As I prepare for yet another opportunity to deliver God’s message, I am tempted again to fixate on my inadequacies. How ironic that the first message I ever delivered in front of my fellow Christian Education classmates was on Moses’s call (Exodus 3–4) and his focus on “I am not” rather than “you are God.”
While Moses had been raised in the palaces of Egypt, he is hiding out in a foreign land when God meets him at the edge of the wilderness. For forty years (Acts 7:30) he has run away from the dark deeds of his past but God now says, “Go. Be a part of my mission” (Exodus 3:10).
Immediately, Moses makes it pretty clear why he cannot jump at God’s invitation. In fact, he has five reasonable reasons that sound familiar. While we secretly want to be selected for God’s mission, we’re also quick to rationalize why it won’t work or we can’t do it.
Moses reasons (as do we):
Who am I?
I am not good enough. I’m too old. I want to remain anonymous. I don’t want to go back there. My past disqualifies me. I have a lowly job that’s not in the same league as kings and dignitaries. I have the wrong identity (Exodus 3:11).
Who are you?
I don’t know enough. I’m not familiar with the ways and beliefs of my people. I can’t answer their questions. I haven’t been formally trained, gone to seminary, or studied apologetics. I’m not even sure I know you well enough, God. I haven’t got the right experience (Exodus 3:13).
What if they don’t believe me?
I can’t make them listen. I may fail. No one will believe me. They’ll scoff and say I haven’t really heard your voice and I don’t know what I’m talking about. I’m afraid of failure (Exodus 4:1).
I have never been eloquent.
I am not capable. I’m not a good communicator. I stumble on my words and mix them up. I’m not funny enough or a clever story-teller. I just don’t have the ability (Exodus 4:10).
Please send someone else.
I am not willing. I’m honored you thought of me, but I just can’t do this. Thank you, but I’ll pass up this opportunity (Exodus 4:13). Please, please, please send someone else.
But God also has five assurances for Moses (and us):
I will be with you.
It’s not about who you are but that I am with you. I offer you my presence (Exodus 3:12) for I am omnipresent. That is enough for you.
And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.Matthew 28:20 NIV
I am who I am.
You don’t need to know all the answers, you just need to know me. I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I offer you my name (Exodus 3:14) and all that I am. For all your I am nots, I am.
I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.Isaiah 45:3 NIV
I give you signs of proof.
My resurrection and your transformed life are your signs of proof. As I offered Moses three signs (Exodus 4:2–9), I offer you my new covenant proof.
Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.Romans 6:5–6 NLT
I will help you.
I will use you, not in spite of your weakness, but because of it. I will help you speak and teach you what to say. I offer you my help (Exodus 4:12), for I am your provider.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV
You don’t have to go alone.
You don’t have to go alone. I’ll send someone with you. I sent Aaron to Moses. I offer you community (Exodus 4:14–16) for you are part of a body of believers and you need one another.
While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”Acts 13:2 NIV
Basically, Moses says, “I’m not the right person for this task.” But despite all his reasons, excuses, delays, doubts, and fears, his long-suffering God assures him “That’s not the point. I am.” My pastor, Libin Abraham, sums it up this way: “God’s assurances count us in when our reasons count us out.”
Can you relate to Moses? How? Where is God sending you? Let God’s assurances strengthen you to move ahead in obedience and faith.
Lord God, as you send us out on this new commission—to speak your messages from the gospel of Matthew—thank you for your assurance that you will be with me and teach me what to say. Thank you for my co-teacher who journeys with me. Thank you for my pastor who reminded me of these truths and stated them so well. I depend on your presence, your name, your provision, and your Body.
I am indebted to my pastor, Libin Abraham, for his points and summaries. Watch his message here.
2 thoughts on “Moses’s Five Reasons Why Not and God’s Five Assurances”
Funny, ironic, how often this struggle comes up. That’s why I am so glad that we get to read how those interchanges with Moses and God played out with so much detail. We need it all!
We sure do. Moses is all of us.