And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped.
And he said, "If now I have found favor in your sight, O Lord, please let the Lord go in the midst of us, for it is a stiff-necked people, and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance."
There are three marks of a mature spiritual leader exhibited by Moses in these two verses. They are worth consideration. First, Moses possessed a heart that was sensitive to the worship of the Lord. When he ascended the mountain to again have God write upon stone tablets, he went up expecting to worship God. As soon as God pronounced His own name, Moses fell down and worshiped. Leaders need to be sensitive to the presence of God and the response should be humble worship above all else. Spiritual leaders are really lead worshipers. This is true in a Sunday worship service. This is true in a small group meeting. This is true in a leadership forum. This is true in private time with God.
The second clear mark of maturity was that Moses knew the people that he was leading. He did not kid himself into thinking they were so great because he was their leader. He had just had to reprimand them for idolatry. God had brought consequences into the camp for Israel’s sin. Moses knew he was leading an idolatrous nation. And he did not fool himself. Honestly before God he confessed the sin of the people and asked for God’s pardon. The story of the leadership of Moses would be one of God working with a stiff-necked and disobedient people. Leaders who know their people know their task. And when they know and admit the sin, they are open to the grace and mercy of God to mark all that they do. It takes humility to worship God and it takes humility to work with sinful people. Moses had it in both categories.
A third mark of mature leadership goes with knowledge of the people. Moses knew what God’s heart was and His request shows that. He knew that God wanted to use Israel for His glory. He knew that He wanted to make of the nation His inheritance. And after begging for forgiveness, Moses asks God for what God wants. Mature spiritual leaders know what God wants. They are close enough to God to align their own hearts with the desires of God. They not only desire to worship God, but they begin to desire the things that God desires in their leadership. This is where Moses really shines. He began his journey being an impulsive, emotional, self-driven man who murdered to get what he wanted. Now, he is a humble (though still flawed) leader who wants above all else what God wants for His people. That is what God does in a person to develop mature leadership.