In an age in which the world and the United States is becoming increasingly multi-cultural, our leadership roles and responsibilities are becoming increasingly a cross-cultural process and involve certain skill sets for effectiveness. Interestingly enough, before releasing him into the role of deliverer for the Hebrew children enslaved in Egypt, God first allowed Moses through a series of sovereign circumstances to become absolutely immersed in not only Egyptian culture, but the highest form of it, in the very halls of Pharaoh’s court and in the interest and care of his daughter. In a sense, before he came to live as a son of God, Moses was first allowed to live as a “son” of Pharaoh.
Moses’ Cross-Cultural Identity & How God Used It
There were other factors that likely played a significant part in Moses’ preparation and function as a leader. Consider these:
Moses the Egyptian was likely the only person amidst the Hebrew nation of slaves who understood what building a nation would require. He had served as a key government leader in Egypt, as a prince to the nation. He understood the development of administrative functions and structures essential to nation building. He surely had the best education available in Egypt. He understood the working of inter-national dialog and interactions. He likely understood the functioning of military, as well. He surely sat under Egypt’s finest teachers.
Moses the Midianite was quite familiar with navigating and traversing the dry desert regions. Under Jethro’s household, this had become his home and workplace. He spent 40 years serving in it with sheep; now he would do so with people, the Hebrew nation.
Moses the Hebrew had seen it all – from the slavery of his people to the halls of power and fame in Pharaoh’s court. Yet, he seemed unimpressed with power and authority. When God offered it to him, he did not grasp for it but rather seemed to shy away from it. Perhaps he had come to distrust what power could do to a man. He had seen power abuse people in many ways, and he had at least once fallen prey to that temptation himself (Rendall, 2013).
Practically, there was a primary leadership image or iconic figure in each of the three periods of influence in Moses’ life. This is significant to the development of most as a “Tri-Cultural Leader.” Consider this:
The Egyptian Period leadership icon likely to have the most influence on Moses and his development of understanding leadership were the Pharaohs. This leadership model taught Moses about the power of Control in the life of a leader. In Egypt, Moses saw someone playing God in the lives of people every day; namely Pharaoh, the despot.
The Midianite Period leadership icon likely to have the most influence on Moses was the Patriarch, the Father of a family, a clan or a nation. In this case it was his father-in-law, Jethro. This leadership model taught Moses about the power of Community in the life of a leader. In Midian, Moses saw someone portraying a Father’s care for his family.
The Hebrew Period leadership icon was no longer merely a natural, but a supernatural one imposed by God. It was the Presence of God, represented by the Ark of the Covenant which sat within the Holy of Holies. This leadership model taught Moses about the power of a Covenant with God in the life of a leader. Amidst the Hebrew ethos, Moses saw Someone promising a Covenant of Love to his people.
Certainly Moses went through quite a transformation in his understanding and practice of leadership. More on this in Part Two of this post.