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Saturday, June 7, 2008

Leading Some People Can Be a Tough Challenging Difficult Calling: Real Leadership is Seldom Easy!

By Sandy Shaw

God had brought His chosen people out of Egypt, under the strong powerful leadership of Moses, but Egypt was not yet out of them! That is always the harder thing to do.

When we come to Jesus Christ - Jesus saves us from our sins - He rescues us out of our messes - but to get the sin out of us can be a different matter - the envy - jealousy - longings - desires - the looking back to our former way of life. To get all that out of us is a very different matter.

Now they are wishing they were dead. Oh how some people exaggerate situations!

After a whole series of amazing miracles as Moses led them from slavery into freedom there is now a problem with the food supply.

The Hebrews were remembering what they had to eat, back in Egypt, while they were in their sinful and sore captivity, and they seem to be longing to get back into all that.

Was it really as good as all that in the good old days, Israel? No - of course it wasn't.

In verse 3 of Exodus Chapter 16, they accuse Moses of deliberately wanting to destroy them. People can generate such fantasies at times. God had delivered them - released them from all that suffering - the bricks - the quotas - the targets. They so soon forgot.

God is so graciously going to give them bread, and He is going to give them meat.

He is going to give them bread - miraculously - and He is going to give them what they need - but with a test - verses 4 and 5.

On the sixth day they are to bring in as much manna as they will need for two days - and one principle here is - there has to be a Sabbath days rest in their lives from the very beginning. The principle is here, before THE LAW!

So that the people will know that the Lord is in control, Moses and Aaron explain., but we see who they have really been grumbling against - the Lord God Almighty.

This is made very clear - when we grumble against or complain against the anointed servants of the Lord - we are not simply complaining against men - but against the Lord God Who chose and called and raised up these men - these leaders. Note how this is repeated a few times here - and it is not just Moses rubbing it in - if we miss it first time round God gives us another opportunity. Surely it would register after a while.

In verse 10 another cloud appears - a cloud of quails. Quails are little birds, and they migrate in thousands, and they become exhausted in their flying, until they hop over the ground or fly at just a few feet off the ground, and can be caught fairly easily.

And the bread - verses 13 to 15 - they wondered what it was - and they called it MANNA - 'what's it'!

In verses 17 and 18 we learn that each had what each needed and required. Now that should be happening each time we come to read and hear the Word of God - each should be receiving just what each of us needs.

But then there came a test - 19 and 20 - and some failed the test. If you grab more than you should - or if you keep what is meant for sharing - if you disobey what the Lord God is saying to you in some way - then things will go wrong - things will go maggoty - things will begin to smell.

Some would not take God at His Word. You cannot get around this miracle. There is no way you can explain it away.

In John chapter 6, Jesus Christ referred to this manna and explained, "I am the bread of life".

Eat Me and you will have life that will go on for ever - eternal life - and, we need every Word of Jesus Christ Who is the Word of God - because man cannot live by bread alone.

That is why we who belong to Jesus Christ feed upon Jesus and His Word. There comes that time when the world and the things of the world just cannot satisfy you.

When God deals with His people, He aims first at inspiring faith - and promoting spiritual maturity and responsibility - but can at the same time expose unbelief as the sinful evil thing it is. These two things are always present when Jesus is speaking and working and moving among His people.

There is another lesson here too - the very opportunities for the deepening of our faith can also be occasions for doubt and questioning and disobedience.

Some of these people just decided to disregard Moses warnings - revealing an underlying attitude which should teach us all to keep well clear of.

What Moses had said ran contrary to what they were inclined to do - and they reacted, "Why should we do what he says? Why should we listen to him? Let's pay no attention to this funny teaching about not taking more than we need."

They were found out.

God is at the very heart of this.

Verse 32 - Some of the manna was to be kept in a jar - where the people were later to worship. When they came to worship and praise the living God, they would see the manna - the bread - and they would be reminded that it was the Lord God Who was providing for their material needs - that it was Almighty God who was supplying all they required.

We require reminders of His Love and Mercy - each of us needs to be reminded regularly - so that we remain grateful and thankful.

Surely that would be their grumbling over for ever - not so - into Chapter 17 - where we read that they are short of water again - and again they argue with Moses - harping back to former days.

They accuse Moses of leading them and their cattle out of Egypt so that all would die! Haven't we learned this time and time again- once we deal with one problem another one soon crops up - once we get one thing out of the way, something new suddenly arises.

They are dry and thirsty, but this time they almost push Moses to the brink. The situation is once again very serious, with yet another leadership crisis.

We must learn not to push God too hard, and never play around with His promises.

We have seen what happened to Pharaoh when he thought he could get off with things and God dealt with him. But here, the Lord God continues to be so gracious and merciful - and when Moses does what he is told to do - water pours out of the rock.

We are told in Corinthians that that water was from Christ the Rock!

The pre-incarnate Christ - the Son of God was following this dear people - and they were unaware of it!

Today - as you read your Bible - as you pray - get what you need - that refreshing water from Christ the Rock - and that nourishing manna from Jesus the Bread of Life. Get what you came for. There is plenty. Eat and drink. We will never drain Him of resources. Swallow what God sets before you - with real thanksgiving - with true thanksgiving - and be truly satisfied.

Sandy Shaw

Sandy Shaw is Pastor of Nairn Christian Fellowship, Chaplain at Inverness Prison, and Nairn Academy, and serves on The Children's Panel in Scotland, and has travelled extensively over these past years teaching, speaking, in America, Canada, South Africa, Australia, making 12 visits to Israel conducting Tours and Pilgrimages, and most recently in Uganda and Kenya, ministering at Pastors and Leaders Seminars, in the poor areas surrounding Kampala, Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu.

He broadcasts regularly on WSHO radio out of New Orleans, and writes a weekly commentary at entitled "Word from Scotland" on various biblical themes, as well as a weekly newspaper column.

His M.A. and B.D. degrees are from The University of Edinburgh, and he continues to run and exercise regularly to maintain a level of physical fitness.

Sandy Shaw

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