Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 12, 1970
NUMBER 31, PAGE 9-10

The Excuses Of Moses

Harry E. Ozment

In Exodus 3:7-10, we read about a very momentous occasion in the history of the nation of Israel: "And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perrizites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring them forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt."

For many years, God's chosen people had been slaves to the Egyptians. It was a terrible life — a life of hard labor, much pain, and small reward. Now, at last, the Lord saw fit to liberate His people, and He chose Moses as His representative to Pharaoh. This was a great honor, indeed — to be chosen by God for such a great task!

Surprisingly enough, however, Moses was reluctant to go. "And he said, 0 my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send." (Exo. 4:13) And he offered to God three excuses why he thought someone else should be sent to do the job:

(1) Inferiority. "And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?" (Exo. 3:11) This was not humility — this was a feeble excuse to God. It was rather insulting, because it reflected upon God's wisdom in making the choice of men that he did. It is no wonder that "the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses." (Exo. 4:14)

(2) Unbelief. "And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The Lord hath not appeared unto thee." (Exo. 4:1) This, once again, was a reflection upon God. Did not Moses know that God would never forsake him? Did not Moses know that God would find a way through him to convince all that Moses was come from God? This bespeaks a lack of faith in God on the part of Moses. Therefore, "the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses."

(3) Insufficiency. "And Moses said unto the Lord, 0 my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue." Such irreverence! God had chosen Moses — and here was Moses talking back to God and telling the Almighty that He had made the wrong choice. I am often made to wonder how a man who was to become such a great leader could make such feeble excuses to the Lord! "And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses." (Exo. 4:14)

This was truly one of the weakest moments in the life of Moses. But what was true of him thousands of years ago is true of many Christians even today. God has chosen each of us as Christians to preach the gospel to others. "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mk. 16:15) "And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also." (II Tim. 2:2) And just like Moses, many of us are offering excuses to God instead of our service:

(1) Inferiority. A few Christians still offer this same excuse that Moses did thousands of years ago. "Who am I to tell Frank what to do?" Who are you? — why, you are a Christian! That's enough. That not only gives you the right to preach the gospel to Frank, that gives you the obligation to preach the gospel. Listen to what Peter says of Christians: "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light." (I Pet. 2:9) We are chosen priests of God to carry the gospel to all! And we had better do it, else the Lord's anger will be kindled against us.

(2) Unbelief. A few Christians are afraid to preach the gospel to others for fear that they might be rejected. Yes, you might be — there's no denying that. You might be pit upon, laughed at, persecuted, ridiculed, trod upon, and talked about. But aren't you a Christian? If that's what it takes, that's what you'll have to give. Notice what Jesus said in Matt. 10: "Behold I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; And ye shall be brought before the governors and kings for my sake for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. . . And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved." (vv. 16-18, 21-22) The same will be true of us today. "Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf." We hasten to say, however, that not all will reject the gospel. Some will be honest and open-minded enough to listen to the gospel and then obey it. When this is the case, you can be comforted by James 5:20: "Let him know, that he which converteth a sinner from the error of his way shall hide a multitude of sins."

(3) Insufficiency. "I can't teach anybody. I don't know enough." Oh, how often God hears that! Let me ask you — is it God's fault that you aren't prepared to convert others? No, it's your fault! I'm afraid that a whole lot of Christians fit into the pattern of Het). 5:12-14: "For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For everyone that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil." This is why Paul wrote to Timothy: "Study to chew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (II Tim. 2:15)

Let's stop offering excuses to God and start offering Him our services!

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