SPIRITUAL LEADERS should ‘LEAD’ by EXAMPLE: "Thus Moses did; according to all that the Lord had commanded him, so he did. And it came to pass in the first month of the second year, on the first day of the month that the tabernacle was raised up. So Moses raised up the tabernacle, fastened its sockets, set up its boards, put in its bars, and raised up its pillars. And he spread out the tent over the tabernacle and put the covering of the tent on top of it, as the Lord had commanded Moses.” (Exodus 40:16-19)
The book of Exodus is the history of God’s people during the year between their deliverance from Egypt and the erection of the tabernacle at Mount Sinai. In the last chapter of Exodus (40), we have the actual setting up of the Tabernacle. It is interesting to note that the tabernacle was carefully assembled and inaugurated on the very anniversary of Israel’s departure from Egypt (12:2). Almost nine months after the arrival of the Israelites at Sinai (19:1) and just before the first annual celebration of Passover, the tabernacle was completed.
The work of rearing up the tabernacle was attributed to Moses because he was chief overseer. With 22,000 Levites (Num 3:21–39) to help with the final erection, the Bible scholars believe that it was accomplished in less than a day (40:1–2, 17), and the narrative describe as if it was Moses who finished the work (vs. 33). In fact, Moses had scrupulously obeyed every detail of God’s commands (7:10) and had been faithful in fulfilling his responsibilities. Due to the faithfulness of Moses, God’s blessings followed the Israelites who were under his leadership as well.
Moses had actually set an excellent example for his workforce by doing his own job “according to all that the Lord had commanded him” (40:16). That kind of precision set the pace for everyone else and reaped invaluable rewards. For example, the management team for the construction of the tabernacle emulated Moses’ example by performing their tasks with “wisdom and understanding, in knowledge and all manner of workmanship,” so that they completed the project “according to all that the Lord had commanded” (35:30–31, 35; 36:1). Likewise, all of the workers under them carried out their tasks “as the Lord had commanded” (39:1, 5, 7, 21, 26, 29, 31–32, 43).
Moses led by example, and his leadership style spread to the group of managers who were helping to supervise and coordinate the ‘tabernacle construction’ project. Then the workers followed their managers, and it ended up with the whole workforce emulating their leader Moses, who led by example. We should remember that the three managers – Ithamar (38:21), Bezalel (35:30–36:1; 38:22) and Aholiab (35:34–36:1; 38:23) - who led the complicated project of building the tabernacle (38:21–23) were handpicked for the assignment—not only by Moses, but by God. In fact, their final performance review showed that they and their workers “did according to all that the Lord had commanded Moses” (39:32, 42), which was the ultimate stamp of God’s approval!
Spiritual leaders today should lead by example as Moses, who was a gifted leader that God gave to the Israelites. In fact, Moses first identified the skilled workers who could do the job faithfully, then, he affirmed them in their responsibilities in the task, and finally, he freed them to do their jobs under the supervision of others who knew the trades. By delegating the work in this manner, Moses became a model leader for us to exemplify and emulate. Let us learn from Moses today and lead by our life example!