Outside of the Lord himself, there is no other individual within the pages of Scripture about whom we know more than Moses. There are four books of the Old Testament dedicated to his leadership (Exodus), his role as lawgiver (Leviticus), his “survival skills” (Numbers), and his speeches (Deuteronomy). Within the pages of these four books God reveals to man an individual who did not seek fame or personal glory. Nevertheless, Moses was exactly the type of leader the children of Israel needed.
It is interesting to note that one of the greatest leaders of Biblical record was not, at first, a willing participant; when God calls Moses to lead the Israelites out of bondage (Exo. 3:1-10), Moses responds by giving every possible excuse he can find as to why God has made a mistake. However, his caution and fear in taking the job showed that he was exactly the type of leader Israel needed.
God found in Moses an individual who understood that he could not lead these people by himself. Rather, he needed help, not just from God, but from those around him as well. Without the assistance of men such as Jethro, Aaron, and Joshua, Moses’ life as leader of God’s people would have been even more difficult. Moses was not self-centered, but instead was willing on a number of occasions to sacrifice himself for the people he led. Therefore, it is obvious that as Moses led the people of Israel he placed his trust, not in himself, but in God.
There is no greater time at which this is seen than the parting of the Red Sea as recorded in Exodus 14. It is here that Moses shows his true nature and leadership qualities. Most important of all is the emphatic way in which Moses maintains his trust in God.
In considering the context of Exodus 14 it is recorded that the armies of Pharaoh have been sent to stop the exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt. God, leading the children of Israel by a cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night, has brought them to the banks of the Red Sea. It is at this point which the armies of Pharaoh overtake the children of Israel, and the children of Israel show their lack of faith in God. They approach Moses and cry, “Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? Wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of the land of Egypt? Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness” (Exo. 14:11-12). However, Moses will show two vital attributes of his trust in God.
He trusts in God with confidence. He responds to the despondent Israelites by telling them, “Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord which he will shew to you this day” (Exo. 14:13a). Moses has full confidence in the Lord, even though God has not yet told Moses what he will do, or what he expects Moses to do. Moses’ confidence rests in the fact that God has not forsaken them, nor brought them out here to die. Instead, he exudes his confidence by telling them to “stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord.” Moses proves himself to be a true leader through his confidence in God instead of himself.
He trusts in God completely. Notice the complete nature of Moses’ reply to the people. He says, “For the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more forever. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace” (Exo. 14:13b-14). Moses tells the children of Israel that God will not only save them, but defeat the Egyptians as well. There is no wavering or sign of fear in the statement of Moses, but an utter and complete acknowledgment of the power of God to take care of His people. God will prove that Moses’ faith was not in vain and will give Israel a way of escape from their Egyptian pursuers.
This instance is only the beginning of the exhibits which could be brought forth of the leadership qualities of this faithful servant of God. However, it sets before us the final understanding which Moses had in all things: God is in control, and our faith must be in him. With that understanding, men of today can also be the leaders God would have them be.