Category Archives: Excuses


It is commonly assumed that Moses was unaware of his Abrahamic heritage when he was growing up in Pharaoh’s court. But scripture indicates that Moses knew all along from whence he came. His adventure as an infant in an ark of bulrush, purposefully placed among the flags of the river, was probably not just an act of desperation on his mother’s part, but possibly all part of a well-laid out plan to save this special child alive. It just happened to be where Pharaoh’s daughter was wont to bathe and she just happened to want a son.

Furthermore, his sister was strategically placed to allow her to suggest to Pharaoh’s daughter a very special woman to nurse the child–the child’s own mother! Would she, could she, withhold from her own son the knowledge that he was a Hebrew, a thing which Pharaoh’s daughter already knew? He apparently did know it for when he was grown the Text says “he went unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens” (Ex. 2:13). Paul said Moses “refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter” and chose to “suffer affliction with the people of God” (Heb. 11:24,25). Upon seeing the fate of his Hebrew brethren, he sought to rectify an injustice and slew an Egyptian and hid him in the sand (Ex. 2:12).

If he had some knowledge that God was going to use him to deliver the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage, as some rabbinic traditions suggest (cf. also Heb. 11:23; Ex. 2:2), he may have thought he might do it on his own. But such a course of action never, ever works. God’s designs will be carried out in God’s own good time and in His own way (e.g., Gal. 4:4). Regardless, his actions incurred the wrath of Pharaoh and Moses’ own hopes of saving his brethren were dashed. Moses failed and fled for his life but God had His own plans for him.

Out in the dried up, harsh and unforgiving climes of the backside of the desert, on Mount Horeb, God appeared to Moses and informed him that he would deliver Israel out of Egypt (Ex. 3:7-10). Though he was once anxious to deliver his brethren out of bondage, Moses now only offered excuses to God as to why he was unfit to lead. “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh?” (Ex. 3:11). “What shall I say unto them” when they ask “What is His name” (Ex. 3:13)? “But they won’t believe me” (Ex. 4:1)! But “I am not eloquent . . . but am slow of speech” (Ex. 4:10). “Send someone else, but not me” (Ex. 4:13). These are excuses, perhaps, with which none of us are unfamiliar. But when the LORD God almighty commands a thing, it will be done! And Moses went.

Whatever else might have been racing through Moses’ excited mind, from this point on he acted in great faith. Paul said “he endured, as seeing Him who is invisible” (Heb. 11:27). He faced great obstacles. His own people murmured against him ten times (Num. 14:22). Paul explicitly named Jannes and Jambres as having withstood Moses (II Tim. 3:8). Israel constantly joined themselves to false gods and acted sinfully. Enemies, like the Amalekites and the Midianites, constantly stood in the way as he led God’s people out of Egyptian bondage and to the promised land. But Moses endured and sang a song of triumph and faith after he and Israel were baptized in the sea and in the cloud (Ex. 14:21-15:19; I Cor. 10:1,2).

God spoke with Moses as He spoke with no other. God spoke “face to face, as a man speaketh unto a friend” (Ex. 33:11). This was not literal. What Moses saw was the similitude of the Lord, for no man could see God’s face and live (Ex. 33:20; Num 12:8). But because Moses was faithful in all his house, he could speak to God intimately and freely, and God would not speak to him in dark speeches (Num. 12:6-8). In this respect, there arose not a prophet since in Israel, like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew (Deut. 34:10). However, Moses, by inspiration, did prophesy of One Prophet, like unto Moses, which was to come from among them and to Whom they should hearken (Deut. 18:15-18).

When the Lord stood on the Mount of Transfiguration, along with Moses and Elijah, Moses was able to speak with the Lord in person (Matt. 17:3; Mark 9:4). Then Moses spoke to God face to face. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to know the contents of their conversation! There, on the Mount of Transfiguration, Peter foolishly suggested that three tabernacles be built, one to honor Christ, Moses and Elijah (Matt. 17:4). But God spoke from heaven saying of Christ, “This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him” (Matt. 17:5). After Pentecost, Peter finally understood, that Jesus was the One to Whom Moses’ prophesy of another prophet like unto him pointed (Acts 3:19-24).

