God could have rescued the Israelites from Egypt without Moses’ help. But He chose to do it through Moses.
Appearing to Moses at the burning bush, the Lord said, “I have observed the misery of my people in Egypt … and I have come down to rescue them” (Ex. 3:7-8). Then the surprise, “therefore, go, I am sending you … so that you may lead my people … out of Egypt” (v. 10, italics added).
God had a plan to deliver His people; His plan was Moses. How would Moses respond to God’s call? He immediately began to make excuses.
I’m not adequate for the task.
“Who am I,” Moses asked (3:11). He felt inadequate, and he was right to feel that way. By himself, he was inadequate, just as we are too.
God said in reply to Moses, “I will be with you” (3:12). The deliverance of the people didn’t depend on the ability of Moses but on the presence and power and sufficiency of God. When God selects people to serve His purposes, He always provides His resources for them to be successful.
I don’t know enough.
“If I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name? ’ what should I tell them?” (3:13). Moses was afraid the Israelites might ask him a question he couldn’t answer.
Again, God had an answer for Moses: “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you” (3:14). In response to Moses’ concern, God revealed Himself.
Don’t worry that you don’t have all the answers. Whenever we say “I’m not smart enough” or “I’m not capable,” He says, but “I AM.”
People won’t take me seriously.
“What if they won’t believe me and will not obey me but say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?” (4:1).
God had already promised Moses, “They will listen to what you say” (3:18). Still, Moses protested.
Again the Lord countered Moses’ excuse. If the people didn’t take Moses seriously, they would take seriously the three powerful signs God promised to perform through Moses (see 4:2-9).
I’m no good with words.
“Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent” (4:10).
Again, God had already told Moses what to say and had also promised Moses that people would listen to him (see 3:14-18). Still, Moses made excuses and the Lord responded to Moses’ excuse: “Who placed a mouth on humans? Who makes a person mute or deaf, seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go! I will help you speak and I will teach you what to say” (4:11-12).
I’m not willing.
“Please, Lord, Send someone else,” Moses said (4:13). This was not an excuse, but it reveals the real issue. For every excuse Moses had made, God offered His promise and provision. Having run out of excuses, Moses revealed that the heart of problem was a problem of the heart.
I don’t want to do this. This is usually the real issue, isn’t it? We’re simply not willing to step out in faith and obey God.
What other excuses do we make when God calls? One might say, I’m too old. (Moses was 80 years old.) Or another might say, like Jeremiah, “I am only a youth” (Jer. 1:7). Whatever the excuse, it often boils down to lack of trust and an unwillingness to obey God.
God has a plan for carrying out His rescue mission in the world. We’re it. No excuses.
Mike Livingstone is a content editor at Lifeway for Explore the Bible resources