“The Lesson of the Listening Leader”
Parashah PINCHAS (Numbers 25:10-30:1) Week 41
ADONAI said to Moshe, “Climb this mountain in the Avarim Range, and look out at the land which I have given the people of Isra’el. After you have seen it, you too will be gathered to your people, just as Aharon your brother was gathered; because in the Tzin Desert, when the community was disputing with me, you rebelled against my order to uphold my holiness by means of the water with them looking on.” (This was M’rivat-Kadesh Spring, in the Tzin Desert.)
“Moshe said to ADONAI, “Let ADONAI, God of the Spirits of all human beings, appoint a man to be over the community, to go out and come in ahead of them, to lead them out and bring them in, so that ADONAI’S community will not be like sheep without a shepherd.”
ADONAI said to Moshe, “Take Y’hoshua the son of Nun, a spiritual man, and lay your hand on him. Put him in front of El’azar the cohen and the whole community, and commission him in their sight. Delegate to him some of your authority, so that the entire community of Isra’el will obey him. He is to present himself to El’azar the cohen who is to find out by means of the urim what ADONAI’S will is for Y’hoshua’s decisions. Then, at his word they will go out, and at his word they will come in, both he and all the people of Isra’el with him, the whole community.” (Number 27:12-23 CJB)
Parashah Pinchas is diverse with plots and subplots in the aftermath of the Nation’s succumbing to Ba’al Worship. We must consider Phineas, grandson of Aaron who has now passed away. Phineas was born prior to the institution of the priestly line under grandfather Aaron, and did not automatically become anointed as a priest under him. However, Aaron’s life of Avodah, or holy service in the Tabernacle as Kohen Gadol or High Priest, atoning for the sins of the entire Nation of Israel, poured over Phineas in a dramatic way. It was Phineas who was filled with the zeal of Adonai, at the abomination of the sin of one of the leaders from the clan of Shim’on, with the Midian Princess named Zimri, who seduced Shim’on into Ba’al worship.
Phineas took immediate action on behalf of Adonai’s honor and slayed both the man and woman who sinned in open abomination of the Lord, at the opening to the Tent of Meeting. Phineas, a type of Yeshua, had supernatural zeal for the Father in Heaven and saved the Nation of Israel from further death by his action. Phineas was a leader in the style of Moses. He not only had the spiritual understanding of Adonai and His holiness, but Phineas had the zeal to carry out what was necessary to lead the Nation of Israel back to Adonai.
This is where the bow was pulled back and the arrow flew out from Phineas and HIT THE MARK! Because of his bold leadership to honor the name of Adonai, the Lord blessed the priesthood from that moment forward, with His Shalom. This is an eternal blessing by The Lord Most High. (El Elyon)
We see in Parashah Pinchas how even in the midst of the falling away by so many of the Nation into the lure of Ba’al worship, there was a remnant of passionate believers and leaders of Adonai. It was with hope fanned by this holy fire for the Lord, that my prayer run took a turn from the scenes at the opening of the Tent of Meeting, to the scene of Moses talking with Adonai. The conversations between God’s servant and Adonai could be a lifelong study for those who love the Lord. How might we love and serve the Kingdom of Adonai with such honesty, humility, obedience and passion, in order to speak utterly unhindered and in turn, hear so clearly from Him?
In order to hear clearly from the Lord, we must be living a life of intimate obedience, day after day. This building intimacy and dependence upon Him is what opens the portals of heaven and ears to His voice. This was the life Moses lived, as the most humble servant of Adonai, except for that one moment in the desert. Moses stumbled over himself at M’rivat-Kadesh Spring in the Tzin Desert. It was as he stumbled, taking his eyes off of Adonai, and onto his own lack, his own weary spirit, and his own self pity in the loss of sister Miriam; that he and brother Aaron failed to fulfill their destiny as emissaries of The Most-High. In their role as leaders of the Nation of Israel, they were to obey every command of God, in order for the people Adonai had set aside for Himself to follow like sheep, being led into the land of milk and honey. This was their destiny!
At Kadesh Spring, Moses saw God’s chosen Nation as rebels who rebelled against his authority. Moses lost his laser focus on Adonai. His internal frustration with the people overtook his focus. Moses lashed out, striking the rock instead of speaking to it, as the intermediary of The Most-High. This was an expression of a deep, spiritual condition for Moses on one very difficult day!
This is the Lesson of the Listening Leader. As we ponder the life of Moses and the miracles which were hallmarks of it, from the tiny Ark which led to his adoption by the Princess of Egypt, to his return to Egypt as the anointed deliverer, through the historical account of the ten plagues, and the leading of the nation through the birth travail of the Red Sea, we can attest to Moses’ greatest strength. He was a listening leader. He sought the Lord first in all things. Moses turned toward Adonai to seek His face, turning his back on life and the culture of the day. We have heard this term throughout history; the challenges which face us. In this statement, there is opportunity! We can either face the challenges head-on in our own strength, like Moses and Aaron at the Spring at Kadesh, or we can anticipate challenges, and face Adonai, prayerfully listening for His direction. Adonai speaks in a still, small voice.
This is the Lesson of the Listening Leader. As I sought the Lord for the lesson of this Parashah, I prayed for clarity through the many facets of historical accounts which converge in this time of biblical history for the Nation of Israel. As I spoke aloud the sequence of events in Pinchas, I heard these words; “Leaders must have spiritual ears to hear the things of the Spirit.” As members of a royal priesthood, now grafted into the Nation of Israel, we must first seek to hear from God, in all the chapters of our lives.
Like the story in this Parashah, our lives are also fragmented with many subplots taking place, all at once. How can we lead, without having spiritual ears to hear from the Lord? We must develop a listening leadership like Moses, one day at a time. We can learn from his mistake at the Spring of Kadesh, where he lost his focus. He listened to his own reasoning; his ears were turned inward by his own misgivings, instead of toward Adonai.
This is the Lesson of the Listening Leader. The Torah brings wisdom, whose profit exceeds that of silver and gold!
“She is a tree of life to those who grasp her; whoever holds fast to her will be made happy.” (Proverbs 3:18 CJB)
Take hold of her branches, dear seeker! Be blessed and made wise!
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