Summary: When God calls Moses he offered excuses instead of service and so do we at times.
A Study of the Life of Moses
Sermon # 5
“Excuses Instead of Service”
Exodus 3:10-15, 4: 1-17
Dr. John R. Hamby
Why is that we feel that we can offer excuses when it comes to things of the church that would be ridiculous if used anywhere else. Have you ever wondered what would happen if people were as intense and committed and determined about church as they are about sports – or any number of other pastimes. Some years ago Moody Monthly ran a piece which included excuses which a fellow might use for quitting sports.
“Every time I went they asked for money.
The people with whom I had to sit didn’t seem very friendly.
The seats were too hard and uncomfortable.
The coach never came to see me.
The referee made a decision with which I could not agree.
I was sitting with some hypocrites – they only came to see what others were wearing.
Some games went into overtime, and I was late getting home.
The band played numbers that I had never heard before.
The games were scheduled when I want to do other things.
My parents took me to too many games when I was growing up. Since I read a book on sports, I feel that I know more than the coaches anyhow.
I don’t want to take my children, because I want them to choose for themselves what sport they like best.” (as quoted by Charles Swindoll. The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart And 1,501 Other Stories. (Nashville: Word, 1998.) p. 189]
You need to remember that in Exodus 3, we have seen God tell Moses that he has heard the cry of Israel for deliverance and that he is now ready to deliver them. Then the surprise came in verse ten when God said, “Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” We are going to see today that when God confronts Moses with a call he offers, “Excuses Instead of Service.” Have you ever responded that way?
*You’re asked to teach a class - the excuses start.
* You’re asked to serve in the nursery - the excuses start.
* God put in on your heart to share your faith with a friend or neighbor – the excuses start.
* You’re made aware of someone with a need that you could provide – the excuses start.
* In fact if you’re asked to do just about anything for the Lord and the excuses start. “I’m too busy, I’m already doing this, get someone else.”
Sometimes our excuses pile up and get in the way of doing something for God. I read a humorous story about some GI’s on furlough that I think illustrates this. “The commanding officer was furious when nine GIs who had been out on passes failed to show up for morning roll call. Not until 7 p.m. did the first man straggle in. "I’m sorry, sir," the soldier explained, "but I had a date and lost track of time, and I missed the bus back. Being determined to get in on time, I hired a cab. Halfway here, the cab broke down. I went to a farmhouse and persuaded the farmer to sell me a horse. I was riding to camp when the animal fell over dead. I walked the last ten miles, and just got here." Though skeptical, the Colonel let the young man off with a reprimand. However, after him, seven other stragglers in a row came in with the same story-had a date, missed the bus, hired a cab, bought a horse, etc. By the time the ninth man reported in, the colonel had grown weary of it. "Okay," he growled, "now what happened to you?" "Sir, I had this date and missed the bus back, so I hired a cab ." "Wait!" the colonel screeched at him. "don’t tell me the cab broke down." "No, sir," replied the soldier. "The cab didn’t break down. It was just that there were so many dead horses in the road, we had trouble getting through." Excuses! (Contributed by John F. King ) Sometimes our excuses hold us back from accomplishing anything for God.
Moses had his “reasons” for not following the call of God. Moses begins a series of five reasons to demonstrate sufficient weakness so as not to be responsible for the call which God had given him.
Excuse One – The “Who Me” Excuse. (3:11-12)
The first excuse that Moses offers is kind of pitiful, but see if it does not sound like something that you may have said to God. Verse eleven says, “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?” Moses no doubt remembers his earlier failures. Stephen relates the story in chapter seven of the Book of Acts, (vv. 23-29), ““Now when he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren, the children of Israel. (24) And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended and avenged him who was oppressed, and struck down the Egyptian. (25) For he supposed that his brethren would have understood that God would deliver them by his hand, but they did not understand. (26) And the next day he appeared to two of them as they were fighting, and tried to reconcile them, saying, ‘Men, you are brethren; why do you wrong one another?’ (27) But he who did his neighbor wrong pushed him away, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge over us? (28) Do you want to kill me as you did the Egyptian yesterday?”