by Dr. Mark Foley
Moses.File 1 The Assignment
Note 1.1 The Conversation. Exodus 3:1-10
It is known as the "burning bush" experience. It was more impactful that words can express.. Moses would never forget the day he met the God of the universe and the conversation that followed.
Imagine the uniqueness of such a conversation. . .an ongoing exchange between a man and God in terms clearly understood by both. It does not matter "how" it happened, but it surely does matter "that" it happened. That conversation represented a manner of relationship between a man and God that had not existed since Adam in the garden of Eden. It was dynamic, close, and personal...a relationship that God initiated and maintained through the entirety of Moses' life.
I view that conversation as the key to Moses' long-term effectiveness as a leader. It included God's initiation to a man who knew about Him but who did not know Him. Here is God's formal introduction to his reluctant leader and the God-assignment that defined Moses' life. The moments of that conversation became the touch-stone to which Moses returned regularly as the assignment unfolded and challenges presented.
A dynamic close relationship with God through Jesus is key to your effectiveness. Here is something that might help you understand how it works. Light in the Star.1; Light in the Star.2; and Light in the Star.3
Note 1.2 Negotiations. Exodus 5:1-22
Exodus Chapter 4 ends on a high note. All concerned are excited about the prospects. Then comes Ch. 5.
Attempts to negotiate a settlement with the king of Egypt fail completely. Worse, the king intensifies his harsh position. Worse still, support of the combined Hebrew tribes evaporates. So, Moses went back to God. God has not amended His position. The king would not negotiate. The people want out of the deal. It is not a fun place to be for a leader. You have likely been there.
Remember the conversation at the bush in Ch. 3 as you read Ch. 6 to discover Moses’ next move. That dynamic close relationship and the constant availability of God become important. As Moses and you will learn...that relationship is not a parachute ripcord, it is an operational norm.
Note 1.3 The Name. Exodus 6:1-13
Verses 2 and 3 contain the key to God's relationship with Moses. God changed the name by which Moses was to refer to Him...from El Shaddai "God Almighty" to Yaweh "The Lord."
Why? Do some digging on-line to discover God's purpose. Here is a link that may help...https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/exodus-6/
Along the way, you have been beaten up in deals that just would not work right. In those times, encouragement is a precious commodity. Look at how God dealt with Moses. He reenforced his promise from "the bush" and left no doubt in Moses's mind as to His intent and power to accomplish it.
You have been in Moses's shoes. Read through the encounter with attention to the words of God..."I am.." "I will..." Then take note of how God concludes his instruction to Moses and Aaron.
It all relates to the name change...a name that reveals the character of relationship.
Note 1.4 Between the Rock and the Hard Place. Exodus 7-10
This is a long segment, known through the ages as the plagues of Egypt, in which God exercised His power in increasingly impacting ways. It is interesting to look at the plagues, but our focus is on Moses, the leader in training.
He was operating without margin between a clearly directed and unwavering assignment from God (the rock) and the unwavering pride of a king (the hard place). That situation is not unfamiliar to you. Business and the elements related to the effective conduct of business often put you in that kind of bind. As a follower of Jesus with a sense of assignment in a particular business initiative, you will encounter any number of rigid factors that prohibit progress. You are the leader, and the responsibility for discovering the path forward is yours. Take a lesson from Moses.
The situational summary and outcome is in Exodus 7:1-6. Take a look. What did Moses learn from that encounter about how he must position himself for effectiveness when he returned to engage the king? Here's a clue...it was all about the power of God.
Moses was operating solely upon the promise of God. Remember the bush encounter...Exodus 3:6 and Exodus 3:12. Watch Moses during the plagues. He stays connected to God...listening for step-by-step instruction. The instructions are delivered clearly, and he executes them precisely without hesitation. You might speculate that he was nervous being the one guy in the world that the king most hated. If so, there is no record of it. What you see is a leader gaining in confidence by faith based upon the promise of God.
What is the promise of God to you? Here's a link that will help you find out.
Note 1.5 Unusual Influence. Exodus 7:1
I almost missed it…the first verse of Chapter 7, something to which God told Moses to pay close attention…an exceptionally important aspect of the remarkable effectiveness that Moses began to demonstrate.
Read the verse. See if you pick up on it.
I find it fascinating that this eighty-year old sheep herder was able to come and go from the king’s court with impunity as tensions escalated between the two men. How is it that the king refrained from action to end Moses’ access or worse, to end his life?
I have been to the White House. Access required extensive processing starting weeks prior to arrival. Even with pre-clearance, there were two full stops and spot clearances to enter. It is hard to imagine just driving up and walking in. Yet, that is what Moses seems to have done frequently in negotiations with the king of Egypt.
The answer is in this verse. The king acted in deference to Moses because God, as part of His equipping for the assignment, planted esteem for Moses in the king’s mind…”like God.” God’s favor is essential to effective leadership. As it was with Moses, so it is with you.
To that point, here is a common question. "How do I get God’s favor (so I can get this deal done)?" It is a self-serving question that emerges from pride. And the answer is, "You won't."
Here is a better question. "How do I find God in this matter?" It is a question asked by a leader who understands that God is, and he is not. It emerges from humility. It seeks God on His terms. Ask Him how He wants you to handle the leadership challenge before you. Trust Him to take care of what happens next.
Here is something I wrote that will help you understand how to ask the better question. . . The Follower’s Position.
Note 1.6 The Deal is Sealed. Exodus 12
Egypt’s economy had been wrecked by a series of catastrophic occurrences…polluted water supply; infestation of frogs, gnats, and flies; mysterious death of livestock; widespread skin disease; devastating hail that killed crops; swarms of locusts; and intense darkness across the country. Yet, the king remains defiant.
The final blow to Egypt is communicated to Moses in what is now a familiar way, “Then the Lord said to Moses...” You see it in Exodus 11:1-3.
The Moses you see now is a much different man from the one you saw listening to God at a burning bush. He has experienced the wonder and power of an ongoing personal relationship with God in which God communicates in a clear and discernable manner to him and he to God.
He has seen things happen exactly as God indicated they would be. There is no doubt in this leader’s mind as to the reality and power of the One he has come to call “The Lord my God.” Moses knows without shadow of doubt that God is leading him step by critical step through these opening challenges in the assignment he was given. That knowledge, gained in these early stages, will prove essential in the leadership challenges that are to come.
Moses stands confident, not in himself, but in the reality of God as the deal is sealed with the Hebrew people. Phase one in the assignment is complete. The people are leaving Egypt. Note that the deal is marked in a poignant unmistakable way that is to be remembered annually thereinafter. Read about it. . . Exodus 12, verses 1-7, 14, 21-22, 31, 35-36, 42, and 51.
Here is your takeaway. The effectiveness of your leadership will not be measured by the attempts, successes, or failures that are part of business cycles but by the consistency of your relationship with Jesus and the unshakable confidence in His nature, His reality, His love, and His purpose that defines your engagement with the business, your colleagues, your employees, and your customers.
Learn His way. When He acts, mark it and acknowledge it.
“Then the Lord said to Moses" . . . and to you.