#5 (THE "5 EXCUSES OF MOSES" SERIES)
"LORD, SEND SOMEONE ELSE!"
TEXT: Ex. 4:13-17
INTRO: One of the things we humans learn to do early in life is to “make excuses” … this art is developed to avoid a most difficult thing called "work" or "responsibilities!" From our youngest days we have learned to say, “But, he did it first,” or "they made me..." or “do I have to?” to escape responsibility or hard work.
As we get older our excuses become more sophisticated and varied:
1. Tommy Smothers used to complain, "Mother always loved you best." The “blame the childhood” syndrome!
2. “If you only knew my wife you would understand...”
3. “If I only had the time....”
4. “I'd tithe too if I had your income...”
5. “If Church only started at 10:30 instead of 10:00 I would be on time.”
6. “I could have made it to Church last week if the fish weren't biting so well”
7. “I'd become a Christian if it weren't for all the hypocrites in Church.”
8. “I know someone who would be just perfect for that job...”
9. And then the ultimate copout: "LORD, SEND SOMEONE ELSE!"
Moses had tried 4 other excuses that sounded better first, but with no success he finally reveals the real nature behind all the excuses, he simply doesn't want to do it!
PROP. SENT. The Bible reveals that excuses only complicate our walk with God and waste time and energy in doing His will in our life. God's call on our life comes with no excuses!
I. ULTIMATE COPOUT! 4:13
A. Duty & Responsibility! 4:13a
1. Moses was running out of good sounding excuses, so he finally resorts to a ridiculously obvious one: "send someone else!"
a. This gets to the heart of the real
issue; he simply doesn't want to respond to God's call on his life and lead
b. His other excuses had contained some elements of truth, his slow speech, concern about not being believed; but now the real issue comes out, he just didn't want to do it!
ILLUS: A FARMER ASKED HIS NEIGHBOR IF HE COULD BORROW A ROPE. HIS NEIGHBOR HOWEVER RESPONDED, "SORRY, I'M USING MY ROPE RIGHT NOW TO TIE UP MY MILK." CONFUSED, THE MAN SAID, "ROPE CAN'T TIE UP MILK." “I KNOW,” REPLIED THE NEIGHBOR, "BUT WHEN A MAN DOESN'T WANT TO DO SOMETHING, ONE REASON IS AS GOOD AS ANOTHER!" -- Source Unknown
2. God had just told Moses that his problem with speech could and would be overcome with God's help ... that is why Moses finally utters this final excuse, God had answered and solved his previous excuses!
3. When God calls, all that is left to do is respond in obedience and fulfill that responsibility!
a. Moses wanted to avoid the responsibility that came with leading!
b. God would not allow him to avoid the issue however, when God calls us to duty He stays on our case to nudge us to obey!
B. Diligence Required! 4:13b
1. Notice Moses' response, he is nearly begging to get out: "Lord, PLEASE send someone else!" (Underline mine)
2. Why was Moses so reluctant?
a. He was old, 80 years old, perhaps too old in his mind to start over with something new!
b. He was happy as a shepherd in the wilderness, few pressures and he had learned to be comfortable! (Another reason we make excuses, we like our comfort!)
c. He might have thought he had been
gone too long from
d. This commitment would change everything about his life, there would be much opposition!
e. He had tried this same leadership role before and failed, why try it again?
3. The whole thing would be hard work and it would be a long term commitment ... was an 80 year old man ready for this?
4. The real issue however is this: God had called him and God doesn't make mistakes!
a. God would give him strength, physically and spiritually, and emotionally as well.
b. God would also give him supporters like Joshua, the 70 elders, Aaron and others who would stand and support him like Hur & Caleb do later.
5. There is no doubt about the level of work required; it would take great diligence to follow the call!
a. This was perhaps the real issue; it would be hard long work!
b. Isn't this true with most things in life that really count!?
6. Moses was feeling sorry for himself, self pity is a useful tool for Satan to use to keep us from doing God's Work!
ILLUS: SELF-PITY WEEPS ON THE DEVIL'S SHOULDERS, TURNING TO SATAN FOR COMFORT. THE DEVIL'S INVITATION IS "COME UNTO ME ALL YOU THAT ARE GRIEVED, PEEVED, MISUSED, AND DISGRUNTLED AND I WILL SPREAD ON THE SYMPATHY. YOU WILL FIND ME A NEVER-FAILING SOURCE OF THE MEANEST ATTITUDES AND THE MOST SELFISH SORT OF MISERY. AT MY ALTAR YOU MAY FEEL FREE TO FAIL AND FALL, AND THERE TO SIGH AND FRET. THERE I WILL FEED YOUR SOUL ON FEARS, AND INDULGE YOUR EGO WITH ENVY AND JEALOUSY, BITTERNESS AND SPITE. THERE I WILL EXCUSE YOU FROM EVERY CROSS, DUTY, AND HARDSHIP, AND PERMIT YOU TO YIELD UNTO TEMPTATION." -- Source Unknown
7. Moses would be happy if someone else would just do the work instead of him!
II. UNHAPPY COMPROMISE! 4:14-16
A. Determined Resistance 4:14a
1. God finally gets angry, He does sometimes you know!
a. But even here His anger is not to destroy Moses but to make him grow up!
b. God realizes that Moses is simply unsure of himself and after 5 excuses God realizes He will need to accommodate Moses' weaknesses.
