Moses: The Great
month we discussed Moses’ great leadership challenge. This month we
consider the result. Moses’ immediate goal was Mt. Sinai—the site of the
“burning bush” revelation. The Hebrew children came to the sacred
mountain, fired by the inspiration of their prophetic leader. Here Moses
climbed the mountain and received the Ten Commandments only to descend
and find the people deep in disobedience and sin. In anger he threw the
stone tablets containing the Commandments to the ground and broke them.
Later he again ascended the mountain and descended with tablets
containing the Ten Commandments.
The next 40 years would be a challenge
to this man who was perhaps the greatest leader the world had yet known.
In summing up these tough years, someone said, “While it only took about
40 hours for Israel to get out of Egypt, it took 40 years to get Egypt
out of Israel.”
The people murmured, grumbled and
complained things had been better in Egypt. At Kadesh-Barnea, Moses sent
out twelve men to spy on the Promised Land; ten returned terrified by
the giants in the land; only two (Joshua and Caleb) recommended taking
the land. The people rallied around the ten. Rather than entering the
Promised Land, they wandered 40 years in the wilderness. Joshua and
Caleb lived and would eventually enter the land.
Here is a fact often overlooked:
during this wilderness
time a nation was made. Through the 40 years in the Wilderness,
Moses overcame tremendous obstacles and shaped a horde of former slaves
into a nation—a nation set apart for a divine purpose and consecrated to
a high ethical and moral law which regulated the social and religious
life of the people. And before he died, Moses climbed the mountain,
viewed the Land and passed responsibility of leadership to his
successor, Joshua, whom he had been mentoring and preparing for the task
to enter the land.
Next month we look at one of three
great leadership lessons we can learn from Moses. He was a prototype of