. So in a sense, it’s a win when some of God’s Spirit rests on them. It’s a natural progression – kind of a “I must decrease; they must increase” type of thing.

    I’d never put this passage together before with Exodus 18, but those are two parallel passages in the sense of Moses learning how to delegate and share the burden of responsibility.

  2. Thank you, Roy, for the comment. In the sixty-six books blog we are supposed to keep the focus quite narrow. I totally agree with you on your take of the positive side of what happened. I did think of it from that perspective also.
    I agree, I hadn’t thought of the Exodus 18 passage being a parallel or continuation of the leadership lessons Moses was learning.
    Thank you for reading the blog.

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