Numbers 16, Day 4

April 28, 2009 at 12:49 pm (Uncategorized)

We have been talking about leadership lessons from the story found in Numbers 16. ( Day 1, 2 & 3)  Yesterday, we saw that Moses was so completely wrapped up and in the center of God’s will that he took criticism as a criticism against the Lord, not himself.  Well, Moses called the rebels to a test and we find a truth about critics.

When Moses called for Dathan and Abiram they refused to come!  They were perfectly willing to toss criticism from afar, to drop mean emails, to write angry letters, but when Moses called them to put up or shut up, they refused to show up.  Critics are often cowards.

It takes real courage to lead a group of rebellious people like the Israelites.  To literally lay down the law, and call sin sin.  To call for God-punishment against wickedness.  To lead a group of people to a brand new place with a brand new vision.  Moses was courageous, but Dathan and Abiram were cowards.

Leaders, far off criticism is the cowardly road to take.  Leadership is hard, frustrating and full of criticism, but is the God-road. If you don’t like what someone else is doing, do something better.  As Mark Batterson says in his Lion Manifesto (from his book, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day) “Criticize by creating.”

Critics are cowards.  Leadership is courageous.

So, am I blowing smoke out of my mouth, or what? What do you think?


  1. William Rude said,

    Criticism can be constructive or destructive. The how and why it is delivered is the test of the critic. How one receives and applies the criticism is the test of receiver. So, are all critics cowards? Is leadership without guidance courageous?

  2. Kathy said,

    It makes me think about those who won’t take the hard road and speak out against sin (some of our country’s leaders). Instead, they make excuses as to why people make bad choices (and ultimately embrace those that are sinning) and they criticize those who try to do something about it. What do you do when you’re not in a position to do something better?

  3. billyjohnsonlive said,

    I guess I need to be a little clearer on my criticism distinction. I am talking about criticism from far off with self-rewarding motives in mind, as was the case in Numbers 16. Not only is leadership without guidance not courageous it is STUPID! Hope that clarifies, Bill.

  4. William Rude said,

    I agree! Dathan and Abiram’s criticism was destructive. Had it been constructive, they would have stood up like men and showed Moses where their criticism was indeed helpful to all that where in that wilderness.
    They were not leaders, but cowards! Moses had the LORD’s guidance plus the likes of Aaron, Joshua, and Caleb. Couragous men indeed!

  5. culturalawakening said,

    I have chosen to simply ignore the “far off” critics. If they aren’t strong enough to talk to me like a mature person so that we can work out our differences, I just assume their concern isn’t worth the time. Sometimes, I’m surprised and people will talk to me like they should, but if not, I just let it go. No one, not even Moses, was strong enough to run around and make sure everyone was okay with him 100% of the time. Leadership is messy work and sometimes people need to be called out. But in the small things, I just move on. Not worth my time.

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