|Volume 19 Number 5 May 2017||
Brian R. Kenyon
When we were young, many of us heard the refrain, “Excuses, excuses, excuses,” from those disappointed in us, whether a teacher, a parent, an older sibling or another person of importance in our lives. After we honestly evaluated the situation, they were right—our excuses were lame! As we reflect upon the much more important work of the Lord, many of us are still making excuses as to why we cannot do what the Lord expects. If we honestly evaluate our excuses, we will find, as with the excuses in our younger days, that they are still lame. Moses was a classic excuse maker. God told him at the burning bush, “Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt” (Exodus 3:10). As we look at Moses’ excuses, we find that they were basically the same as ours. We can overcome them the same way Moses should have (and eventually did)—by trusting in the Lord!
I Am Not Important
Moses’ first excuse was, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11). In this excuse, Moses tried to convince God that he was not important enough to lead God’s people out of Egypt. After all, he was only a keeper of his father-in-law’s flock (Exodus 3:1). God answered Moses’ excuse, “I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain” (Exodus 3:12). God promised Moses that He would be with him and that he would have success. Moses just needed to believe it. Sometimes, we do not think we are “important” enough to take on the tasks that God has assigned. However, we are important to God. Not only are we made in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:26-27), but He has promised to be with His faithful children always (Matthew 28:20; Romans 8:31-39). We are important enough to do God’s will!
I Don’t Know Enough about God
Moses’ second excuse was, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?” (Exodus 3:13). Remember, by this time Moses had been in the land of Midian forty years because he fled there after Pharaoh was informed that Moses killed an Egyptian (Exodus 2:11-15). In this excuse, Moses supposed that he would go to his people Israel, and they would ask him to answer their question. However, God gave Moses all the answers that he needed to put this excuse to rest. “God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’ And He said, ‘Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, I AM has sent me to you’” (Exodus 3:14). “I AM THAT I AM” is one of the greatest statements in all the Bible. It emphasizes the timelessness of God. It declares God as the self-existing one, without beginning and end. Jesus also applied this term to Himself (John 8:58). After answering this excuse of Moses, God outlined the entire campaign against Egypt (Exodus 3:15-22). Sometimes we do not think we know enough about God to teach His will to others. However, as Moses eventually learned, God is able to “back up” His own claims. Yes, we must make our life a life of learning about God (Romans 10:17), but we do not have to be “professors” before teaching others the Gospel. The power is in the great “I AM THAT I AM,” not in us!
Nobody Will Believe Me
After God outlined His campaign against Egypt and what Moses could expect from Pharaoh, Moses came up with another excuse. “But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you’” (Exodus 4:1). Moses did not think he could convince anyone. God answered this excuse with a display of His power by changing Moses’ rod into a snake and back into a rod, by giving Moses a leprous hand and then healing it, and by promising him that if they will not believe these signs, He will change the water of the river into blood (Exodus 4:2-9). Sometimes, we think people will not believe us, and sometimes they will not, but let us realize that God has the power to convince anyone who is honestly seeking truth (John 7:17). The power is in the Word of God, not in us!
I Am Not a Good Talker
After God’s demonstration, “Moses said to the Lord, ‘O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue’” (Exodus 4:10). Moses did not think he was persuasive enough. God answered, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say” (Exodus 4:11-12). Sometimes, we think we are not eloquent enough to teach someone the Gospel. Again, let us remember that the power is not in us, but in the Gospel (Romans 1:16). We are responsible for teaching and encouraging. God will take care of the rest (1 Corinthians 3:6).
Others Are Better Equipped Than Me
Moses’ final excuse, “O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send” (Exodus 4:13). Even after all the power displayed and promises made by God, Moses wanted someone else to go! This time, “the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses” (Exodus 4:14a). Then, God gave Moses his brother Aaron to be his mouthpiece (Exodus 4:14b-16). This incident teaches us that God’s patience runs thin when we continually make excuses as to why we cannot obey Him. Sometimes, we think others are better equipped than us. While that may be true in one sense, in another sense, we are better equipped for our particular task than anyone else! We may be able to reach people that others who may seem “more equipped” may not reach.
All of us are important! Let us not make excuses as to why we cannot do God’s will. If we are not doing God’s will now, what possibly could be our excuse? Let us trust in the Lord and do His will.
Things I Know