SAY “YES” WHEN GOD CALLS Scripture: Exodus 3:10-4:10 Princeton Christian Church 18 April 2021
Excuses, excuses, you'll hear them every day. And the Devil he'll supply them, if from church you stay away. When people come to know the Lord, the Devil always loses So to keep them folks away from church, he offers them excuses.
What do we mean by “excuses”? Where do they come from?
An excuse is: It’s the reason that I shouldn’t be held responsible. It’s the way that it is someone else’s fault. It’s me, being relieved of obligation. It’s the reason I shouldn’t be expected to serve, to give, to participate.
Excuses are really a symptom. Here are some of the reasons we use excuses:
1. fear of a confrontation - so we begin to make excuses as to why we haven’t made a call or spoken to someone.
2. wrong priorities – spending time – or wasting time in an mindless activity. What that means is that I wasn’t very careful with my time.
3. apathy – deep down I really don’t want to get involved with someone else’s problems, so I begin to rationalize, to make excuses, for why I’m avoiding them.
Think about the excuses you have used to avoid doing something that needs to be done. Not only in your private life, but also in the life of the church. What are some common excuses you hear when something in the church needs to be done?
No time; Too tired; They won’t listen; They won’t believe (Is the Lord’s message not good enough to be believed?
I’m not able; Someone else will do it; Sometimes, when we are older, our excuse is “I already did my time; let the younger ones do it” Excuses aren’t new.
Barak had an excuse: “I won’t go alone!” when the Judge Deborah ordered him to march to Mount Tabor with 10,000 men to face Sisera - Judges 4:8
Gideon had an excuse when he was charged with delivering Israel from the Midianites: “I’m a nobody – from the least of the tribes” - Judges 6:15
Jeremiah had an excuse when God appointed him as a Prophet: I’m just a kid” - Jeremiah 1:6
Jesus talked about excuses and our relationship to His Kingdom.
READ: Luke 14:16-20
But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’
If you get nothing else from this story, you can at least learn that God doesn’t like excuses. Let’s set the scene by looking together at
READ: Exodus 3:1-12
Now, here we are looking at one of the weaker moments in the life of Moses. We are looking at his poor example. We’re looking at a moment that displeased God. For God to get His people out of slavery and into freedom, He chose to use a leader. That leader was Moses, and when God contacted him to become the leader, Moses had a list of excuses for why he wasn’t the right person for the job. But, as you can guess, God wasn’t overly impressed with his excuses, and we can predict that something is going to happen. We’re going to see that Moses’ excuses may not sound too strange to us because they’re the same kinds of excuses we tend to use ourselves when God calls us to service.
And yes, God has called us to service. No, there’s no burning bush. No, we’re not going to oversee the nation of Israel leaving Egypt. But there’s work to be done. Peoples’ eternity is at stake here. God has prepared good works in advance in order that we should walk in them.
So, no matter who you are, God has some calling for you. It might be your next-door neighbor. It might be a friend at school. It may be a family member who’s floundering around. It may be every person who works alongside you at your job. But somewhere, someone is waiting for you to answer God’s call to step forward and speak up for Him.
Yes, but can just anyone be doing this? When we look in the mirror, we may not see someone outstanding. We may see only someone who is ordinary. We can look at many other people and see others who seem to be better qualified to do what God is calling us to do. It’s when God first told Moses He had a job for him to do that he asked the question: “Who am I?”
1. Who Am I? (3:11) Excuse #1
Who am I? That’s actually the right question to be asking. When we look at the task to be done, and then look in the mirror, we ought to ask, “Who am I, Lord, that You are asking me to do something for You?”
Look again at verse 11: He said, “But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”
The answer to the question “Who am I?” is simply this: “you’re nobody on your own!” But here is what makes the difference --- God says, “You are somebody when I am with you. God didn’t say to Moses, “I’ve chosen you because you’re so much better than everyone else!”
John 15:4-5 says this: “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
When Moses asked “Who am I?” God replied that He would be with him. That’s what Moses needed to know.
Who am I? is not the issue. The issue is really “Is God with you or not?”
The next time you find yourself gazing in the mirror and saying that you’re nobody special in the kingdom of God, stop looking at what you see and start looking to God who is calling you to speak up on his behalf.
I think we all understand that not everyone knows about who God is or even believes He exists. There are many people who laugh at the idea of God. God’s answer to Moses when he brought this up was simple: tell them!
2. Let’s look at another of Moses’ excuses: What if They Ask Who You Are? (3:13) Excuse #2
It’s right here that God reveals His personal name to Moses: YHWH – Yahweh. That translates to: I AM. God is the existing One – the One Who is, Who always was, and Who will always be. Then God provides details some of what He’s going to do.
So, that’s God’s answer. Let them know they have a personal God in Me. Tell them My name. Tell them about Me. Let them know that I have a plan and that I’m able to carry it out.
Have you ever been afraid that someone may ask you something about God that you may not be able to answer? What if someone asks you Who God is, what will you do?! God says, Tell them! If you need to know Him better in order to be able to do that, get to know Him better, and then tell them!
And the truth of the matter is this: some people won’t believe. They may be skeptical about who Jesus is. Some will walk away, refusing to even listen.
So, what if they won’t believe or even listen? (4:1)
Often Christians may fail to ever mention Jesus to someone for fear that they won’t believe or listen. This is fear of rejection.
