Summary: God has a plan for us, and like Moses, we resist it, but God is persistent and patient.
“Couldn’t You Send Someone Else?”
The Reverend Anne Benefield
Geneva Presbyterian Church, August 31, 2008
Introduction: Today, we will continue the story of Exodus. We’ll hear the story of the burning bush and God’s call to Moses. Since the story is pretty long, I’m going to highlight certain passages and quickly summarize other parts.
Exodus: 3 & 4
Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. Then Moses said, “I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.” When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then he said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” He said further, “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 at God.
Then the Lord said, “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey…The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them. So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites out of Egypt.” But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” God said, “I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.”
But Moses said to God, “If I come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” He said further, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I am has sent me to you.’” God also said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’:
This is my name forever,
And this is my title for all generations.
[Next God gives Moses some instructions, telling him what to do and to expect the Pharaoh to not agree. God promises Moses that the leaving will go well and the Hebrews will not leave empty handed.]
Then Moses answered, “But suppose they do not believe me or listen to me, but say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you.’” The Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” [The Lord shows Moses how He will work through Moses’ rod. Next the Lord shows how He can create leprosy and heal it.]
But Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor even now that you have spoken to your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” Then the Lord said to him, “Who gives speech to mortals? Who makes them mute or deaf, seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you are to speak.” But Moses said, “O my Lord, please sent someone else.”
Prayer: Gracious God, we resonate with Moses’ words, wondering if there isn’t someone better equipped, wiser, or stronger than we who can carry Your Word out into the world. Show us that You are with us, supporting us the whole journey. Amen.
When I received my call to go into ministry, I was praying. Immediately, I rejected the call, telling God that I was a business person, not really minister material. I knew how to speak about marketing. I knew a bit about managing people. I could talk about that. On and on I went with all of the reasons I couldn’t become a minister including money, my daughter Deborah, and my ignorance of the Bible. There were plenty of reasons why I couldn’t become a pastor and I would learn more of them along the way—long after I’d become a pastor.