Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go up this mountain
in the Abarim Range and see the land I have given the Israelites.
Numbers 27:12 (NIV)
After you have seen it, you too will be gathered to your people, as your brother Aaron was,for when the community rebelled at the waters in the Desert of Zin, both of you disobeyed my command to honor me as holy before their eyes.” (These were the waters of Meribah Kadesh, in the Desert of Zin.)
Moses said to the Lord, “May the Lord, the God who gives breath to all living things, appoint someone over this community to go out and come in before them, one who will lead them out and bring them in, so the Lord’s people will not be like sheep without a shepherd.”
Numbers 27:13-17 (NIV)
For some people the idea of being a leader in God’s service is romantic and glamorous. There is something highly attractive to some people about speaking for the Lord and directing His work in this world.
Yet, as we today’s Scripture we soon discover the high cost of leadership in the Christian community.
Very few people really think long and hard about the scene that occurred when Moses and the nation arrived at the border of Canaan to enter the promised land. As you may recall, Moses, Joshua and Caleb wanted the people to immediately enter the promised land and possess it as the Lord had commanded.
The people rebelled and so God punished their disobedience by having them march around the desert for 40 years until all of the rebels had died. The point is that Moses had 40 years of his life wasted in the desert.
The second high cost of leadership for Moses was how he paid for his own sin as the people’s leader. The nation had grumbled against the Lord (Numbers 20:1-13) because of the lack of water. Then Moses dishonoured the Lord in how he dealt with the frustrating problem.
We may believe that Moses was frustrated with the people’s complaint but as leader he ought to have obeyed the Lord completely and to have honoured Him in the situation. His punishment was that he would not lead the people into the promised land.
The greatness of Moses is seen in his immediate response to the Lord when informed that he would not enter the promised land. Instead of complaining about his great punishment he immediately asked the Lord to arrange for a successor for himself if he was soon to die.
How we need to pray for the spiritual leaders among us that they accept willingly the consequences of the sins of the people they lead. Also we need to pray that we do not provoke our spiritual leaders into committing sin as Moses did.