GOD’S ANSWERS FOR MAN’S EXCUSES
Exodus 3:1-12 (NKJV) – MOSES
Moses at the Burning Bush
3 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. 3 Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.”
4 So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!”
And he said, “Here I am.”
5 Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.” 6 Moreover He said, “I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God.
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.”
11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”
12 So He said, “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.”
Imagine for just a moment that you are God. You are the Creator of the Universe and you possess all power within yourself. All right, your people are being held as slaves and the time has come to deliver them. Who would you choose to do this great work? Perhaps you would send a great military leader? What about sending a skilled politician? Maybe you would send some great orator; a man who could give heart-stirring speeches that would grip the hearts of men. If you had the population of the world at your disposal, would you have sent Moses? Probably not! After all, he was 80 years old. He was a fugitive from justice, wanted for murder in Egypt, the very place you wanted to send him! Yes, he was well educated, but that was over 40 years ago. Yes, he had been well connected in the political circles of the day, but that too had been a long time ago. Yet, when it came the time for God to send a deliverer to Israel, this is exactly the person He chose for the job. To us humans, it doesn’t make much sense, but to God it was all part of a great plan.
While you think about this tonight, meditate and chew on this as well. We are living in the midst of a world that is going to Hell. People who are perishing daily and need desperately to be reached with the message of Jesus Christ surround us. If you were God, whom would you send to reach them? Wouldn’t you raise up some kind of super saints? Maybe you would ordain a few angels to get the job done right. But, surely you wouldn’t send a bunch of old sinners saved by grace to tell other old sinners about that grace. Why, if we were God, we would want the brightest minds and the most skilled individuals we could get our hands on. Yet, when God chose to reach this world for himself, He looked around and decided that saved sinners made the best candidates for His work.
He hasn’t changed His mind! He has saved every one of us to be workers for His glory, Eph. 2:10, James 2:18. But, when that realization dawns on us, we begin to drag out the excuses. We try and find every reason under the sun why we can’t be the one He wants for the job. This was Moses problem, and as we look into how the Lord handled Moses’ excuses, we find that He pretty skillfully handled ours as well.
In these 2 chapters, there is a wealth of encouragement for the Christian who wants to serve God but doesn’t feel capable. Let’s study these things together tonight and notice God’s Answers For Man’s Excuses.
I. 3:1-12 THE EXCUSE OF INABILITY
A. v. 11 Moses’ first concern is that he is a “nobody and is therefore unqualified to go to Pharaoh and demand the release of the Lord’s people.
(Ill. Many in the church feel this same way! We feel that we aren’t as qualified as someone else, or that we just don’t have the ability to get the job done properly. Yet, in haste to give up before we ever start, we forget one important truth – God chose us! To say we aren’t able to do the job says that God doesn’t know what He is doing! After all, who knows best, you or God?)
B. v. 12 God’s response to Moses, and to us, is to give a pair of precious promises. First, He tells Moses, “I will go with you.” This is the promise of His presence. Secondly, He says, “After you accomplish what I have sent you to do, I will meet you here.” This is the promise of a glorious reunion someday.
C. With these truths in mind, there is application that can be made to our lives today.
1. If God has called us, He has done so with full knowledge of our weaknesses and inabilities. (Ill. He knows you intimately – Psa. 103:14!)
2. If God has called us, He knows that we can accomplish the task through His power, Phil 4:13. (Ill. He knows the end from the beginning!)
3. When He sends us out into His work, He never sends us alone – Matt. 28:20; Heb. 13:5; John 14:16-18; John 16:13.
4. After the work has ended, He will gather us unto Himself where we will experience His great presence for eternity – John 14:3; Rev. 22:3.
D. If your excuse is one of inability, then just send that thought back to the Hell it came from! In and of yourself, you are incapable of anything godly and good, but through the power of God, you can do anything! (Ill. Gideon and his little band – They were strong in their weakness – Judges 7, as was the Apostle Paul – 2 Cor. 12:9-10.
II. 3:13-22 THE EXCUSE OF INADEQUACY
A. After telling God of his inabilities, Moses moves on to talk of his inadequacies. In these verses, Moses is saying to the Lord, “I just don’t know enough about who you are!”
(Ill. Many are in the same shape as Moses this evening. Not only do we feel that we are incapable of serving the Lord as we should, we also feel that we are just inadequate, that somehow, we just don’t know enough about God, His Word, etc, to get the job done.)
B. God’s response to Moses is to remind him that He is the “I AM!” While Moses may be inadequate, the God who calls him and equips him certainly is not! God is in essence saying to Moses, “Just do as I say, and I will show you who I AM as you need me to.”
(Ill. This is how the Lord works in our lives. He leads us out to follow Him by faith and we know very little about Him or His ways, but as the needs arise, God proves Himself adequate and faithful to every challenge. His great Name, I AM, becomes and open ended statement of fact. In those 2 words, God tells us that He is what we need to Him to be at every moment of our lives. There is not a situation you will ever find yourself in that God doesn’t hold the solution to. He is able and He enables us as we go through life!)
