Summary: God always has an answer for every excuse we offer when he calls us.
Lessons From the Life of Moses:
There Are No Excuses with God
“Excuses,” some wise sage once said, “are like armpits. Everyone has them and they usually all stink.” I was struck by a news article published by UPI that listed the most absurd excuses The Metropolitan Insurance Company had received through the years from its customers who had reported automobile accidents. Listen to some of these excuses:
An invisible car came out of nowhere, struck my car, and vanished.
The other car collided with mine without warning me of its intention.
I had been driving my car for 40 years when I fell asleep at the wheel and had the accident.
As I reached an intersection, a hedge sprang up, obscuring my vision.
I pulled away from the side of the road, glanced at my mother-in-law, and headed over the embankment.
The pedestrian had no idea which direction to go, so I ran over him.
The telephone pole was approaching fast. I attempted to swerve out of its path when it struck my front end.
The guy was all over the road. I had to swerve a number of times before I hit him.
The indirect cause of this accident was a little guy in a small car with a big mouth.
We all make our excuses, from getting out of that un-solicited lunch date to why we didn’t finish the job we were given on time. But nowhere are the excuses more evident than when we hear the call of God on our lives, and for one reason or another, we just can’t bring ourselves to listen or accept that God wants us. We can’t believe that God wants to use us, or we just don’t want to be bothered by the requirements or the sacrifice that God might ask us to make. So we make our excuses to God.
Guess what? We’re not the first generation to make excuses with God. Our friend Moses, when he was confronted with God’s call, could not bring himself to answer, and he like we often do, stammered around looking for just the right excuse thinking that God would change his mind. We find the event in Exodus 3 beginning with verse 11. Now, it would take too long to read the whole episode because it extends well into the fourth chapter of Exodus, so what I want to do is set the scene and then call your attention to Moses’ particular excuses. I want us to look at these biblical excuses, and as we do, I want us to discover that there really are no excuses with God.
First, the scene. Moses was busy for forty years keeping the sheep of his father-in-law Jethro on the backside of the Midian desert. One day, Moses sees this bush that burns unconsumed by the flames and decides he must get a closer look at this phenomenon. As Moses approaches, God speaks from the flames of the bush and reveals to Moses God’s plan to deliver the Hebrew nation from Egyptian bondage. You may remember that Moses had fled Egypt forty years before with a bounty on his head after he murdered an Egyptian soldier. Moses cannot believe that he is the chosen deliverer, and when God finishes telling him the plan, Moses begins to make his excuses for why he can’t do what God has asked him to do. Look at his first excuse:
And Moses said unto God, “Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?”
The Malone translation, if there were such a thing, would read thusly:
“But God, you can’t use me.”
Moses had a self-esteem problem. There was no way he could ever believe that God could or would want to use him for anything as daunting as facing Pharaoh, and asking him to let the Hebrew people go from their bondage. “Lord, I’ve been living on the back side of the desert dealing with these smelly old sheep. Who am I? I’m just a nobody.”
“I’m just a nobody.” Perhaps that is the key to understanding why God would call Moses at this point in his life. Only when we understand how helpless we are that we become willing to look for help. When we reach the point of really understanding that we are nobody, we can then begin to depend on God, and we know that when something great is accomplished, it is God who will receive the glory because we know we could never accomplish what was accomplished. To acknowledge we are a nobody is not saying we are worthlessness, but it is rather an acknowledgement of our dependence on God.
But God has an answer for the excuse that we’re a nobody. Here’s God’s answer to Moses in verse 12: