A quote often attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson says, “Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” In many ways, this captures the essence of pioneering leadership. Those who have led through the unlikely and even seemingly impossible often stand out as examples of greatness among their peers.
When you think of great leaders, who comes to mind? Most of us would think of a political leader or a CEO or a famous coach. There are plenty of good options to choose from. For an ancient Israelite, though, it would have been difficult to think of anyone greater than Moses. If you read through Exodus, you’ll understand why.
God used Moses to miraculously deliver Israel from Egyptian slavery, even though Moses initially showed reluctance based on his feelings of inadequacy to perform such a task. Moses wasn’t the greatest speaker. What were the odds that he, an Israelite, would be able to persuade Pharaoh, the god-king of Egypt to bend to his request? It seemed like an unlikely mission at best, and would certainly require divine intervention to succeed.
God did intervene. While Moses was the chosen human instrument through which God would act to bring His people out of slavery, ultimately it was God’s power that secured freedom for the Israelites. God demonstrates throughout the Bible that He is a great rescuer and redeemer. Redemption as a release from the slavery of sin is one of the most often used metaphors for salvation in Scripture.
As the book of Hebrews reminds us, all the key events in Scripture, like the exodus, and even the great leaders of God’s people, like Moses, point to someone much greater. In Hebrews, we are reminded that Jesus is much greater than Moses, and He led His people out of a slavery far worse than that which was imposed by Egypt; we had been held captive under the slavery of sin and death until Christ set us free.
For this reason, Jesus is the pioneer of our salvation, our redemptive forerunner and representative. He leads us out of slavery to sin and death toward a greater promised land, the presence of God. Jesus forged a new path; in fact, He is the new path. He says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), and calls us to trust Him and follow Him.
Throughout the Bible, we are reminded again and again that God delivers His people. The book of Hebrews shows us that Jesus provides the ultimate deliverance the Scriptures have been pointing to all along. And so, we can say with the prophets and the writer of Hebrews, “Again, I will trust him” (2:13), knowing that “every one of God’s promises is ‘Yes’ in him” (2 Corinthians 1:20).
Written by Matt Capps