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Moses, a Man of Many Excuses

May 23, 2013

While reading Exodus 4 recently, I realized Moses was a man with many excuses. When reading this text, most of us focus on the actions, or responses of God. Yet, like many of us, Moses was resisting God’s call on his life. Moses proceeds by giving one excuse after another with each being defeated by a deft response from God. If we take a look at Moses’ excuses, we may be shocked to find our reflection behind the words.

In the first verse of the chapter, Moses states “But behold, they will not believe me or listen to my voice, for they will say, ‘The LORD did not appear to you.’”[1] This is what could be called an “excuse from a position of reason.” On the surface, this excuse seems quite reasonable. After all, why would Moses have any reason to believe his people would listen to the words as the word of God? Really, he had none. What Moses did not take into consideration was God was the one who was asking him. God would provide a plan. When we take this into consideration, it would seem this excuse is just that – an excuse.

Moses had another excuse ready: “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” (verse 10) This is the excuse from a felt lack of qualification. Moses was informing God he felt he was not qualified for the “position.” When you look at the excuse from that position, it looks quite absurd.

His last, and the root of his excuses, is in verse 13: “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.” We could call this the “the toddler excuse.” I could only imagine it sounded to God like a toddler sounds to its parent, “But I don’t want to!” This is the underlying excuse which fuels the others. This might be the most honest reason yet. In the end game, Moses just wants someone else to do the task.

Where does this leave us? We should look at ourselves through each of these excuses. What is God trying to tell you to do that you are trying to reason your way out of? There may be many reasonable responses to God’s call: “I can’t afford to sell the house” or “That would cost money we just don’t have.” While these are valid reasons, when dealing with God’s call they become excuses.

Where in your life are you using the excuse of a “lack of qualification?” Many times we believe we do not have enough experience in that particular role, or we lack ordination, licensing, or a seminary education. Yet if God is calling, He already knows and understands these things. More importantly, He already has an answer for them. He is waiting for you to say “yes” so these answers can come to fruition.

Last, what is the “toddler excuse” in your calling? Are you telling God to send someone else? Is that your underlying feeling which you are covering with the other two excuses? At some point in each of our lives we hit this point. We are just saying “no” to God. Our reasons may each be different, but the answer is “no.” The answer here is to GO! Accept His call and move forward. Let God open the doors He has prepared for you. Let Him give you the words you need. He has an adventure waiting for you. Go on it now!


[1] All Scripture is from the English Standard Version (ESV)

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