Summary: This is the twelfth message in a series over the life of Moses that shows being God's man is never easy. This message examines the risks associated with leadership.
True or false: leadership is risky. As we make our way through these few chapters of the Book of Numbers we will discover that Moses will once again be reminded of this fact as he is forced to deal with several difficult situations. Each situation he faces will show that effective leadership requires wisdom, patience and creativity. As it was true in Moses’ day it is even truer in our postmodern society. Never before in history have we been more independent, mobile and stubborn. By nature people reject boundaries, structure and any other attempt to confine us. This has become truer in our culture than ever before. Today, we have smart phones that allow us to work and communicate from basically anywhere. We are encouraged as leaders to take risks and to think outside the box. Never before have we had more ways to keep in touch with others. Successful leaders know how to navigate the waters of social media and to use technology in their effort to successfully lead others. Today as we look that risks that Moses faced we will gain a better understanding of the risks that we will face. If we are not careful facing risk can bring us down spiritually. Our goal today is to discover some relevant principles that will help us navigate the difficult waters of leadership.
I. Catching up with the Hebrew people on their journey.
A. What’s new with them?
1. The people have received God’s law and have constructed a portable worship center according to God’s specifications.
2. Besides the pillar of cloud and pillar of fire God has added trumpets to their navigation system.
3. The priests were to use these silver trumpets to accomplish five things.
a. To assemble the people.
b. To call the heads of each tribe to assemble.
c. To let the people know it was time to pack up and move out.
d. To warn the people of an impending attack.
e. To be used during feasts and festivals.
4. The Sinai experience effectively introduces the people to the expectations God had for them as a nation.
B. Where are they?
1. The people are beginning the second year of their journey through the desert.
2. The people are overjoyed by the prospects of leaving the desolate area of Sinai behind them. They move out with trumpets blowing, singing and flags waving.
3. They begin the journey toward their next destination which is Kadesh.
4. This journey will prove to be quite problematic for several reasons.
a. The journey will take several months.
b. They will set up camp twenty times along the way.
c. The route will take them through another desert. The desert of Paran.
5. Needless to say the stage is set for Moses to really have his hands full.
II. Understanding what it means to take a risk.
A. Finding the definition for the word risk.
1. Our old friend Webster defines risk this way. “The possibility of loss or injury.”
2. Risk is the threat of something that could happen in a given situation.
3. The thought of facing any level of risk can cause us to feel uneasy or in some cases be overcome with fear.
4. The possibility of risk is what makes situations unpredictable and difficult to prepare for.
B. Understanding what risk looks like in our lives.
1. As leaders it means that there will be a constant target painted on our backs.
2. As Christians it will mean that we will constantly run the risk of being persecuted for our faith.
3. As Christians we will always face the risk of being exposed to situations that can destroy us spiritually.
4. There is also the risk of being attacked by Satan in order to render us ineffective for the Kingdom.
III. Moses understood the risks associated with being a leader.
A. Dealing with risks can cause discouragement and depression.
1. After trading one desert for another, the people begin to complain once again. This time it only took three days for the spirit of optimism to depart.
2. The people begin to complain about their hardships despite all of the ways God has continuously provided for them.
a. Couldn’t God have chosen a better route?
b. We are sick and tired of this manna and water diet.
3. God has finally had enough of their complaining as He sees it as a lack of faith and lack of gratitude.
4. Moses being tired of the pettiness of the people becomes so discouraged and depressed that asks God to kill him on the spot.
5. God sticks by Moses and sets a plan in motion to lift some of the burden off of Moses’ shoulders and to lift his spirits.
a. Moses workload will now be shared by seventy leaders.