How God Makes a Leader – Part 1

The life of Moses is a fascinating study in leadership. I’ve often referred to his story, found in Exodus 2, 3, and 4 and Acts 7, as the process God uses to develop a leader. In the next four posts, I want to share four keys God used to make Moses into a leader and how we can apply those lessons to our lives. The first key is Leaders are Made Through Brokenness Before Experiencing Breakthrough.

In Acts 7, the Bible records an abbreviated story of Moses and his attempt to deliver the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage. Verses 23-29 say:

“At that time Moses was born, and he was no ordinary child. For three months he was cared for in his father’s house. When he was placed outside, Pharaoh’s daughter took him and brought him up as her own son. Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action. When Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his fellow Israelites. He saw one of them being mistreated by an Egyptian, so he went to his defense and avenged him by killing the Egyptian. Moses thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not. The next day Moses came upon two Israelites who were fighting. He tried to reconcile them by saying, ‘Men, you are brothers; why do you want to hurt each other?’ But the man who was mistreating the other pushed Moses aside and said, ‘Who made you ruler and judge over us? Do you want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday? When Moses heard this, he fled to Midian, where he settled as a foreigner and had two sons.”

God’s “leader-making process” is quite different from the path most of us would choose. That was certainly the case for Moses. He thought he was doing something great when he came to the rescue of the Israelites, when, in reality, he was out of step with God’s plan. Before Moses could experience breakthrough, he first had to be broken. In Moses’ case, God had to break him in three areas:

1. God Broke Moses of Egypt – Acts 7:22 says, “Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action.” The Egyptian way of thinking had infiltrated Moses and his attitudes toward life. In a spiritual sense, “Egypt” is often viewed as the world’s way of thinking. But when we surrender our lives to follow Christ, God calls us out of Egypt. That old way of thinking can be very difficult to let go of, and therefore, God will often take leaders through a season of brokenness to remove thinking tied to the earthly “wisdom”. God has delivered us out of Egypt–now he wants to deliver Egypt out of us.

2. God Broke Moses of His Agenda – Moses had a plan to deliver the Israelites from Egyptian bondage. While he was right to notice the needs of the Israelites, he was wrong in how he addressed the need. And so, after Moses killed the Egyptian, God used 40 years in the wilderness to kill Moses’ agenda. When leaders hold tightly to their own agendas, their agendas can become their god.

3. God Broke Moses of His Pride – Acts 7:25 says, “Moses thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not.” That had to be a humble slice of pie for Moses to swallow. Here was a man who was comfortable living it up in the palace. He thought he was was doing the Israelites a favor when in fact he was exercising nothing more than ego-driven power.

Brokenness precedes breakthrough in God’s leadership development process. We can run from it all of our lives, but the leader God uses learns to embrace brokenness. He acknowledges God’s ways, relinquishes his agenda, and humbles himself before the Lord.

Question: What does God want to break out of you in order to make you into a leader He can use?