Editor’s Note: This concludes the story of Moses, his excuses and God's replies. Parts one and two appeared in the Sept. 14 and 21 editions of the News Bulletin.
To recap: Moses fled Egypt after killing an Egyptian guard. While away, he met a beautiful woman, married her, had several children, tended her father’s sheep and was comfortable. One day, he saw a talking enflamed bush that wasn’t burning — a sight right out of “The Twilight Zone.” It turns out, God wanted Moses to return to Egypt to free the slaves. Moses offered many excuses to disobey God’s command, but God countered each one.
And now, the story continues...
Moses tried one last excuse: “God, you know I don’t speak well; I stutter. I have ever since I was a child. I have all kinds of thoughts — good ones — but can’t speak well enough to get them across. I’m no good at public speaking — and don’t tell me to picture people in just their loin cloths; it doesn’t help. It actually makes me more nervous.”
God started to reply, but Moses jumped in and cut him off. “You know my brother, Aaron. Well, Aaron can sing like an angel. Why don’t you send him instead? Not me. Please?”
God was ready with a lightning bolt, but kept himself in check. “OK, Moses,” God said. “I will make a deal with you: I’ll send the two of you off together. I am going to give you my words, you are going to give my words to Aaron, and Aaron will speak my words. As this happens, the Pharaoh will eventually hear my demands and let my people go.”
Moses finally ran out of excuses and did as God had said.
Did you notice that each of Moses’ excuses had a personal reason attached to them? Moses said he didn’t have authority so no one would listen to him. He feared returning to Egypt and being put to death. He felt that since he could not speak well, it would reflect poorly on him.
Each excuse had nothing to do with the benefits of what God could do through him. It was all about Moses.
But God had an answer for each excuse that Moses threw out. God said, “Just do it. I am going to give whatever it takes to get the task done.”
Sometimes, we have excuses, too. There is often hesitation or unwillingness to recognize that God will provide what is necessary to get the job done. It is not about taking a turn. It’s not about feeling inadequate. It’s about being faithful to God’s call.
Moses eventually gave up giving excuses. He did what God said, and God did tremendous things through Moses. It wasn’t perfect — there were lots of bumps along the way — but God’s will was accomplished.
So if God calls you, how will you respond?
You could say, “God, would you believe I can’t do this?”
But if you do, God will say “No, I don’t believe you cannot do this. You can do it, because I am going to be with you every step of the way.”
The Rev. Mark Broadhead is Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church and First Presbyterian Church of Crestview’s pastor.