2. This had to break God's heart to see such resistance of trust from Moses!
a. God can be hurt too you know!
b. God was determined to get through to Moses even though Moses continued to resist here.
c. It is a sad thing when people resist God's love and calling!
3. Not only was God determined to get through, Moses was determined to resist!
a. God would offer an alternative, God will work with less if we hold out, but this less than perfect plan can have hitches to them for us!
b. Down the road this alternative plan caused some problems:
(1. Moses would not be the undisputed leader, his brother would share that power, one that will be misused at times and thereby cause pressures on Moses and conflicts in Israel:
(a. Aaron made the golden calf in Moses' absence!
(b. Aaron later joined with Miriam in complaining about Moses not sharing the power of leadership more!
(c. Every time Moses got a word from God he
would have to tell it to Aaron as well as
(2. This sharing of leadership would make Moses’ calling more difficult, by getting his way his work load increased rather than decreased!
4. God's anger was thus directed toward Moses in the sense that He knew this would create a less than perfect solution for God's call in Moses' life, though God’s purposes would still be fully accomplished.
B. Detour Required! 4:14b-16
1. However less than perfect, God will work with what He gets from us!
a. God already knew Aaron could speak well.
b. And God indicated that Aaron was
already on his way to meet Moses, probably with the news that the Pharaoh that
Moses had previously known was now dead and it was safe to return to
c. Aaron was longing to find his long lost brother, what he didn't know was that it would require him to find a place of leadership too!
2. Moses’ rejection of God's initial offer put a heavier weight on his brother!
a. This happens when we reject God's call to do what He calls us to do; it sometimes puts a heavier burden on others who are our brothers and sisters in Christ!
b. Notice how God tells Moses however that Aaron will not become an excuse for Moses speaking!!!
(1. God says, "I will help both of you speak..."
(2. While God is willing to call Aaron to help out, it still will not remove Moses’ original call to speak, Moses will still have to speak sometimes!
3. Aaron while helpful won't eliminate Moses' call or responsibilities!
a. Moses would be grateful for Aaron's help,
b. But Aaron won’t take away all the responsibilities from Moses!
c. What Moses saw in Aaron's help would be different from God's, God will use Aaron but Moses will still be very much the leader!
ILLUS: AMONG THE
CLASSIFIED ADS IN THE
4. Just think if Aaron had not been the devoted brother to Moses … the kind of damage he might have been able to do by being the speaker of God's Word and authority instead of Moses. This almost happened one time with Miriam's prodding and others who were angry at Moses!
III. UNRELENTING CALL! 4:15-17
A. Double Responsibilities -16
1. This arrangement would actually create a heavier work load for Moses than the original plan.
2. There were times when Moses had to challenge Aaron or reprimand him, Moses had to not only work on his own example, he had to make sure Aaron's was correct too.
3. The "up" side to all this was that Moses would have someone to be of help to him, an encouragement.
a. He would not be working alone.
b. Someone would be there to share the burdens and the call.
c. God did not give up on the call; He just made arrangements to give Moses help with the call.
4. Aaron would be either a great help or a great hindrance, for the most part he turned out to be a help, after all this was his brother!
5. We must be careful not to shirk our responsibilities to help each other!
ILLUS: THERE IS A
FRENCH FOLK TALE ABOUT A
6. God was not about to give up on Moses even if that meant going to plan "B."
a. God's call is unrelenting on our lives!
b. Sometimes God uses others to prompt us along.
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ource Unknown
7. Aaron would thus in a sense stand between God and man for Moses.
B. Dynamic Resource 4:17
1. However, it is clear that although God was willing to work around Moses’ weakness the call for Moses to be God's instrument of authority would still reside clearly in Moses!
a. God tells Moses he is to carry
the staff of God, the symbol of God's authority to perform the miracles
necessary to bring
b. This rod or staff was used over and
over again to do miracles, the parting of the
c. It was the visible symbol of God's authority, that was the reason God later punished Moses for striking the rock with the staff in anger, an abuse of God's authority in the eyes of the people could not be overlooked without some punishment!
2. God's call was not without power to accomplish it however; that was the point of this reminder by God!
a. God wasn't asking Moses to do something he was incapable of doing with God's help.
b. God was giving Moses the power and the means necessary to fulfill the call on his life!
c. God is even willing to accommodate Moses' weakness and insecurity by providing Aaron, although this will still not change the call on Moses' life!
3. Today we get that same power through prayer, God's authority and power come to those who pray!
TO AN ASSOCIATED PRESS ACCOUNT, IN SEPTEMBER 1994 CINDY HARTMAN OF
4. Moses already had God's authority, he had God's call, he had God's promise to make his ministry work, there were no use for further excuses!
a. What's your excuse to avoid God's call on your life?
b. Remember, He will not give up on that call, take what He has given you and go! No excuse is a good one!
CONCLUSION: The ultimate excuse is "Lord, send someone else!" After 4 attempts to avoid God's call on his life, Moses finally reveal his real feelings, he just doesn't want to do it! It is clear that being "spiritual" is not just something mystical; it is full of duty and responsibilities too! Real fruit does not just "happen" however; it is the result of following through on God's call in our lives. What excuses have you been using?