“But Moses pleaded with the Lord, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.” – Exodus 4:10.
The dictionary definition of “excuse” is “to make allowance for a short-coming; to overlook; to serve as justification for; to vindicate.” Moses asked to be excused five times. Let’s take a closer look at the excuses that Moses used. The first excuse was “But God, I couldn’t possibly do what you are asking of me. I have no experience in the negotiation business.”But Moses protested to God, “Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11) God simply tells Moses that He will go with him. “I will be with you. And this is your sign that I am the one who has sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God at this very mountain.” (Exodus 3:12)
The second excuse is “ ok, but they are not going to be happy about all this so who should I say sent me?” “…they will ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what should I tell them?” (Exodus 3:13) God basically says don’t worry Moses, they know who I AM. “God replied to Moses, “I am who i am. Say this to the people of Israel: I am has sent me to you.” God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: Yahweh, the God of your ancestors—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you. This is my eternal name, my name to remember for all generations.”
Excuse number 3 is “Ummm, what if they don’t believe me?” Exodus 4:1: “But Moses protested again, “What if they won’t believe me or listen to me?” God tells Moses, ”Don’t worry about that, I’ve got it covered. They love signs. I’ll give them signs.” (Exodus 4:2-9)
Excuse 4 for Moses was “But L-Lord, I st-st-stutter. And it’s worse when I’m n-n-nervous. Who’s going to l-l-listen to me?” (Exodus 4:10 above) I wonder if God at this point after the burning bush, turning the rod into a serpent and covering Moses’ hand with disease is saying “seriously!” The Bible gives God’s response in Exodus 4:11-12: …“Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.”
The last excuse is found in Exodus 4:13. Moses begs God to send someone else. “Lord, please! Send anyone else.” God had been patient with Moses up until this point. But when Moses asked Him to send someone else, God became angry. Look at verse 14.“ Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses…” and he said, ““All right,” he said. “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he speaks well….” And then in verse 15 God says, “Talk to him, and put the words in his mouth. I will be with both of you as you speak, and I will instruct you both in what to do.
Exit Moses, tail between legs. Have you ever been there? I have. It’s useless to argue with God. But we do it anyway.
- Which times in your life do you find yourself making excuses?
- Have you ever sensed God calling you to a task and found an excuse not to respond?
- Which of Moses’ five excuses can you relate to most?