Summary: A sermon asking the question, "Why wouldn’t God use us in His kingdom?"
Why Not Us?
The Story of Moses
There are a lot of file folders in my office, although computers have allowed me to eliminate a good number of them over the past few years. But I keep a lot of important papers, information about missionaries, weddings that I’ve performed, financial information for the church. For almost 10 years now I’ve had a special file in my office – it’s titled “Julie’s pictures”.
You will only find a couple of pictures of my daughter in the file – it’s mostly filled with pictures that she has drawn and colored for me over the years. Especially important are the ones that say “I love you Daddy” on them. But every one of those drawings and coloring pages holds a special place in my heart. In one sense they are not the work of Michelangelo or DaVinci, but in another sense they are ever so much more precious and beautiful. Why? Because my daughter drew and colored them.
Often our kids will come to us, especially in their growing up years, but even as adults, seeking our approval and the validation of their investment in something. Artwork, sports, homework and riding a bike are just a few of the things they show us, looking for a “good job” or a “that’s wonderful.” Most of them have learned that as parents we’ll always be supportive and they can count on us for encouragement and love.
That assurance – that we will love and support them no matter what – is the reason they come with confidence when they color outside the lines or make that first cake that didn’t quite rise and say, “Look what I did mommy! Isn’t it good?” They know we’ll smile and say, “That’s awesome! You’re the best little cook in the whole world!”
But somewhere along the line, maybe it’s when we feel rejection for the first time at school, or ridicule because we don’t fit in with the expectations of others, we lose that measure of confidence that the complete acceptance of our parents gave us. Instead of boldly offering our contributions to the world, we become tentative and timid, afraid that what we receive for our efforts might be hurtful instead of positive.
Early in Moses’ life he must have felt confident. Maybe it was because of the influence he possessed after being raised up under the care of the King’s daughter. Maybe it was just youthful optimism that says, “I can do anything I put my mind to.” Whatever the case, Moses acted without much thought for what others might say – at least until he killed an Egyptian and tried to hide it.
Forty years later give or take, God called him to take the place of leadership he once believed he was destined for. Only now, after lots of time to think, he’s not so sure he’s the man for the job. So he tries to talk God out of using him.
A Question of Credibility
Moses is not looking to lead Israel out of Egypt. He wasn’t out in the desert scheming ways to get back into the game there. No, he was tending sheep and living a life that, by all evidence, he was pretty content in.
God had other ideas that Moses was not too excited about. When God told him in Exodus 3:10, “Now go for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.” that’s all he needed to hear.
Having already questioned and received answers about his own abilities and the true identity of God, Moses continues to probe for an excuse that would exempt him from this leadership role.
***Like jury duty. We make excuses until we find one that works.
Moses says, “Why me, Lord? Will I have any credibility with the folks back home? After all, they know me.”
Past failures were an issue with Moses. If you remember, he’d taken one run at this leadership thing as a much younger man and it backfired on him. Surely there were people around who would bring up those missteps and question his fitness.
My wife & I were youth pastors for eight years in our hometown. It can be difficult trying to lead people who watched you grow up, especially if they knew some of the stuff you were involved in before you were serving God. From a strictly human point of view, Moses had a legitimate concern. But those who God calls he equips, even to overcome their past. God put tools in Moses’ hands that would answer even the harshest critics.
A Question of Vulnerability
While his critics might have been convinced, Moses wasn’t. He felt he was better equipped than anyone, apparently even God, to understand his limitations. And by placing him in an up-front position with a speaking role, God was putting him in a position of what he felt was great vulnerability.