As I read through the chapters in Exodus I got to the part where Moses had lead the people to the Red Sea and they were about to be met by the Egyptian army when the pharaoh had realized that he should have not let them go. (Chapter 14) The thought that came to mind in the way of leadership was this. Anytime you take a position on leadership, you can expect for not everyone to understand your decisions or to be happy about the way you do things. They question your decisions, your actions, and your motives.
The Israelites panicked and started grumbling to Moses. They asked him “Were there not any graves in Egypt that we could have been buried in, we have to come out here and die in the dessert?” (Ex 14:11-12) This is the first of many times that the Israelites complain and rebel against the plans that God has for them. This time, God didn’t allow them to complain to long. He quickly told Moses to stretch out his arms and let the people cross the red sea on dry land.
So as a leader, what should you do if you find yourself face to face with the grumblings and complaints of those you are trying to lead? Here are a few points from the scripture.
- Moses answered the people’s complaints and questions. He didn’t ignore them and say, you silly little people, I’m the leader, now just hush and follow me. The first thing Moses said was to not be afraid. Sometimes we all need that reminder as we step into new territory in our faith. Next he reminded the people that God was in control even when things didn’t seem like it or look hopeful.
- Moses listened to God and took action. When God sets you as a leader in anyway you have to remember that you must follow through with the plans you have. If you stop and deal with the complainers and grumblers you will still be there weeks later trying to fix everything. Sometimes the best way to stop the negative talk is to take action and let the results speak for themselves.
I love Exodus 14:14, a friend gave it to me as a encouragement a few months ago, and I was reminded of it a few weeks ago in a sermon and again tonight as I read the chapter.
The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still. – Exodus 14:14
When you know that God has called you into a direction and called you to a place of leadership, you can rest assure that He will help you work through and complete the task. If God has called you to lead a class, lead a position in a ministry, or even a leadership position in a secular area, you know that He will be with you, just like He was with Moses in the Pillar of fire and of cloud leading them through the dessert.
Being new in a leadership position you have to earn the respect of the people you are leading. Just because you have the title, doesn’t mean you have earned it yet. That respect relationship takes time and a shared experience with those you lead. The last verse in chapter 14 sums up the results of Moses’ first test as a leader, see it below.
And when the Israelites saw the great power the LORD displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant. – Exodus 14:31