In recent months I did some teaching on hearing His voice and then moved into teaching on leadership. Someone asked how the two fit together. I believe that when we look at His kingdom they are like a hand a glove (you decide which is which). Godly leadership requires hearing His voice and obeying it.
Part of understanding the connection between leadership and hearing His voice is understanding our primary calling and purpose. In the Old Testament we see them laid out for us in some key scriptures and in the pattern the nation of Israel went through from Egypt to the Promised Land. Our primary purpose is to be His dwelling place.
8 And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. Exodus 25:8 (NKJV) When Moses led Israel out of Egypt they were promised a land flowing with milk and honey. What did they encounter immediately upon leaving Egypt? They found themselves in the wilderness. If we do not understand the purpose of the wilderness we like many in Israel will miss our calling and purpose. This same pattern can be seen in the life of Abraham, he left Ur, journeyed to Haran, and then went through the wilderness to reach the land of Canaan (which became Israel). Jesus was raised in relative obscurity in Nazareth, was called out into public ministry, baptized, publicly affirmed by His Father, and then what do the scriptures say?
12 Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness. Mark 1:12 (NKJV)
The pattern is there in scripture. In fact for those with eyes to see the foundation is first laid in Genesis 1.
4 And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. Genesis 1:4 (NKJV)
Just as at the beginning of creation the Holy Spirit began separating light from darkness, so too when we are born again as new creation He immediately begins the process of separating light from darkness in our lives. So back to Israel and the wilderness. Yahweh tells us why He led them around in the wilderness.
36 Out of heaven He let you hear His voice, that He might instruct you; on earth He showed you His great fire, and you heard His words out of the midst of the fire. Deuteronomy 4:36 (NKJV) 2 And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. Deuteronomy 8:2 (NKJV)
Yahweh led them in the wilderness to determine if they would hear and obey. Once Yahweh brought them out of Egypt He sought to get Egypt out of them (separating light and darkness). He brings us out into the wilderness to learn to hear His voice and learn to worship Him so we can serve with a right heart. The building of the Tabernacle of Moses in the wilderness was about learning to worship, part of which meant first hearing His voice. In fact the most important prayer in traditional Judaism is The Great Shema (Sh’ma Yisrael), it is to be recited twice a day and is found in Deuteronomy.
4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!” Deuteronomy 6:4 (NKJV)
Or alternatively, ‘Shema O Yisrael, Yahweh Elohim, Yahweh is one!’
The word Shema/Sh’ma means ‘hear’ in Hebrew. Hearing His voice and commands is critical. So the pattern is as follows. Deliverance/new birth (symbolized by coming out of Egypt), learning to hear and worship (the wilderness) then engaging in service (the promised land, here the manna stopped, they needed to work the land, something they never did in the wilderness). As I have noted before, if we are not willing to be a good follower, willing to hear and obey, then we will never be a good leader in His kingdom. Micah said it much more eloquently.
8 He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8 (NKJV)