TEXT: Exo. 3.1-10

INTRO.: A study of Moses's life is fascinating and beneficial, not only by considering his great faith, but also by noticing his shortcomings.
In Exodus 3:1-10, God appeared to Moses on Mt. Sinai in the burning bush and commissioned him to go to Egypt and lead the Israelites out of bondage to freedom.

However, Moses began to offer up several excuses as recorded in Exo. chs. 3 and 4. These excuses, and God's responses, teach some valuable lessons for us today when we might be tempted to justify ourselves like Moses tried to do. We often use the phrase "Beating Around The Bush" to describe someone who's making excuses.
That's what Moses did and what we sometimes do today. Let's look at them.

I. 1st, he said, "Who am I?" (3.11)

A. Moses was to tell Pharoah that God said, "Let my people go." His first excuse was "Who am I" to do something like this? As Christians, we're called upon to make disciples of people by teaching what Christ has commanded: Matt. 28.19,, 2 Tim. 2.2. This involves telling people that they're sinners, that they need to obey the gospel, and that they need to live right. Sometimes, we respond by saying, "Who am I to tell people these things?"

B. Notice God's response to this excuse by Moses (3.12)--"I will be with you." Certainly God won't be with us in the exact same way that He was with Moses, providing the direct guidance of what we often call inspiration in his speaking. However, Jesus has promised to be with His followers as they teach His word: Matt. 28.20

C. Thus, whenever we're speaking the revealed word of God, God is with us because His authority is present in His word: Lk. 10.16, Jn. 13.20. Who are we to tell people that they're sinners, that they need to obey the gospel, and that they need to live right? That's not the real question. The real question is, what does God say in His word? And when we teach exactly that, God will be with us

II. 2nd, Moses said, "I don't know what to say" (3.13)

A. Moses was concerned even about how he'd be received by the children of Israel. When Moses came to them and said that he'd been sent by the God of their fathers, they'd ask what His name was and Moses wouldn't know what to say. We know that we've been called upon to preach the gospel to others: Mk. 16.15. But we may respond, "Well, I would but I just don't know what to say."

B. Notice God's response to this excuse by Moses (3.14). God told him what to say. And God has already told us what to say by laying it out in the scriptures. The fact of the matter is that we really can't do any better than to say what Jesus Himself said: Mk. 16.16.

C. The power isn't in our own ability to say just the right thing at precisely the right time in exactly the right way. Rather, the power is in the gospel itself: Rom. 1.16. Thus, we can have absolute assurance that when we speak what God has already revealed in the gospel, it will accomplish the purpose which God intended

III. 3rd, Moses said, "It won't do any good" (4.1)

A. Moses seemed to keep coming up with reasons why not to do what God said. "They won't listen to me anyway, so it just won't do any good." It's clear that God wants His people to teach others also: 2 Tim. 2.2. Yet, we often try to excuse ourselves in not doing it by saying, "People just don't listen to the gospel anymore--too busy, love pleasure, after money, or living in sin, etc., so it won't do any good to talk to them anyway." Moses was pre-judging how others would respond and we may be guilty of doing the same thing

B. Notice God's response to this excuse by Moses (4.2ff). Of course, we can't perform miracles as Moses was given the ability to do. However, it might do us good to see what's in our hand. If we don't happen to have a Bible in our hand, maybe we should, because using the scriptures rightly will enable us to do anything that we need to do in teaching another the truth: 2 Tim. 3.16-17

C. It's only by making sure that we know the scriptures and that our teaching is based only on the scriptures that we can be prepared to share the gospel message of salvation with others as Peter said: 1 Pet. 3.15. When we say that giving a Biblical answer won't do any good, we're casting a reflection on God who gave the scriptures to equip us unto every good work

IV. 4th, Moses said, "I can't" (4.10)

A. Moses knew that he was supposed to go and say something. Now that he knew WHAT he should say, his excuse was, "I can't," I just don't know how to say it well enough to do the job. There are some things that God wants us to say: Acts 4.18-20. Of course, we haven't seen and heard the very same things that the apostles did, but we have seen and heard the truth that is contained in God's word; so our attitude should be that we cannot but speak the things we've seen and heard

B. Notice God's response to this excuse by Moses (4.11-12). "Who made man's mouth?" The fact is that if God tells us to do something, He'll give us everything we need to do it. Think of those ignorant, unlearned fishermen--how in the world could they speak the things they'd seen and hear? But they did: Acts 5.41-42

C. Like Moses, we know WHAT God wants us to say. But sometimes we don't feel that we have the wisdom to do it. If we've studied the scriptures any time at all, most of us probably have more wisdom that we realize. But even if not, there's a way to get it: Jas. 1.5. Whenever we have the opportunity to speak to another about the gospel and perhaps feel a little overwhelmed by the situation, we can take a minute, go to God in prayer, even if silently, and ask Him for the wisdom and courage to do our best. And He's promised to help us.

V. 5th, Moses said, "Send someone else" (4.13)

A. We don't know why Moses said this. Maybe he had a lot of bad memories about his experiences in Egypt and just didn't want to go back. Maybe he was afraid that if he did, someone might still be waiting to kill him. Or maybe he'd just grown comfortable enough in his life with his family and his job of keeping Jethro's sheep in Midian that he didn't want anything to change all that. In any event, he said, "Why don't you send someone else?" God has work for each one of us to do in the kingdom: 1 Cor. 15.58. How often do we respond, like Moses, "O Lord, why don't you send someone else?" Let George do it!

B. Notice God's response to this excuse by Moses (4.14-16). Moses may have had a problem speaking, so God gave him his brother Aaron to speak for him. The fact that we have limitations or handicaps doesn't mean that God can't use us. If we're not able to sapek well, we can still give someone a Bible tract or a cassette tape of a gospel sermon. If we're not able to go, we can mail someone a Bible correspondence course or invite him to services on the telephone. If we don't feel capable of teaching a relative, friend, neighbor, or other aquaintance, we can make arrangements to take the preacher or someone who can teach. Obviously, God doesn't expect us to do what we don't have the ability to do: 2 Cor. 8.12

C. But God does hold us accountable to do what we can, and not always thinking that someone else will do it: Gal. 6.4-5. Our service to God involves our own personal attention and faithfulness. I suppose that all of us have used this excuse at one time or another. It didn't impress God when Moses used it, and it won't impress Him when we use it today. There's work that we all can do.

CONCL.: Remember how Jesus illustrated those who would use excuses to justify themselves in not doing God's will (Lk. 14.15-23)--people didn't come to the wedding feast because they had land to see, oxen to prove, or a new wife to take care of. Joke about fellow wanting to borrow neighbor's rope; neighbor said, no, I need to water my lawn. Fellow asked if he used rope to water lawn? Neighbor said, "No, but when you don't want to do something, any excuse will do." Our excuses may sound good to us. They may even sound good to other people. But they won't carry any weight on the day of judgment. That's true when Christians try to excuse themselves from serving God faithfully. It's also true when those outside of Christ try to excuse themselves from obeying the gospel. If not a Christian--remember: Mk.16.15-16....

Submitted by Wayne Walker

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