Most of us know the story of Moses and how he led the nation of Israel out of captivity in Egypt. He is viewed by people of all faiths as a man of great courage. He took on Pharaoh, arguably one of the most powerful leaders in the ancient world at that time. But, we often forget Moses’ story that led him to that point.
Moses grew up in the household of Pharaoh even though he was an Israelite. Remember? Moses in a basket as a baby being found by Pharaoh’s daughter? Even though he was an Israelite, the people enslaved by the Egyptians, Moses was raised as an Egyptian. One day, as a young man, he sees a fellow Israelite beaten by an Egyptian. In a moment of anger and retaliation, Moses kills the Egyptian. And, out of fear of Pharaoh, he flees to Midian. In the rural town of Midian, Moses is brought in by the family of Reuel and becomes a shepherd (Exodus 2).
One day, while tending to his father-in-law’s sheep, he sees a bush burning but the fire is not consuming the bush. Out of curiosity, he approaches the bush and instantly hears the voice of God calling his name. Moses then hides his face because he was afraid. God begins to describe His plan to Moses. He’d heard the cries and groanings of his people and had a plan to rescue them. God wanted Moses to be an integral part of that plan (Exodus 3). God didn’t NEED Moses to fulfill his plan, but He desired to use Moses as a co-laborer with Him as He worked out His plan for His people.
But, Moses’ response to God isn’t one of excitement and courage. His reaction is a litany of excuses. He says, “Who am I?” (Exodus 3:11) Who was he to go to Pharaoh and take on the whole nation of Egypt? God encourages Moses saying, “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.” (3:12) Instead of being encouraged, Moses gives another excuse. “What if they won’t listen to me Lord?” “What if they question who I am and my authority?”
God responds to Moses excuse and says, “I am who I am.” And he says, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” (3:14) And what does Moses do after being told that the Lord would be with him and that he would go with the authority of God backing him up? He gives ANOTHER excuse! He says that he knows the Israelite elders won’t believe him. God then gives him a variety of signs to be displayed so that they will believe Moses (Exodus 4). And again, Moses gives another excuse. This time he says that he is not qualified for this task. He explains, as if God doesn’t know Moses from the inside out, that he couldn’t speak well so clearly he wasn’t qualified for such a great task.
At this point God reminds Moses, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.” (4:11-12) And what is Moses’ response? Please send someone else!!! For good reason at this point, God becomes angry with Moses and tells him that he will also use Aaron to help Moses complete the task. This satisfies Moses and he goes.
Oh, how I want to judge Moses. He lacks so much courage and he doesn’t take God at His Word. If God spoke to me and wanted to use me in such a way, I would jump at that responsibility. But, in reality I do the same as Moses. When God calls me to do something BIG for Him, I often respond to him with excuses about why I can’t be used by Him. Honestly, it’s not because I’m lazy but because I’m a coward.
I use excuses like “Who am I?”, “No one will listen to me.”, “I’m not smart enough, good enough or qualified enough.” I’m scared and lack courage. Ultimately, in those moments, I don’t believe God when he says He will be with me and will qualify me. God calls me to be courageous for Him, but not by building up courage on my own. He wants me to be available to go when He calls, but He wants me to lean on Him to BE BRAVE and of good courage. I’m not meant to take His call and then lean into it on my own strength trusting in my own abilities. I’m meant to hear His calling, respond with “I’m here God!” and then move forward trusting in His ability to qualify me and make me brave.
“God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.” Christine Caine, Undaunted