There are tell-tale signs of the image people have of God in how they answer the challenges He puts forth in our lives. A study in the life of Moses will do much to expose ourselves and our pursuit of Christianity. Last week I spoke concerning what happens when we see God, today I want us to catch a glimpse of God as I speak concerning God the enabler, from excuses to excellence. Turn with me in your Bibles to Exodus chapter 3. Moses is 80 years old, 40 years has past since he killed the Egyptian and escaped from Egypt. In that time, Moses has married, had children, and left the luxury he was accustomed in Egypt to the tending of sheep for his father-in-law, Jethro in Median. Moses had undergone a complete career change and was doing quite well when God appeared through a bush and a plan to change the direction of his life once again.
Moses represents many of us. God intervened in his young life, saving him from the alligator infested waters of the Nile River, putting him in the home of the very Pharaoh who decreed the death of all Hebrew baby boys. Moses then tries in his own efforts to correct the injustice the Israelites were experiencing under the Egyptian rule, killing an Egyptian, then being rejected by the very people he was trying to help. Moses flees from Egypt, meets up a nomadic people, the Midians and marries one of the Midian priests daughters, Zipporah. God has not forgotten about Moses, nor has He forgotten about His people.
Look at verse 8 (read 8-10). Quite powerful. God appears, gets Moses attention through the burning bush and then instructs him in the knowledge of God’s own redemptive plan. You see when God redeems, He not only redeems us from something, but He always redeems us to something. In the case of the Israelites, He was not only going to deliver His people out of bondage, but He was bringing them to a land that was flowing with milk and honey. And the same redeeming God at work then, is also at work here in our midst today.
And people are the same as well. (READ 11-12). Do you see any comparison? Moses was basically saying, great plan God, I hope you can find someone to do it, that is someone other than me, because I am not capable. Been there, done that, and I am not interested in taking the wife and kids back there for any sight seeing. Now lets be honest. Haven’t we all personally felt like Moses, inferior for such a holy and difficult task to which we have been called? God told Moses not to sweat it, that He was going to be right there with him, and that Moses needed to have this picture in his mind, the mountain the bush was burning at, would be the mountain Moses would lead the people of Israel too so they could all worship God there.
Is Moses ready to respond? (READ 13-22) In ancient times, deity had a personal name, and to know that name was to enjoy the privilege of relationship with that deity. Moses said, the people will ask what is your name, and I have no personal knowledge of your name. God explains who He is, I Am Who I Am.
How many of you like to make excuses? Moses did, and he is not done yet. Look at chapter 4 (read 1-9). No one will believe me anyway, so basically I might as well stay home. But God says I will not let you go empty handed, here is a rod that will turn into a serpent; your hand, when pressed into your bosom will become leprous and when pressed against your bosom again it will be restored; and when you take water from the Nile and pour it on dry land it will become blood on the ground.
Moses considers there responses and still has a reason why God is speaking to the wrong person from the burning bush. (read 10-17). I cannot speak eloquently. This was Moses last bastion to hide behind, and it is also usually ours as well. When urged to witness, to share our faith, we insist we are not eloquent enough. God’s answer to Moses, God’s answer to us is that He will be with our mouth, and He will teach us what to say.
The truth is this. In our Christian life, in our response to our relationship with God, most of us do not arrogantly aspire for too much, but we will sheepishly settle for far too little. We have become onlookers to God’s activities, spectators and recipients, but not active participants, acting out the wishes of God who is trying to produce something in us and though us to other people. No, we need to come to the realization that when we know we can’t do it, that we can do it through the grace and power of God. With all of the excuses of Moses, God was not going to let him off the hook, just as he will not unhook us today. When our excuses run out, God then moves to center stage as our enabler, taking us from our excuses into His excellence.
God commissioned Moses to return to Egypt, send with a mouthpiece, Aaron who joined with him on the way, and with his shepherd-staff, Moses performed signs and wonders among the people so they believed God saw their afflictions, and the bowed to the enabling God.
The tell tale sign of the image people have of God is how they answer the challenges God puts before them, how they work through the excuses they have, their own doubts, and respond to the call of God in their lives. Participants in the great unfolding end time work of God, or recipients of the work of others, living as spectators in the greatest drama of all times.
God asks us the question today He asked Moses in verse 2, "What is that in your hand?" God enables us through what we have, not what we wish we could have, and the answer to this question will vary from person to person, but there are three positive attributes we all possess. First, we all have time, some younger people may have less time then they think they have, and some older people may have more than they anticipate. But we all have a certain amount of time ahead of us, a little or a lot. Give God that time. It’s your most precious commodity.
Secondly, we all have money, though again, it may be very little or a whole lot. We can be stewards of whatever we have now and what we will have in the future. After all, money is a function of time--it is compensation for the sacrifice of time. It is given in exchange for a chunk of your life and your creative abilities.
Thirdly, we all have reputation and influence. There are people who know and trust you, however large or small that group may be. You may feel called to speak or act in a way that makes you look ridiculous before them. Will you do that? Moses risked that. That is what faith is all about.
Years ago an article appeared in Forbes magazine with some unusual advice. It said, "If you want happiness, take tranquilizers or pray for senility. Anxiety is inevitable and prolonged depression is normal." During the years on the Midian desert, Moses had a tranquil life. He was happily married, the father of healthy children, keeping sheep and living a good, clean, outdoor life. When God called, all the tranquillity was over. Life became complicated, but the adventure began. After 40 years of preparation, Moses life took off.
God’s call to you and me is meant to be disturbing, a call full of high risks and high adventure. We respond, beginning with what we have in our hand, time, money and our influence. This God will use.
This morning, if you are suffering from excuses, it’s time to let go, and let God. God is getting ready to release something in our generation which the world has not experienced, its time to all God to enable us to move us from excuses to excellence. Are you ready?