So Close to the Border...but

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Scripture-reading: Revelation 22:14

“Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.”

It was a late afternoon. Everything was packed and we were ready to take our long trip from Worcester to Swaziland. For one or another reason my father stopped about 6 km outside Worcester at a petrol garage. As we took off I suddenly remembered that our passports are not with us.

What a big problem we would have had if we were to arrive at the border, about 2000km away from home without our passports? Today I would not be able to have been here, that is what the outcome would have been!

God also gave us a passport to the Heavenly City – Jerusalem.

I have heard the story of Moses hitting the rock twice many times.

But while studying about leadership during my first year of theology I had to look closely at what happened that day.

Before we are going to look at certain points let us turn to the Word of God and read about what has happened.

We will read from Numbers 20:1-13

“Then came the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, into the desert of Zin in the first month: and the people abode in Kadesh; and Miriam died there, and was buried there. 2And there was no water for the congregation: and they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron. 3And the people chode with Moses, and spake, saying, Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the LORD! 4And why have ye brought up the congregation of the LORD into this wilderness, that we and our cattle should die there? 5And wherefore have ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us in unto this evil place? it is no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates; neither is there any water to drink. 6And Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they fell upon their faces: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto them. 7And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 8Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink. 9And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as he commanded him. 10And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock? 11And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also. 12And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them. 13This is the water of Meribah; because the children of Israel strove with the LORD, and he was sanctified in them.”


The worst word ever to be spoken by someone you knew is – I Do Not Know You…

Once I have thought that the person in front of me was someone I knew, but then to my dismay, I found out that I did not know the person and neither did he knew me. But the person did look very much alike.

We ARE not guaranteed a place in Heaven at all just because we have been chosen by the church members to be a leader.

Jesus warned about this during His sermon on the mount:

Matthew 7:21 - 23

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

While in leadership you will encounter many difficulties.

While in leadership you will be closely watched, your actions closely examined.

Keep the faith, do not become discouraged. Paul wrote to the young Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:16

“Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”


It is always interesting how quick people will start to complain once something goes wrong.

I always said that I never want to pastor a church district because of the many complaints and problems that arise from the congregations.

But after reading this story I realised that no matter what I will be doing, I will always be surrounded by people who will complain.

And the worse thing of it all – the complaints always sounds the same.

The Israelites was using the same words over and over again.

Since they came out of Egypt they always accused Moses and God for the situation they were encountering.

In the book of James, chapter 1 verse 19:

“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:”

And another thing to expect is DISRESPECT.

This complaint was made by those who were 20 years and younger at the border of Canaan the first time Israel could have crossed,

But because of disbelieve in God they were kept out!

Now the children were adults and they were not happy with their circumstances. And they do not accuse their parents for their situation,

They attack the leadership!


The hardest part of being a leader is to stay true to your calling and living a live that shows not defect.

Think of Daniel. He had all the excuse not to pray in the open when the degree was given,

But he chose to honour God radar then hiding.

Think of his three friends. They had a reason to bow down. Who wants to be burned alive?

But these three men were in leadership!

Their actions were under the microscope!

Who will they trust more?

How much did their actions change the history?

Through their actions Kings got to know more about the true God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth!

Think of Joseph in the house of Potiphar. He would stay true to his principles.

All three of these examples had to endure harsh consequences but God never left their side.

If you want to honour God through your leadership, keep true to your calling.

Stand for what is right in the sight of God and not in the sight of men.


Numbers 20:10, 11

“And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock? 11And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice:…”

Moses relied on his own power to try and teach the children of Israel a lesson.

Paul later wrote in Romans 12:21

“Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”

The Spirit of Prophecy gives us a picture of HUMAN POWER:

“More than this, Moses and Aaron had assumed power that belongs only to God. The necessity for divine interposition made the occasion one of great solemnity, and the leaders of Israel should have improved it to impress the people with reverence for God and to strengthen their faith in His power and goodness...Wearied with the continual murmuring and rebellion of the people, Moses had lost sight of his Almighty Helper, and without the divine strength he had been left to mar his record by an exhibition of human weakness…God had been dishonored before the congregation of Israel, when He should have been magnified and exalted. {Patriarchs and Prophets pg.418.2} “

May we always remember that we only have the power to lead if it comes directly from Jesus himself!


Now the following fact is something I have not known about until reading the passage through again.

Situations at home will always play a role in your leadership.

Moses, having just lost his dear sister, now has to deal with this rebellious people complaining just like their parents.

The worst thing must have been the memories of victory in these same surroundings. The place they were at was near to the red sea.

It was there where Miriam was singing. That was the place where God delivered them from the Egyptians.

Some of those who were murmuring were old enough to remember how they went through the red sea on dry ground!

Overcome with grief, Moses could not take it anymore.

But it still did not give him the authority to disobey the command given by God.

We might say: God was unfair to not allow Moses to enter into Canaan.

Could God not take into account the circumstances?

This is the responsibility that comes with Leadership.

There is a very fine line between family life and leadership.

And this is the place where Satan attacks the church.

And this is the place where the LEADERSHIP needs to be strong.

Paul wrote to Titus how a leader should look like and how a leader should function. (Titus 1:6 – 9)


Being a leader is not an easy task. And being leader asks for one thing that may never leave you: FAITH!

You and I, standing in leadership, having a message to give through our actions and our words needs to show totally dependence upon God.

Listen to the words God spoke after Moses has hit the rock:

“And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.” (Numbers 20:12)

God did not punish them because they got angry,

God did not punish them for allowing passion to take over,

God had to speak out the judgement because of their disbelieve!


Leaders, you have accepted the responsibility.

Peter gives us good advice:

1 Peter 2:11, 12

“Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.”

Fathers, as leaders in your own house I want to encourage you to train your family to become leaders in their community.

Leaders, train your Joshua’s. Train them to lead with passion and love.


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