Moses and Shared Leadership

I am thankful to God this week for two new elders at our church, Highland Christian Fellowship. R.D. Hodges and I have been elders for about four years now. Last Sunday we added Walt Stringer and James Wilkes. It was a long and beautiful process to see our fellowship seek God’s leadership in this (I should write about that, too). I love shared leadership. It is biblical and it makes sense. Having a plurality of elders was one of the primary findings in my dissertation The Authority of Church Elders in the New Testament.

I encountered in my Scripture reading this morning another affirmation of this principle. It is in Numbers 11, which is interesting in light of the fact that some point to Moses as the paradigm for a one-man leadership model.

Moses prayed, “I alone am not able to carry all this people, because it is too burdensome for me” (v. 14). God answered, “Gather for me seventy men from the elders of Israel. . . . I will take of the Spirit who is upon you, and will put Him upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you will not bear it all alone” (v. 17).

Sometimes it is difficult for men to share leadership. They become jealous and prideful. But “Moses was very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth” (Num. 12:3). When some men in the camp began to prophesy, manifesting that they also had received some of the Spirit, this bothered Joshua, Moses’ assistant. These men in the camp were not at the tent of meeting, where it seemed to Joshua that the official authorization of this shared leadership was imparted. Joshua said, “Moses, my lord, restrain them.”

How common it is to try to control such things. But Moses responded to Joshua, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them!” This demonstrates one of the most important qualities of a leader. His objective is not to have control, do things his way, and have all the leadership, gifting, and honor. His goal is the good of the people. And when more of the people are gifted and active in ministry and leadership, the more blessed and healthy the people are.

Wisdom is Moral

“But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? Man does not know its worth. . . . It cannot be bought for gold. . . . God understands the way to it, And he knows its place. . . . He saw it and declared it; He established it, and searched it out. And he said to man, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.’” Job 30:12-28

I was struck by the simplicity of these verses this morning. Wisdom is moral discernment and righteousness. “It cannot be bought for gold.” This reminds me of the highly valued “college education,” which is purchased. Wisdom cannot be obtained this way. Wisdom is different than knowledge. One can have knowledge and not discernment and righteousness. You can determine how wise you are based on whether your not you can discern evil and whether or not you turn away from it.

Making Plans?

If you are making plans, consider these Proverbs:

"Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way." Proverbs 19:2

"Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand." Proverbs 19:21

"Plans are established by counsel; by wise guidance wage war." Proverbs 20:18

"The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty." Proverbs 21:5

A Prayer for My Children

“May our sons in their youthbe like plants full grown, our daughters like corner pillars cut for the structure of a palace.” Psalm 144:12

May my sons be healthy, mature, productive young men. May my daughters be strong, beautiful young women, ready for honorable service.

What a contrast to our culture, which often produces immature, unprepared young men and women who are dependent consumers. I want to raise a different standard from my sons and daughters. I will do all I can to prepare them for a productive life of service.

The Necessity of Christ's Divinity for the Atonement

I have heard and often reasoned myself for the necessity of the divinity of Christ for the efficacy of the atonement. If Jesus were merely a man, and not God, then he could not pay for the sins of all who come. At best a perfect man could replace one other. I have never really seen this reasoning in Scripture, though, before this morning:

“Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of this life, for the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice, that he should live on forever and never see the pit. But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, For he will receive me.” Psalm 49:7-9, 15

Was Joseph Just Lucky?

“The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man. . . . His master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord caused all that he did to succeed in his hands.” Then, after he was thrown into prison: “But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison” (Gen 39:2-3, 21). As I read this, my heart cries out for the Lord to be with me in this way. So often I feel as though I am totally limited to my own human capabilities. I want God to manifest himself in my life. I want my life and ministry to be more than just what I can do.

So, was Joseph just lucky or chosen? Is there anything I can do have the Lord with me? Here is what Azariah prophesied to King Asa in 2 Chron. 15:2, “The Lord is with you while you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.” Later, Hanani said to him, “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him” (16:9). Joseph was not lucky or chosen, he simply took God up on his promises.

Quick to Believe

When the women reported that the angels had told them that Jesus was risen, “these words seemed tot hem an idle tale, and they did not believe them” (v. 11). “But Peter rose and ran to the tomb . . . and he went home marveling at what had happened” (v. 12). Peter believed; you can tell by how he responded. When walking on road to Emmaus with the two men, Jesus said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that he prophets have spoken” (v. 25). And he said to the disciples later, “Why do doubts arise in your hearts?” (v. 38).

Father, grant me a believing heart. Let me not be slow of heart to believe and have doubts arise in my heart. But instead, when I hear the Word of the Lord, let me immediately get up and run to the truth and see and live it for myself.