God was concerned about the suffering of His people in Egypt. He devised a plan to rescue them from the misery, slavery and the oppression of captivity and to take them to freedom in a new land which He was preparing for them. So, God picked the person of His choice to be their leader and to fulfil His purposes. On the surface, Moses seemed an unlikely choice. He was fearful and on the run, after murdering an Egyptian. Excuses as to why he shouldn’t fulfil God’s calling on his life consumed his thoughts.
Inept as Moses felt, for forty years, since he had been rescued from the River Nile to be brought up in Pharaoh’s palace, God had been preparing him for his life’s work. Moses’s excuses as to why he shouldn’t obey God’s call reflect some of the flaws in his character, which needed to be dealt with so that God could trust him and use him mightily. Can you recognise any of the following excuses which may be holding you back from fully trusting and obeying God’s call on your life?
Firstly - a sense of inadequacy. “Who am I that I should go?” (Exodus 3:11). That is not a bad sign because calling is a matter of sovereign grace and not human adequacy. The same Almighty One who spoke to Moses still speaks words of reassurance to us today, “I have sent you; I will be with you”. His presence, right motives and the knowledge that He has called us equip us on the pathway of obedience.
Secondly - inexperience. “What shall I tell them?” (Exodus 3:13). At the burning bush Moses had a revelation of the One who had called Him, “I am who I am”, meaning “I am now and always will be what I have always been”. This was the beginning of a life-long walk with God. You don’t fulfil God’s calling by getting experience, but by intimate relationship with Him, knowing Him as He really is. Heart-knowledge of His nature, character, calling and unconditional love act like an anchor in the inevitable storms ahead.
Thirdly - insecurity. “What if they do not believe me or listen to me?” (Exodus 4:1) Moses was assigned a supernatural task and in the form of a staff he was given supernatural power. On the pathway of obedience, he grew in security. His responsibility was to obey the One who had called him. He was not responsible for the results. Anyone can fulfil tasks, but the work in God’s kingdom is a supernatural work, and that is why Jesus left us the Holy Spirit. As we obey His still small voice, without taking responsibility for the results, we too will grow in security and effectiveness.
Fourthly - ineloquence. “I’ve never been eloquent … I am slow of speech and tongue” (Exodus 4:6). Effective leaders must be able to express themselves clearly, engage in debates and confrontations in order to carry people with them. To Moses the service to which he was being called was clearly daunting. Even God’s answer seemed to give him little assurance, “Now go and I will help you speak and will teach you what to say” (Exodus 4:12). God’s kingdom is an upside-down kingdom. It is the anointing of the Holy Spirit and utter dependency upon Him which fulfills God’s purposes. Self-reliance is never on God’s agenda.
Fifthly - inferiority. As Moses stood in the presence of God, he absolutely reached the end of himself. In desperation he cried, “Please send someone else” (Exodus 4:13). God is not a hard task master. He is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. However, He doesn’t change His mind. Moses was His chosen one and in order for His plan to be accomplished Moses’ brother Aaron was chosen to go with him. The last words Moses heard from the Lord were, “Take this staff in your hand so you can perform the signs with it” (Exodus 4:17). Without the staff, the journey ahead could never have been attempted. Similarly, for us today, once we come to the end of ourselves and in desperation cry out for the power of the Holy Spirit, we too are equipped to fulfil God’s calling on our lives. We can’t live on past experiences. We need to go on being filled with the Spirit of God, if we are to remain fresh and strong.
So, don’t make excuses. Excuses not to follow Jesus in uncompromising obedience come in different shapes and sizes, but they have one thing in common. They cause us to miss God’s calling on our lives.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you that I belong to you. You have called me to yourself, forgiven my sin and you indwell me by your Holy Spirit. I am not my own; I have been bought with a price. Today, ask for grace to fully surrender my heart to you and to live your way confident of your presence and guidance. Please forgive me for the times when I have looked at my weaknesses and made excuses rather than uncompromisingly obeying you. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
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