"THE EXCUSES OF MOSES" Exodus 3:1-4:17 INTRODUCTION 1. When God appeared to Moses at the burning bush... a. He called him to the task of leading the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage b. In response, Moses gave excuses as to why he did not think he was the man for the job 2. The excuses of Moses, and God's response to them, will serve as the basis for our study... a. For in a similar way, as God's people today, we have received from God a special calling b. Not to go to a country to deliver those in physical bondage, but to a world to deliver those in the bondage of sin - cf. Mk 16:15 ; 1 Pe 2:9-10 -- Too often, though, we behave just like Moses, making the very same excuses! [Let's begin by reading Exo 3:1-10 , refreshing our memories of how God called Moses (read). Reminded of this call, we are now ready to consider the first of five excuses given by Moses...] I. "WHO AM I?" A. FOUND IN EXO 3:11 ... 1. Though Moses was once a member of the ruling house of Egypt... a. He was now but a lowly shepherd b. 40 years had passed since he had been in Egypt c. He was an 80 year old man, already past the average life span for his generation -- This prompted Moses to wonder whether he was the right man for the job 2. But God's response was quick, and should have been adequate... a. "I will certainly be with you..." - Exo 3:12 b. God promised to be with Moses, and this alone should have been sufficient c. As Paul later wrote, "If God is for us, who can be against us?" - Ro 8:31 B. SOME USE THIS SAME EXCUSE TODAY... 1. Trying to excuse ourselves by believing that we are insufficient for the task a. It is true that by ourselves that we are insufficient b. But God can make us sufficient - cf. 2 Co 3:5-6 c. Look what He did with the apostles! (uneducated and untrained men - Ac 4:13 ) 2. Through Jesus, God has provided us the same assurance given Moses - cf. Mt 28:20 3. With His help, we can accomplish anything He wants us to do! - Ph 4:13 [As will be apparent later, any excuse for not doing what the Lord has called us to do is simply a smokescreen. So it was with Moses, and we find him quickly coming up with another excuse...] II. "WHAT SHALL I SAY?" A. THIS EXCUSE IS FOUND IN EXO 3:13 ... 1. Moses knew that should he go to the children of Israel, there were bound to be questions a. Such as, "Who is this God who sent you to us?" b. And perhaps, "Why are we to leave this country we have come to consider our home for over 400 years?" -- Moses expresses inadequacy in knowing what to say 2. Again, God's response was quick... a. "Thus you shall say..." - Exo 3:14-15 b. God tells Moses what he needs to say in response to their questions B. AGAIN, A SIMILAR EXCUSE IS SOMETIMES GIVEN TODAY... 1. We try to excuse ourselves by saying that our knowledge is inadequate 2. But God has told us what to say... a. It is really quite simple - cf. Mk 16:15-16 b. How simple? - cf. 1 Co 15:1-4 ; 2:2 [And so, as with Moses, we have no reason for saying "what shall I say?" As we return to Moses, we see that despite God instructing him what to say, he soon raises a third objection...] III. "SUPPOSE THEY WILL NOT BELIEVE ME?" A. THIS EXCUSE IS FOUND IN EXO 4:1 ... 1. Now that he knows what to say, he balks at the idea that the people may not listen a. Is he afraid of failing? b. Has he already forgotten that God will be with him? 2. God responds by equipping him with several convincing proofs... a. The ROD, which turns into a serpent - Exo 4:2-5 b. His OWN HAND, which turns into leprosy - Exo 4:6-8 c. The WATER, which will turn to blood when dropped on the dry ground - Exo 4:9 B. SOME HESITATE TO SHARE THE GOSPEL FOR THE SAME REASON... 1. The fear of failure keeps them from trying 2. But just as God gave Moses convincing proofs, so He has given us the evidences necessary to convince the honest and sincere person... a. The Word of God, able to produce faith - Ro 10:17 ; Jn 20: 30-31 b. Especially its evidences concerning the resurrection of Christ, fulfilled prophecy, etc. -- With such aids, we cannot justify our inactivity in sharing the gospel with others! [You would think by now Moses would accept the call; but a fourth excuse is quickly given... ] IV. "I AM SLOW OF SPEECH AND SLOW OF TONGUE" A. WE FIND THIS EXCUSE IN EXO 4:10 ... 1. Moses claims that he is not an eloquent speaker 2. But God is not moved by this objection... a. He already knows the inability of those He calls - Exo 4:11 b. But He is able to make up for anyone's shortcomings 1) Again, promising to be with Moses - Exo 4:12 2) He had even arranged for Aaron to be Moses' mouthpiece - Exo 4:14-16 (who was sent earlier so as to arrive about this time - cf. Exo 4:27 ) B. SOME CHRISTIANS TRY TO USE THIS EXCUSE AS WELL... 1. But it did not stop the apostle Paul - cf. 1 Co 2:1 ,3-4 2. It has not stopped others a. I know of some who overcame speech impediments to become preachers b. I know of one who despite stammering would preach any opportunity he could 3. At the very least, we can make use of those who can speak by arranging studies for them with others (as did Cornelius - Ac 10:24 ,33) [We have considered four excuses that Moses gave; but as mentioned earlier, they were really smokescreens. The true reason for all these excuses is revealed in Exo 4:13 ...] V. "PLEASE SEND...WHOMEVER ELSE YOU MAY SEND" A. MOSES SIMPLY DID NOT WANT TO GO! 1. The previous excuses were simply a smokescreen attempt to hide this fact! 2. Now that the smokescreen is removed, God's impatience with Moses becomes evident a. His anger was kindled against Moses - Exo 4:14 a b. Read verses 15-17 with an emphasis on the word "shall" to appreciate the anger of the Lord B. BRETHREN, THE SAME IS TRUE WITH US TODAY! 1. Any and every excuse we could offer is only a smokescreen 2. We really would rather that God use someone else! 3. We really don't want to do what God has called us to do! 4. But brethren, the anger of the Lord is kindled against those who do not live up to their calling! -- If we have been making excuses, we need to repent! CONCLUSION 1. With Moses, we know the rest of the story... a. He answered the call, and went to Egypt b. With the help of God, he delivered the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage 2. But what about us? What will be the rest of our story? a. Shall we heed the call to preach the gospel to the lost? b. Or shall we make excuses and one day suffer the wrath of God? -- Only time will tell, but I pray that I encouraged all not to make excuses... What about the call to obey the gospel of Christ? Are you making excuses for not responding as you know you should? Another lesson will address some of the excuses people give for putting off obedience to the gospel (see "Why Are You Waiting?"), but if you know what you should do, you need to act today!