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