Children have a difficult time separating what happens in their world from their own identity and behavior. When an event impacts them, such as divorce or abuse, they often believe it is the result of their “bad” identity or behavior.
Christians can get caught in this same thought process. We may begin to believe that everything that happens in our lives is a result of God’s being pleased or angry with us. But the reality is that sometimes things happen in our lives that have nothing to do with us, but rather that God desires to impact another person or a larger plan that is much bigger than we are.
If God is going to use any of us in all the ways He wants to, then we must realize it’s not all about us. Though we may not understand every detail, we still need to trust Him.
Moses is one of the greatest leaders in the Bible, yet when God calls Moses for His purposes, Moses has excuse after excuse for why he can’t obey. If God is going to use any of us in all the ways He wants to, then we must realize it’s not all about us. Though we may not understand every detail, we still need to trust Him.
At the beginning of Exodus 3, the 80-year-old Moses is tending sheep when God appears to him. God, having seen the oppression of his enslaved people in Egypt and heard their cries for help, calls upon His servant Moses to intervene:
Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring
My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”
But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” Exodus 3:10-11
God’s focus is on the suffering of His people Israel, not on Moses, and yet Moses cannot see past himself.
1. Moses expressed his insecurity, so God encouraged him with His eternal presence.
Moses responds to God by saying, “Who am I?” The answer is: he’s nobody! He’s an orphan, an outsider, and a murderer. In and of himself, he does not have the means or the power to confront the most powerful leader in the world and demand the release of two million slaves!
But God encourages Moses with His presence by responding, “I will certainly be with you.” (Exodus 3:11)
It’s not about who we are, but Whose we are. When we feel insecure about our own abilities, we must increase our awareness of the implications of God’s constant presence. He is always good enough!
2. Moses claimed ignorance, so God educated him with His name.
If God is going to “be with” him, Moses now questions God’s identity and authority.
Then Moses said to God, “Indeed, when
I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has
sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?”
And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” (Exodus 3:13-14)
In our finite world, everything has a beginning and an end, but God exists outside of the rules that govern us. His name tells us that He always was and always will be.
3. Moses doubts his own ability, but God reveals His supernatural power.
Then Moses answered and said, “But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you.’” So the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?”
He said, “A rod.”
And He said, “Cast it on the ground.” So he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail” (and he reached out his hand and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand), “that they may believe that the Lord God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.” Exodus 4:1-5
When God calls you do something, he gives you power that man does not have on his own. It is not about your ability, but about God’s ability. Therefore, we must get our eyes off of ourselves and our own accomplishments and back onto God.
4. When Moses fears his voice and his eloquence, God gives His words.
Then Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” So the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.” Exodus 4:10-12
Some people think that Moses had a stutter and so felt insecure about speaking as God’s representative. We all have insecurities that hold us back from accomplishing God’s purposes; we think we are not enough – not tall enough, not educated enough, not strong enough – but God uses the weak to confound the strong and the ignorant to confound the wise. Not only can he use us in our weakness, He will be glorified in doing so.
5. When Moses was insubordinate, God sent in support.
But he said, “O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send.” So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses, and He said: “Is not Aaron the Levite your brother? I know that he can speak well. And look, he is also coming out to meet you. When he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. Now you shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth. And I will be with your mouth and with his mouth, and I will teach you what you shall do. So he shall be your spokesman to the people. And he himself shall be as a mouth for you, and you shall be to him as God. And you shall take this rod in your hand, with which you shall do the signs.” Exodus 4:13-17
When God calls us for His purposes, He sends people to be on our side. He does not leave us alone!
Moses had five excuses for God, but God had five encouraging answers. Are you giving the Lord excuses today? Maybe it’s time to set your eyes back on Him. Moses eventually stepped up and did as God asked, freeing the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. Are you ready to exercise your trust in God so that you can be who He wants you to be?