The book of Exodus is absolutely intriguing. Beautiful, powerful, full of conflict and confrontations. Of course, we typically think of that conflict being between Pharoah and Moses, not between Moses and his own people.
But there was indeed conflict, just as Moses entered the scene to deal with Pharoah. In Exodus 5, the very first time he and Aaron ask Pharaoh to let the people go, Pharoah responds cruelly. Whereas they normally gave the people straw to make bricks (back-breaking work already), they now have to go gather the straw themselves. No es bueno. So the story goes:
Moses goes to Pharoah on behalf of God, to help the people.
Pharoah gets ticked and hurts the people.
The people get ticked at Moses.
As a leader, have you ever observed this progression?
Well, let’s be real—the Israelites have been stuck in the mud a long time. All they can see is what’s in front of them: mud and bricks. Not very inspiring.
When we are consumed with today’s problems, we need someone to show us what tomorrow can and will look like.
We call those people leaders.
But Moses doesn’t answer with great vision, reminding them of God’s greatness, power, and care for them. Instead, he gets insecure and whines to God that they’re picking on him.
Now, God is awesome so it kind of all works out. And Moses is just at the beginning of his leadership journey so he does learn some lessons along the way (because of course, this is not the last time he would have to deal with short-sighted Israelites). But we are given this history not only to show the greatness of God, but also how we should respond ourselves in these situations.
As leaders, sometimes our people are in pain. Pain puts us in survival mode, and survival mode only cares about what’s right in front of us. It also often causes us to lash out at whoever we can blame for our troubles, even if that’s the very person who’s trying to help. Their pain causes to them to attack us, then we feel pain and go into survival mode, and the cycle continues. And at that point, Satan can just sit back and enjoy the show.
OR we can take a different road. We can remind ourselves of what He said in the first place. We can remember that He cares about the fulfillment of His vision far more than we ever will. And we can gently and humbly remind our people…because, well, that’s what leaders do.
So go remind someone today of the enormous potential of their future, and see if it lifts their head out of the mud.