Feet at the Jordan
The Pressure of Leadership by Faith
From start to finish, the process of deliverance out of
and into the Promised Land was an enterprise of faith. The burden for that faith however fell upon certain ones who were placed by God into the position of spiritual leadership of the people. This leadership required proximity to the Lord to intimately hear His Voice and to know His Ways. Egypt
There was no room for guesswork here. It was imperative for Moses and then Joshua to hear from God. For God never made things easy. To follow God by faith, Moses and Joshua were constantly being “backed into corners” of apparent life threatening situations—not of their own lives only, but of the millions whom they had been raised up to lead.
The hearing required of these men was a hearing to be had only by the spending of much much time before God in the worship of His sanctuary. Those not in the place of leadership and who did not spend that kind of time with the Lord were dependent on their leaders for the hearing of what God was saying to all. The leadership served by default as intermediaries between God and the people, though they did not want it to be this way. “Would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets,” said Moses.
Nevertheless, in the corporate enterprise that the burgeoning nation of
was becoming, this is the way it was. The few had to hear for the many. And the few who absolutely had to hear were forced to do so out of the pressure of life and death situations—time and time again. There was never any let up in this. From the first stance before Pharaoh to the crossing of the Jordan, the only way made available was the way of action that preceded sight—action that involved incredible risk if the leaders were wrong, and which for the leaders had little to no human confirmation for what they were contemplating doing. Joshua could not turn to the congregation and say, “I think God is telling all two million of us to go stand in front of the Israel today and then it will open for us. Can I get a witness to that?” Jordan
There is nothing more unbearable than the pressure of leadership required to hear from God on behalf of the course of others, and to make decisions based on faith that will risk their welfare, yet is unable to be confirmed by those they lead that what they contemplate doing on their behalf is indeed from the Lord. This is the cost of leadership under faith.
It is such pressure however that turns men of weak faith into men of strong faith and those of strong faith into those of strongest faith. Leaders are constantly driven to the altar to hear from God because they know the consequences of being wrong. They know that the lives of others are at stake. They also risk mutiny and rebellion for being misunderstood when things do not turn out as expected by a few or by all—when those they lead are forced to endure hardship on account of their faith. Therefore, their only hope for refuge from this pressure is to abide in the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night.
For us, the church of the New Covenant, the cloud and the pillar of fire is not found in a building. It is found only within the heart exercised in its own dedicated, intense pursuit of the Lord. It is found only in the secret place. Jesus Himself did not repair to any tabernacle to draw near to the Father. He withdrew to gardens and mountainsides, and from there to face the pressures of leading His disciples under the light of day according to the perceptions of faith gained from that secret place at night. We see the leadings of the Father through the “Second Moses” into those same inescapable life-threatening “corners” where a miracle of deliverance is required—whether a remote wilderness hilltop with no bread to feed thousands, or back into the hostile cities of vicious opponents bent on stoning the leader.
Today the Father is still building faith through the pressure of leadership by faith. When we first begin the life of faith, we usually have to begin by following someone else’s cloud and fire. And from the backbenches of such followership we even have the luxury of murmuring and complaining when leaders let us down and their decisions negatively impact us. Most believers in fact never graduate beyond following someone else’s cloud. They remain and maintain all their lives in the outer court and die in that wilderness.
But eventually, if we are to grow in faith, we must develop and come into the cloud and fire of our own inner tabernacle. We must be baptized into the Spirit of that cloud and fire, beginning to hear from the Father for ourselves. We must leave the fringes of the outer court among the complainers and whiners, and, if we be graced with good leaders, move to the central place of the corporate tabernacle we may inhabit, emulating the devotional lives of our leaders as Joshua did with Moses, or as Elisha who poured water for Elijah—seeking to know the Lord as they do. (And if our leaders are true leaders, they will rejoice that there might be yet another with whom they can share the lonely burdens of their heart. They will mentor us in the hearing and the believing of the Father together with them.)
But hearing the Lord for ourselves or even together with the likeminded is not the Father’s final proving place of our faith in Him. Eventually, he will require us to hear on behalf of those who cannot at first hear for themselves—others who are less mature, or immature, and perhaps even for some gripers, yet on whose behalf we will be required to take actions by faith, and for which the consequences of our actions will be severe if we have heard wrongly. This pressure will bring us to a dependence on hearing and obeying the Father as we never have before.
So it is we may need to hear and act in faith on behalf of our family, or our church, or perhaps even on behalf of an entire movement raised up by the Spirit. And we will have to be prepared to take major risks of faith-based action that have little to no confirmation from among those looking up to us for direction. In this however we will be driven as never before to a place of dependent intimacy with the Father. We will grow as never before or thought possible. We will come into a higher dimension of the image of Christ than we realize existed.
The Father’s word to some of us at this hour is, Are we able and ready yet to withstand this kind of pressure, and to take this kind of step of faith at the bank of
First Love Ministry
- a ministry of Anglemar Fellowship
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Page created October 31, 2011