Excuses, Excuses!

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Intro: The last time we saw Moses he had become a failure in trying to save his people through the murder of an Egyptian taskmaster. Now he is in the backside of the Midian desert, married, a new dad, and tending sheep for his father-in-law Jethro. While at Mt. Horeb, Moses sees an amazing sight, a bush burning but not consumed. He checks it out and realizes he has come into the presence of Almighty God [ref. Ex. 3:4-6].
Exodus 3:7–10 NKJV
7 And the Lord said: “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. 8 So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites. 9 Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. 10 Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”
Moses is fixing to begin a journey of deep intimacy with God like no other person in the bible ever has. He is going to fulfill his destiny in life by delivering the people of Israel from their bondage in Egypt by the hand of God.
Knowing what we read about Moses previously with his zeal to save his people, Moses should have rejoiced and shouted because God was at last after 40 years answering prayer. He should be like Isaiah the prophet saying, Here I am! Send me!
But Moses did the exact opposite [even as christians do today], make excuses of why they can’t do what God has qualified them to do!
Moses gives five excuses of why God doesn’t need to send him.

1. I’m not Qualified; 3:11-12

Moses reminded God that he was in the desert because he had already failed in Egypt 40 years ago.
Time heals a lot of wounds and time also matures people.
1 Corinthians 13:11 NKJV
11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
Moses isn’t going to do this on his own like he tried before. God is going to free them but use Moses as his leader.
[12a] “I will certainly be with you.” God gives Moses His assurance that He will be with him every step of the way.
Joshua 1:5 NKJV
5 No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you.
Isaiah 41:10 NKJV
10 Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
Matthew 28:20 NKJV
20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
[12b] God also guarantees complete success of this mission. God says, “you shall serve Me on this mountain.”
God never calls us to do anything by ourselves. The Lord calls, empowers and directs us. We are His instruments of righteousness!

2. What do I say; 13-15

[13] Moses was concerned that when he was questioned by the people about God and what mission Moses was on, how was he to answer them. Moses didn’t want to fail a second time nor did he want to look foolish before the people.
What Moses asked was, “What does Your name mean? What kind of a God are You?”
[14-15] God explained that the name Jehovah is a dynamic name, based on the Hebrew verb “to be” or “to become.” He is the self-existent One who always was, always is, and always will be, the faithful and dependable God who calls Himself “I AM.”
God said, “I AM that I AM.” God is the ability to become to His people whatever their needs required. God was declaring “I will be to you whatever you need. I am everywhere all the time, within, without, before, behind, above, beneath, past, present, and future.” That was the message. I was, I am, I shall be in charge of all things.
* If in darkness, Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world.”
* If you need righteousness, Jesus said, “I am the Lord of righteousness.”
* If you are spiritually, emotionally hungry, Christ said, “I am the Bread of Life.”
* If you are defenseless and need care, the Lord said, “I am the Good Shepherd.”
* If you need peace, our Savior said, “I am the Prince of Peace.”
* If you need salvation, Jesus made it clear, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”
* If you need security, Jesus said, “I am the door.”
Mattoon, R. (2007). Treasures from Exodus (Vol. 1, pp. 57–58). Rod Mattoon.
Many times christians are worried of what to say when we engage in a conversation about faith in Christ or the Bible. We feel inadequate to talk about spiritual things. I think there are 2 things we need to take away from this conversation between God and Moses.
We need to spend time in the Word of God to know the God of the Word.
2 Timothy 2:15 NKJV
15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
2. We need to remember that it is not us speaking but God speaking through us.
Matthew 10:19 NKJV
19 But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak;
Luke 12:11–12 NKJV
11 “Now when they bring you to the synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say. 12 For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”
Luke 21:12–15 NKJV
12 But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake. 13 But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. 14 Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist.
Acts 18:9–10 NKJV
9 Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; 10 for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.”

