It's funny how young children make excuses when they do not want to do it. The minute you ask them to clean up their toys or eat their broccoli, they say, "my arm hurts," or "I ate an apple yesterday." They are just excuses. Kids will say just about anything when they want to get out of something, won't they? We naturally laugh at little children when they make silly excuses, but even as adults, we make up excuses. We say, "I am busy," or "I'm tired," or "I can do that later." We may even convince ourselves that these things are true, but they are genuinely excuses. Excuses are not beneficial. They usually do us, and others, more harm than good. We often make excuses when we feel ill-equipped or unable to do what we have been asked to do. Excuses are never helpful, but they are particularly hurtful when we make them regarding our faith. They keep us from taking steps that God has called us to take and making an impact for Him.
Moses understood what it was like to feel unprepared for what God called Him to do. In Exodus chapter 3, God called Him to go to Egypt and tell the Pharaoh to free the Israelite people from slavery. He promised Moses He would be with him through it all (verse 12). When God gave Moses this command, Moses began making excuses. He said in chapter 4, "What if they won't believe me or listen to me? What if they say, 'The Lord never appeared to you?'" God then showed him two miraculous signs to perform for the Israelites to convince them that God had spoken to them. He told Moses to perform this sign to the Israelites to believe God had spoken to Him. Then Moses protested, saying, "O Lord, I'm not very good with words. I have never been, and I'm not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled" (verse 10). God responded by reminding Moses that God created him and his mouth, so He would tell him what to say (verses 11-12). Finally, Moses ran out of excuses and finally said, "Lord, please! Send anyone else" (verse 13). God finally agreed to let his brother Aaron help him so he would not be alone. Aaron would be the mouthpiece of Moses and say whatever Moses told him to say (verse 16). Moses would not be alone.
Have you ever felt like Moses? Have you ever felt God prompting you to do something, and you immediately came up with excuses, wanting to say, “God, please send anyone else!” I have, too. The truth is, if God has called us, He will go with us. He will give us the words to say, tell us what to do, and guide us. We are not alone. Remember God's promise to Moses: "I will be with you" (verse 12).
What has God been calling you to do that you have felt nervous about? Maybe He has been calling you to serve in the church or to give. Maybe He has been calling you to share your faith with someone who does not have a relationship with Him and invite them to church. What excuses have you been making? Make a list of these excuses and pray through them. Ask God to help you to let go of these excuses and to trust Him instead.
"One day Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian. He led the flock far into the wilderness and came to Sinai, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush. Moses stared in amazement. Though the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn’t burn up. 3 “This is amazing,” Moses said to himself. “Why isn’t that bush burning up? I must go see it.”
4 When the Lord saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
“Here I am!” Moses replied.
5 “Do not come any closer,” the Lord warned. “Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground. 6 I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” When Moses heard this, he covered his face because he was afraid to look at God.
7 Then the Lord told him, “I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and lead them out of Egypt into their own fertile and spacious land. It is a land flowing with milk and honey—the land where the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites now live. 9 Look! The cry of the people of Israel has reached me, and I have seen how harshly the Egyptians abuse them. 10 Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.”
11 But Moses protested to God, “Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?”
12 God answered, “I will be with you. And this is your sign that I am the one who has sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God at this very mountain.”
13 But Moses protested, “If I go to the people of Israel and tell them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ they will ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what should I tell them?”
14 God replied to Moses, “I am who i am. Say this to the people of Israel: I am has sent me to you.” 15 God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: Yahweh, 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 eternal name,
my name to remember for all generations.
16 “Now go and call together all the elders of Israel. Tell them, ‘Yahweh, the God of your ancestors—the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—has appeared to me. He told me, “I have been watching closely, and I see how the Egyptians are treating you. 17 I have promised to rescue you from your oppression in Egypt. I will lead you to a land flowing with milk and honey—the land where the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites now live.”’
18 “The elders of Israel will accept your message. Then you and the elders must go to the king of Egypt and tell him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. So please let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord, our God.’
19 “But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand forces him. 20 So I will raise my hand and strike the Egyptians, performing all kinds of miracles among them. Then at last he will let you go. 21 And I will cause the Egyptians to look favorably on you. They will give you gifts when you go so you will not leave empty-handed. 22 Every Israelite woman will ask for articles of silver and gold and fine clothing from her Egyptian neighbors and from the foreign women in their houses. You will dress your sons and daughters with these, stripping the Egyptians of their wealth.”