The Burden of Leadership (Numbers 20)

Numbers 20:12 And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.

This chapter gives us an honest look at the challenges and burdens of leadership. Moses has been leading the people month after month for over 40 years, and he was getting weary of the burden.

First we notice in this chapter that both his sister and his brother pass away (v.1,28). Next, we see his frustration with the people he is leading. The continual need for food and water and their continual complaining finally drive him to the breaking point. He hits the rock twice in anger instead of speaking to the rock as God commanded. Third, we see Moses’ plan to travel through Edom are frustrated. The king refused to let them pass without a fight, so they turn and go a different direction.

Discouragement, disappointment, anger, frustration, opposition, and weariness are all things that will both try and test the character and faith of those in leadership. The fundamental issue is not whether we will have an easy path, but whether we will believe the Lord in the midst of all these difficulties.

In Numbers 20:12, God emphasised this by saying, “Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel…” The job of spiritual leadership is not to solve all the problems or to even be a “success” by the standards of others – it is to point people to the Lord, to be an example of faith, and to lead others to know and do God’s will.

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