#033: Another Enemy! What’s a Leader to Do?

Have you ever felt like the light at the end of the tunnel was just another train? There are times when, as leaders, we get hit with issues one after another from inside our organizations, and right in the midst of dealing with our own organizations, a competitor deals us a severe blow that we were not expecting. What’s a leader to do?

Enemy Defeated

I think this must be exactly how Moses felt as he was leading the nation of Israel out of bondage in Egypt. God has miraculously saved them with the parting of the Red Sea and is now leading them through the desert by way of a pillar of fire at night, and a pillar of clouds during the day.

Despite having the presence of God visibly guiding them, these folks start whining about not having enough water. God, through Moses, gives them water. Then they start complaining about not having meat—even though God is supplying all the Manna they can eat, so God sends meat in the form of quail.

If dealing with the complaints from a few million of his own people weren’t enough, Moses is attacked from behind by the Amalekites. The story of what happened is recounted in Exodus 17:

8  Then Amalek came and fought with Israel at Rephidim.
9  So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose for us men, and go out and fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.”
10  So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.
11  Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed.
12  But Moses’ hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.
13  And Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword. (Exodus 17:8-13 (ESV))

We learn several things from Moses’ leadership example:

  • Know Your Competition (Enemy). The Amalekites were descendants of Esau, Jacob’s brother. The Israelites were passing through their land. Today’s leader needs to know who the competition is today, as well as predict and prepare for future competition. A SWOT analysis is a good start.
  • Know How to Defend. Moses instructs Joshua to go out with some men and fight with the Amalekites the next day. This is the first time we have heard of Joshua. He had obviously become known to Moses and was a trusted leader because Moses wastes no time in directing him to gather men together to defend the nation against the attack. A leader should always have a good sense of the skills of his top people and know exactly who should be picked to lead in a variety of situations.
  • Have a support group. Being in a position of leadership can often be a lonely place. Before the battle, Moses announces he is going to the top of the hill along with Aaron and Hur to observe the battle. Aaron is Moses’ brother, and Hur (many scholars believe) is Moses’ brother in law (Miriam’s husband).
  • Trust God and Pray. Moses holds his hand up with the staff of God in prayer. As long as he holds his hand up the Israelites are winning, as soon as he lowers his hands they lose. This is where the support group of Aaron and Hur become critically important. They come alongside Moses, one on each side, and help him hold up his hand to God until finally, the Israelites win the battle.


Any leader in the marketplace today knows how difficult it can be to compete and win on the global stage. If you are not prepared to deal with situations that can be anticipated, you will fail as a leader, and you will fail the organization you are charged with leading. So at a very minimum, you need to know your competition as well as they know themselves. You need to know how to defend against real and anticipated threats. You need to have trusted leaders and counselors who can and will come alongside you when needed. And you must trust in God, and lift your voice in prayer to Him!

Join the Conversation!

As always questions and comments are welcome. Have you experienced a situation like Moses? Perhaps an attack came that you didn’t anticipate, or a difficult situation within your own organization that tested your leadership mettle? How did you handle it?

Category: Personal Development | Dependence on God


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