So, Moses brought this up as an excuse. “What if they don’t believe me? What if they don’t listen to me?” Excuse #3
God answered Moses’ excuse with some miracles. God asks him, “What is that in your hand?” “A rod, a staff, a piece of wood.” “Throw it down.” So he does, and it turns into a snake. He throws it down, it starts to slither, and Moses runs away! Then God sends him back to grab it by the tail. He does it, and it turns into his old walking stick again. It was a miracle! That should convince Moses he has what it takes to convince people of who God is. But, God goes further and gives Moses another example. “Put your hand inside your cloak.” He did, and when he pulled it out, it was all covered with that dreaded skin disease - leprosy. “Put it back into your cloak.” Moses put his hand back, and when he drew it out, it was as good as new. It was a miracle! I don’t know if God thought Moses still didn’t get it, but He gave him a 3rd miracle: “Take some water from the Nile, pour it on the ground. It will become blood.” That should do it. These were some helps God gave Moses so that people would really believe he had been called by God.
So, now it comes to us, and we can hear our excuses. “I can’t change a stick into a snake, make myself have leprosy, or turn water into blood.”
These excuses may be truth and even valid. But, we can point our non-believing friend to the way God changes lives. We can take him to the Bible and show him God there. We can share our personal testimony. Of course, there are a lot of people who still won’t listen. What do we do then? What if he doesn’t believe or listen to us?
God says to go do it. God sees a bigger picture than we do. God actually told Moses that Pharaoh wouldn’t listen. 3:19 “But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him.” In other words, “Pharaoh won’t listen. But you go and tell him anyway.”
Someone has said, “I cannot convince people they are sinners, but I can confess that I am a sinner. I cannot persuade the whole world, but I can proclaim the whole Word.”
4. I Don’t Speak Well (4:10) Excuse #4
Moses said this very thing. He didn’t speak well. Moses was saying he wasn’t equipped to do what God was asking him to do. But it was just another excuse. Who gives people the abilities they use? God is the One Who is in charge of these things. In fact, God has never asked anyone to do a job without first equipping him with what he needs. Instead, He says, “You go, I’ll teach you what to say and I’ll help you speak.”
God is still teaching us today what to say. It’s something we can learn.
1 Peter 3:15 “… but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…
You see, all of us need to be taught; all of us need to be learning what to say. “I don’t speak well.” If you struggle with how to share your faith with someone, the first place to look is at how much you care about the souls of people around you.
God is not going to lead you into something without giving you what you need to be equipped. God taught Moses what to speak, and He will prepare and equip us in the same way.
Paul says in 2 Timothy 2:15 “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”
Even when you believe you can’t speak well, understand that it is not your words that people need to hear anyway. But, your words are valuable to that person when they are God’s words.
Here are some excuses we might latch onto when we are challenged to talk to others about our God.
There are lots of other people around. The Church has managed to exist up to this point. Someone else can do it, and the fact that the Church is still around proves it. There are other things I can do, and there are other people who can speak for God.
It is true. There are other people who can speak for God. But what is being expressed here is the same thing that Moses finally came to.
5. Someone Else Can Do It (another way to say: I Don’t Want To) (4:13) Excuse #5
God has taken away one excuse after another, until finally Moses’ real motives are beginning to show that the rest were just excuses. His real problem is simple: he just didn’t want to do it. It wasn’t about his personhood; it wasn’t about if they asked to know God’s name; it wasn’t about who believed or listened; it wasn’t about how well he could or couldn’t speak. Either Moses was afraid, or his priorities were mixed up, or he didn’t care enough. And it’s at this point that God is angry with him.
Before it sounds like we should be hard on Moses, he was, without a doubt, being called to do a tough job. Being a leader is hard work. Someone has said, “The trouble with being a leader today is that you can't be sure whether people are following you or chasing you.” It’s tough work.
What was God’s answer to Moses. He doesn’t say, “OK, I’ll just send someone else.” He doesn’t say, “No, you go do what I tell you, alone.” He says, “I’m going to send you someone to go with you to do this.” His brother Aaron was already on his way to visit. The 2 of them were going to make a great team. Sometimes all we need is a brother alongside us to share the load together.
So, if you’ve been listening, here is what will help us put away our excuses:
Having our fears set aside,
Having right priorities,
Genuinely loving people and caring for them.
Maybe that’s why Jesus didn’t make any excuses for Himself to do less than He needed to do for us. He genuinely loves you. There are no excuses uttered by Jesus as He endured the cross.
This morning, let’s summarize some specific thoughts:
1. What’s the need? What needs to be given? What needs to be done? What needs to be changed? What is God setting out in front of you as a need that you can help meet?
2. Is there really something that prevents you from doing it, or are you making an excuse to cover up what’s really stopping you?
3. If it is an excuse, what’s underneath the excuse? What’s the real reason you’re not saying “yes” to the Lord on this today?
Once God answered Moses’ excuses, that was it. Moses and Aaron went and did the job. It was never brought up again. Moses never tried to offer God an excuse again. What did it take? It took exposing what’s behind the excuses. It took being honest about why we hesitate to say “Yes” when the Lord is prompting us to answer Him.
With no excuses left, what would you do? Imagine what God would be able to do with us!
Today, maybe someone here has been putting off accepting Jesus as their Lord. You’ve managed to convince yourself there are some good reasons not to accept Him yet. Are there really? Or are they excuses that are just a cover up for fear, apathy, or wrong priorities in life? It’s time to put aside the excuses that are keeping you from doing what you should do for Him, and to accept Him.