3. What if they won’t believe me; 4:1-9

Moses was not only doubting his ability to persuade the people but more so, God’s. Fear and personal rejection cloud our thinking and create doubt in God’s promises.
When God tells us to “go into all the world and preach the gospel”, He expects us to obey, not worry about the people’s response to the gospel. It is God’s job to draw people to Himself- arousing faith in their hearts- not ours.
Romans 10:17 NKJV
17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Ephesians 2:4–5 NKJV
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
[2-9] God reassured the doubt of Moses by the aid of miracles that they would believe that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had appeared to him. These miracles are a sign of the power and authority of God over all things.
Signs were used throughout the scriptures to validate/authenticate the power of God, the message of God, and the messenger sent by God.
Mark 8:11 NKJV
11 Then the Pharisees came out and began to dispute with Him, seeking from Him a sign from heaven, testing Him.
Mark 16:17–18 NKJV
17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
1 Corinthians 1:22 NKJV
22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom;
[2-4] Rod- Moses had a shepherds staff to lead sheep but also to protect the flock from evil. He cast it down and it turned into a snake [cobra]. The cobra was very significant in Egypt. It was on the headdress of the Pharaoh, the emblem of the goddess Buto worshiped by the Egyptians. It was on the war crown of the Pharaoh and on the helmets of soldiers, and painted on walls and monuments throughout the land.
Moses ran when it turned into a snake. He responded like most of us do to snakes [evil]. But God said, “pick it up by the tail”. When he did it turned into a rod again. God was showing Moses His divine authority over Egypt, evil and the evil one!
Matthew 28:18–20 NKJV
18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
[6-8] Leprosy- Moses was told to put his hand in his cloak and pull it out and it was leprous. He put it back in his cloak and took it out and it was restored. This was a miracle of God’s power over health and disease, life and death.
Proverbs 4:20–22 NKJV
20 My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. 21 Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; 22 For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their flesh.
[9] Water to blood- Moses was told if they did not believe him by now this last sign was a sign of judgment. The Nile was life to the land of Egypt for agriculture and basic water supply to the land. Turning water into blood was turning life into death for the Hebrews and the Egyptians.
Matthew 11:20 NKJV
20 Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent:
Take your Bible in your hand. It is the rod of God that leads, protects and provides for His people. It is the assurance of His authority over evil, sickness and disease, life and death, but it also is His authority by which He will judge the nations.
At this point, there should be no excuses left for Moses nor us of why we shouldn’t go when God calls us! Amen!

4. I’m not a Public Speaker; 4:10-12

I’ve heard this excuse a thousand times and used this excuse myself. “I AM” is all we need, not “I Can’t”.
If God can turn rods into serpents and serpents into rods, if He can cause and cure leprosy, and if He can turn water into blood, then He can enable Moses and us to speak His Word with power.
Acts 7:22 NKJV
22 And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds.
Before Moses fled Egypt, he was mighty in words and deeds. What happened? Forty years of being comfortable in the desert cooled his convictions for the work of the Lord!
Too often christians do the same thing by getting comfortable in the pews and the passivity of a weak pulpit and just go through the motions of religion instead of growing in a relationship.
[11-12] God said, “I made your mouth and I will teach you what to say.”
2 Samuel 23:2 NKJV
2 “The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me, And His word was on my tongue.
Isaiah 50:4 NKJV
4 “The Lord God has given Me The tongue of the learned, That I should know how to speak A word in season to him who is weary. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear To hear as the learned.
Jeremiah 1:9 NKJV
9 Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me: “Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.
John 14:26 NKJV
26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
John 16:13 NKJV
13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.
1 Corinthians 2:1–5 NKJV
1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 3 I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

5. I don’t want to go; 4:13-17

Moses just flat out refuses to obey the Lord. He was honest but foolish.
He had begun by telling the Lord, “Here I am” (3:4c), but now he says, “Send someone else.” Many Christians say, “Here I am, Lord,” until they find out what He wants them to do; then, they too say, “Send someone else.”
[14] God gets angry with Moses, but God wouldn’t take no for an answer! He simply told Moses that his brother Aaron would speak for Him but Moses still had to go. When God’s plan involves you, you can go with joy and thanksgiving or kicking and screaming! But you’re gonna go! Neither Moses nor Jonah nor you or I or anybody can thwart the plan of God.
[15-17] God in His righteous anger gives encouragement to Moses through Aaron, his brother. Aaron will be the spokesman for Moses. Moses agrees to go but now he goes as “second fiddle” so to speak.
Beware of being second best. When God gets angry and accommodates our wishes and because of our stubbornness, we will soon wish we had never had those wishes.
Aaron wasn’t always a help to his brother. It was Aaron who cooperated with the people in making the golden calf (Ex. 32), and Aaron and his sister Miriam were critical of Moses and his wife and brought trouble to the camp (Num. 12).
There are consequences to making excuses to God when He calls us to follow Him.
Ezekiel 33:6–7 NKJV
6 But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.’ 7 “So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me.
2 Timothy 4:1–2 NKJV
1 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.
The lesson is very clear; God knows us better than we know ourselves, so we must trust Him and obey what He tells us to do. When we tell God our weaknesses through excuses, we aren’t sharing anything He doesn’t already know. The will of God will never lead you where the power of God can’t enable you, so walk by faith in His promises.
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