When leading others in a time when basic needs are unmet, one must understand three aspects in effectively targeting solutions to this dilemma. These include; assumptions that must be made, actions that must be taken, and analogies that must be understood. In the first installment, of this three blog series on leadership, we will deal with the assumptions that must be made when leading others at a time when they lack certain basic needs.
We all have basic human needs. These include things like food, water, or raiment (clothing). At times, we may lack even these basic needs and think, “This shouldn’t happen to someone whose life belongs to the Lord!” This can be a dilemma in which we find ourselves wondering why the Lord neglected to provide for us, or contemplating where we went wrong with the Lord, causing Him to punish us in this way.
In Exodus, we see the Israelites in a similar situation. They lacked water upon their arrival in Rephidim, after a trek through the arid, desert wilderness. Here, God used Moses to fulfill this need. This Biblical account is pertinent even today, as there are economic tsunamis taking place all around the country. For instance, as Christian Law Association recently reported, the 2 major issues they currently deal with are; bankruptcy and embezzlement. So, how shall we respond when basic needs are unmet? Let’s look at what assumptions must be made.
There are three assumptions that must be made when responding to this problem. First, we see that obedience to God’s commandments may lead to extreme need. In Exodus, we see that the Israelites’ lack of water was a result of their obedience. The Bible says, “…according to the commandment of the Lord.” God clearly led them to Rephidim, using a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day. This was visual evidence displaying how God, at times, allows His children to suffer despite their obedience. Our natural response is to look at a situation and draw an extraneous solution. We assume that if they were following God’s will, He wouldn’t have led them to a place where they lacked a basic need. Never assume that God leads you to a place of security and stability where all is provided. It doesn’t work that way. Satan would like us to believe that when God allows pressure in our lives, He’s not Who we thought He was or doesn’t really care for us.
The second assumption that must be made is that similar or different problems will eventually occur in our journey through life. This isn’t the first water problem the Jews experienced. Previously, in the wilderness, the Jews came across bitter water and subsequently, no water at all. Just when you think you have a problem solved, another one comes your way. If we are going to be effective believers, or be led when a basic need is unmet, we have to assume that obedience to God’s commandments may lead to a position of extreme need. If it were easier to follow the Lord than not to follow Him, our testimonies would be poor and as a result, not glorify the Lord. He is a Lord of faith, love, and commitment. God wants you to follow Him, not for what He’s “handing out” to you, but because you love Him. Love is shown by remaining loyal to Him, despite any negative circumstance faced.
In Exodus 17, it shows how the Israelites received water from the rock, fulfilling a need, followed by involvement in a war with an enemy. (This is a great prophecy lesson, indeed!) They seemed to encounter problems around every corner. We must accept the problems we face and praise the Lord whenever we don’t have a problem as one is likely just around the corner. We should not judge one’s love for God on the basis of the presence or absence of problems in his/her life.
The third assumption is that we are not supposed to know what God is doing at any given time.
God doesn’t tell us everything that is going on. For instance we see in Exodus1:1, the Jews travelled from the wilderness of sin to Rephidim. However, in Number 33:12, it says, “And they took their journey out of the wilderness of sin and encamped in Dophka…encamped in Alush…encamped in Rephidim, where there was no water for the people to drink.” Some would say that God’s word has errors in it. However, God is in the business of telling you what you need to know, when you need to know it.
In conclusion, we need to have complete dependence on the Lord by making certain assumptions. First, we will have needs that won’t be met, which will strengthen our faith in Christ. Second, we will encounter many different problems throughout our life. Third, we must understand that we’ll not know all that the Lord is doing; however, it will be done for the glory of God. When the Israelites griped, chided, and murmured against Moses, they failed to lay their burdens before the Lord. They lacked faith. The Lord requires that we live by faith, not by explanation. Remember, where God guides-God provides!