Moses gave the children of Israel the law. The underlying principles of that law are the foundation for all the laws in western, civilized society. The law, itself, however, was given to the Jews. It served it’s God ordained purpose to expose sin and bring us unto the Christ (Rom. 3:20; 7:7; Gal. 3:24). As John states, the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ (John 1:17). That Old Covenant was nailed to the cross and now we have a better Covenant, based on better promises and better blood (Col. 2:14; Heb. 7:19,22; 8:6; 9:23; 10:34; 11:35, 40; 12:24). And now we, after we have passed through the waters of baptism, may sing the New Song of Moses and the Lamb (Rev. 14:1-3; 15:3) as we strive to enter that better, heavenly country (Heb. 11:16).

Eric L. Padgett

Stop With The Excuses

Moses was a reluctant leader. Good leaders usually are. Beware the man who wants to lead you! Many people want power and authority to merely advance their own personal interests. Like Diotrephes, they want to have the preeminence over others. But Moses was not that kind of man. He tried every way he could think of to get out of a position of leadership, but God would not let him. His excuses were the excuses that many of us use even to this day.

First, Moses argued that he was not qualified. “Who am I,” asked Moses, “that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?” (Ex. 3:11). Though Moses had once lived in the court of Pharaoh, he had since fled for his life as a fugitive and spent the last forty years hiding in the desert as a shepherd. Besides, one might imagine, leading the great multitude of the children of Israel was the job of a young man full of energy, not an 80 year old man cowering in fear! But God immediately invalidated his excuse and said “Certainly I will be with thee” (Ex. 3:12).

How many of us try to get out of doing the Lord’s work by offering up this same old, lame excuse. Who am I to tell others about the Lord? Who am I to teach a Bible class? Who am I to warn others? But the Lord’s clear and immediate response is “Certainly I will be with thee.” In fact, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Heb. 13:5,6).

Second, Moses argued that those who heard him would deny his authority to do what he was doing. Who is this God for whom you are speaking? “What is His name?” he believed thy would ask (Ex. 3:13). Again, the Lord dispensed with this excuse by saying “Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you” (Ex. 3:14).

If we seek to go about doing the Lord’s will on our own authority, we surely will be inadequate for the task! But we may speak boldly, if we speak as the oracles of God, with the authority of God ( I Pet. 4:11). When we speak, we should give a Thus saith the Lord for everything we say (Col. 3:17). It is His authority by which we speak and not our own.

Third, Moses argued that he shouldn’t be sent because they wouldn’t believe him. “The Lord hath not appeared unto thee,” will be their response, he says, therefore don’t send me (Ex. 4:1). God’s response was to show him His power through miracles which would produce faith in His word (Ex. 4:2-8). But even then, the Lord points out, that may not even be enough to produce faith in their hardened hearts (Ex. 4:9).

Today, of course, we don’t have at our disposal the power to perform miracles, but we do have the written word which was confirmed by “signs, wonders, and divers miracles with gifts of the Holy Ghost” (Heb. 2:-4). Besides, some will not be impressed even with miracles, not even a resurrection from the dead. As Jesus said, “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead” (Luke 16:31). But that did not stop the Lord from coming to this world, it did not stop the apostles from being ambassadors for the Lord (II Cor. 4:20) and it is no excuse for us. Some will not believe, but some may!

Fourth, Moses appealed to his lack of speaking skills. “O my Lord, I am not eloquent…I am slow of speech and slow of tongue” (Ex. 4:10). But God reminded Moses that it was God that made his mouth (Ex. 4:11). Again, Moses was focusing his attention on the wrong object, himself. It was not about Moses, and it is not about us. It is about the Lord! Might we be embarrassed? Only if we are focused on ourselves and not on the Lord or on the souls of the lost or on the word of God.

Too many people want eloquence instead of truth. I had rather hear a stammering, clumsy, frightened humble man speak the simple truth than hear a silver-tongued, slick, polished self-absorbed orator tickle the ears of the listeners with white-washed error! Saving sincere souls does not depend on eloquence or oratory but on the power of the truth of the gospel of Christ (Rom. 1:16,17).

Finally, Moses just wanted God to send someone else. Anyone else! “And he said, O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send” (Ex. 4:13). But this only served to anger the Lord (Ex. 4:14). He agreed to send Aaron as Moses’ spokesman, but God wanted Moses to do his job. And He wants us to do our jobs without excuses!

We can raise all kinds of excuses not do the Lord’s will, but they are only excuses. God is not pleased with them, He grows weary of them, and one day He will allow no more time for excuses. If you refuse, God will send someone else, because the job must be done. If we refuse to do the will of the Lord, someone else will. God’s purposes will not be frustrated. But God wants us to stop with the excuses and get to work.

Eric L. Padgett