Exodus 17 and 18 are such practical chapters for people in leadership. In the first story, the Amalekites came out to fight against God’s people as they made their way through the wilderness. We don’t know why they instigated this battle, but Moses rose to the challenge and called on Joshua to lead an Israelite army in response. Moses’ role would not be on the front lines. Instead, he told Joshua he would station himself on the top of the hill (overlooking the battle) with the staff of God in his hand.
The staff represented God’s power and authority. As Moses watched the battle, he raised the staff up as a symbol of dependence on God. As long as his hand stayed up, the Israelites prevailed; when his hand grew tired and he had to lower the staff, the enemy prevailed. Thankfully, Moses had brought Aaron and Hur with him. They sat Moses on a rock between them and stood beside him, holding up his hands, keeping the staff of God raised until the sun went down, and victory was secure.
In the second story, Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, comes for a visit. He watches as the people line up from morning to evening, waiting for an audience with Moses, to settle their questions and disputes. Jethro sees immediately that Moses has taken on too much. He tells him “the task is too heavy; you cannot do it alone.” He wisely advises Moses to find a group of godly, honest men of integrity with whom he can share the burden of governing the people. Moses sets men over groups of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens. His role changes as he advises and leads the leaders and personally deals with only the most difficult disputes. What a great resolution to an overwhelming problem!
These sound like simple solutions, don’t they? Yet how many times do we ignore the obvious wisdom found in these two passages? No matter what your role in life, whether it’s the CEO of a large corporation, running your own small business, pastoring a church, serving in an administrative position, being a stay-at-home mom, or taking care of a sick relative, we all face spiritual and physical battles, and we all have leadership roles of some nature. Someone is always depending on us!
Moses’ example shows us that we don’t have to do it alone. We need godly people around us to “hold up our hands,” as we walk and work in dependence and obedience to God. We need mentors and our spiritual family around us because we will grow tired and overwhelmed at times. We need to build a trustworthy team to share the load, whether it’s a group of other moms to switch off babysitting duties to give ourselves a break, convincing our boss that he needs to add staff to better accomplish the goals of the company, or taking a realistic look at everything we’ve taken on responsibility for and asking God if it’s really what He wants us to do.
Teamwork, encouragement, and accountability. Hmmm. T – E – A. Maybe we will all need to slow down and have a tea party! 😊 (Sorry, couldn’t resist!)
What’s on your plate today? Have you been dreading Monday morning? Maybe you need an Aaron, or Hur, or Jethro in your life today. Or maybe there’s someone you know of who is overwhelmed with life and its duties today, and you need to be their Aaron or Hur, or be willing to step up and use your gifts on their team. We all need each other. As Jethro said, You cannot do it alone.