Psalm 106:32-33 (ESV)
32 They angered him at the waters of Meribah,
and it went ill with Moses on their account,
33 for they made his spirit bitter,
and he spoke rashly with his lips.
Whose fault was it that Moses sinned and did not enter the Promised Land? Of course we know that it was Moses’ fault. Moses is the one who did not treat God as holy, who spoke rashly, and who suffered the disappointment of not making it to the land.
But notice the verses above. God, in the psalm, lays the guilt for Moses’ sin not only on Moses, but also on the people who opposed and provoked Moses. The nation of Israel was murmuring against God and against Moses, God’s chosen leader for them. Eventually, the words of the people, their constant complaining and second-guessing, worked against Moses’ spirit until he was vulnerable to the sin which Moses himself committed.
Quick application: How do you speak of and to your pastor? Do you constantly tear him down? Do you constantly grumble against him? Do you have a desire to put him in his place? Do you enjoy it when you can find him making an error? Do you like to be right and him wrong? If so, watch yourself. You might be a tool in his hurt. You might do your pastor, God’s chosen leader for your church ,harm. If he gets frustrated and sins, it is totally his responsibility. He is responsible for himself. However, as we see in this psalm, God also sees that the people of God can crush the spirits of their leaders, and they are very much guilty for that sin.
I thank God that I am serving in a church where I know that our people love their pastors. But that does not mean that all who read this are in such churches. Perhaps you are not. Maybe you are the attacked leader. If so, examine yourself, take the legitimate concerns of others seriously, and remember that you are responsible for your behavior and attitude before God. If you are one of the ones who like to criticize, even if you think you are helping, be careful. You could be a tool in the hand of the enemy to put a crack in the resolve of God’s chosen leader for you and your people.
How about this? Today, why not take a moment to tell your pastors that you are praying for them. Offer encouragement to those who serve God by serving you. Be the ones who hold up your leaders, showing them love and grace and mercy. Do not assume they know that you are really on their side; make it clear. God holds us all responsible for the parts we play whether we are leaders or followers.