C. Following the Lord by faith is often a scary affair. When we look at the size of the task and compare our abilities to it, we often see ourselves lacking what is needed for true success. However, in figuring these things out, we always leave God out of the equation! When God is factored in, 2 + 2 doesn’t necessarily equal 4!
D. Never allow a lack of an education, a lack of money, a lack of skill or any other thing stop you from being everything God wants you to be. Even if you can’t see within yourself the resources needed, just be faithful to obey Him who has called you and placed you in His work. Above all, when you are measuring yourself against the task always remember to measure him who is above all others and obstacles, Eph. 3:20!
E. Noah probably didn’t feel adequate beside that Ark. David must have felt pretty small next to Goliath. The Three Hebrews probably felt in adequate against that furnace. Daniel must have looked pretty inadequate beside that Lion’s Den. All through the Bible, God’s people have been placed alongside obstacles against which they looked and felt inadequate, but with the power of God working through them, they were able to overcome them all. If God willdo it for them, He will do it for you too! He is no respecter of persons – Rom.2:11.
III. 4:1-9 THE EXCUSE OF INFERIORITY
A. After the Lord handles all of Moses’ other excuses, Moses decides that if he tells people that he has had a personal meeting with God Himself, they will decide that Moses is lying. In other words, no one will believe what he tells them.
(Ill. Many believers feel this exact way when it comes to serving the Lord without fear. Many seem to have the impression that others will think they are crazy when they begin to talk of a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, or of they say they talk to God and that He talks back. The truth is, we often feel that we are inferior to the world around us. We have had this wonderful, life-changing event and we are sure that they will never believe us, when we tell them about it.)
B. God’s response to Moses is to let him know that when the Lord gets through working in and through him, there will be no doubt in the minds of others as to the truth of Moses’ story! In fact, God makes it plain in verse 9 that no matter what they skeptics say, He will keep working in Moses until they are sure that his story is genuine!
(Ill. This is true in the lives of God’s children as well. When the Lord comes in saving power, He also comes in life changing power. No life can be touched by the salvation that is in Jesus Christ and remain like it was! He will recreate the new believer in His image, 2 Cor. 5:17. That is not to say that there won’t be lapses from time to time. However, the child of God will be unmistakably changed.)
C. We are not inferior to anyone this evening! In fact, we are the twice-bought children of the living God. That makes us people of greatness. Therefore, let us allow the Lord the right of way in our lives. Let us give Him the room to work in us so that this lost world may see that there is power in the Blood, that Jesus still does save souls, and that there is hope for their souls too.
IV. 4:10-17 THE EXCUSE OF INFIRMITY
A. In a last ditch effort to escape the yoke God intends for him, Moses appeals to some sort of a speech impediment. It may be that Moses just thought and therefore responded slow, or it may be that he stuttered. Whatever the infirmity, Moses tries to use it as an excuse for not doing the will of God.
(Ill. Many of the Lord’s children are just like Moses. They look at their lack of education, a physical handicap, their age, their income, you name it, in an effort to stay out of the Lord’s field. In truth, these are not legitimate excuses for not serving the Lord. There are none! Whatever your hold up may be, God was well aware of it before He chose you for His work. Therefore, our duty is to yield to His hand and allow Him His free reign in our lives.)
B. God’s response to Moses is that He made man’s mouth and He made man’s mind, and He was able to give man what he needed when he needed it! (Notice Moses’ attempt to put God off – v. 13, at this God gets angry and promises Moses a helper. He will send Aaron his brother along as a spokesman. But, it is worthy to note that Aaron was always leading the people into sin – The Golden Calf and in speaking against Moses because of his wife.)
(Ill. You and I have no need to fear being used of the Lord. He is still God, and He can still take those whom He has saved and fill their minds and their mouths for His glory – Luke 12:11.)
(Ill. We too, have been given a helper in the Person of the Holy Spirit! He is ever with us and will teach us what we need to know along the way – John 16:15. However, unlike Aaron, He will never cause or lead us into trouble. His plan is to help us along the way so that we might be the best Christians we can be for the glory of the Lord.)
C. If your excuse is infirmity this evening, then put that thought aside this evening. God used a jackass to speak to Balaam, He used a rooster to speak to Peter, He used an old sheep hide to speak to Gideon and He can use you. All He asks is that you be available and that you be usable.
It appears to me that regardless of the excuses that man concocts for not doing the will of God, God always has an answer. Here is the bottom line. If you have missed everything else, then get this: God wants to use YOU. He has saved you by His grace and He has made something out of your life. Now, He wants to show you off to a lost and dying world. The best thing you and I can do is throw our excuses down and realize that God is able where we are not. Our heart’s desire should be and must be to serve Him at all costs, regardless of what He asks from our lives. After all, He gave His all, and He asks no less from us. Are you willing to come to Him tonight and throw in the towel?
Are you willing to say, “God, here I am send me”, like Isaiah did? If so, the recruitment station is open for business right now. All I am saying is what Moses would tell you if he were here. He would say, “Church, you can argue with the Lord until you are blue in the face, but He is going to get His way. You might as well go under His blessing than under His whip.”