When God calls, don’t look over your shoulder to see who’s following. That’s one of the takeaways from part 4 in the Out of Egypt sermon series. The one-on-one encounter between God and Moses at the burning bush revealed the personal nature and responsibility of His calling.
Rewind to Exodus 3:11-4:15. When God called from out of the burning bush, Moses offered no less than five excuses for why he couldn’t obey the call. The first excuse was, “I’m inadequate” (3:11). To Moses’ first objection, “…God said, ‘I will be with you’” (Ex. 3:12). Please note, God does not promise to make Moses adequate, He only promises to be with Him. When God calls, your adequacy is never the issue; it’s your ability to rest in the Lord’s presence and His adequacy.
Moses’ second excuse was “I don’t know enough.” (See Ex. 3:13.) It was true Moses didn’t know enough—certainly not about God. But He was going to find out. God’s answer in verse 14, “I Am who I Am,” is literally translated, “I will be who I will be.” What God is saying is, “I am the God who is active on your behalf now and will continue to be in the future.” (“I am He who is beginning a good work in you and will be faithful to complete it.”)
This is great news for failures like Moses. When God calls, you can trust that He will finish what He starts. He’s not going to leave you hanging. He is the I Am who “is able to keep you from falling and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 1:24).
God was telling Moses, “you will know me as you walk with me.” He was all Moses needed for present realities and in the future, He would reveal Himself as all-sufficient for Moses when He got there. When God calls, He’s inviting you to a life-long revelation of Himself. He wants to reveal Himself as you walk with Him.
Excuse #3, “They won’t believe me!” (See Ex. 4:1.) Again, Moses gives more weight to his past experience than to God’s word. God had just told him that the elders would believe him, but Moses is still nursing the wounds of his past failure and puts more faith in that than in the I Am. When God calls, put more faith in His word than in your wounds.
Again, God deals gently with Moses and gives Him three signs. “What is that in your hand?” (vs 2.) “A staff,” he replied. When God calls, He always meets you where you are and starts with whatever you have. In His presence, our nothing will become something if we give Him everything.
How do you know there will be enough money to pay the rent if you give ten percent in tithe first? You have to trust God’s Word! And you won’t know of His resources to get you through until you get there! But know that He’s already there. When God calls, He’s already where He’s calling you to go, and has everything you need for when you get there.
Moses tries one more excuse. “Moses said to the Lord, ‘O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue” (Exodus 4:10). Excuse #4: “I can’t talk!”
What’s really happening here is that Moses is digging in and becoming more resistant. This is a warning to us: when God calls, the longer you resist, the more resistant you become.
Every objection Moses has raised so far, the Lord doesn’t dispute. Moses is inadequate, He doesn’t have knowledge, his reputation is damaged, he can’t talk and he’s got a bad attitude, but that’s exactly what Moses has to admit before he can be used by God. It’s the same with us, before we can be saved, we have to know we are lost. Before you can leave Egypt, you’ve got to know you don’t belong there.
Finally, Moses just says, “Lord, please send someone else to do it.” (vs. 13) The bottom line is that Moses distrusts God. Despite all God has done and promises to do, many still doubt his ability to save them.
When God calls, don’t look over your shoulder to see who’s following. His call to you is personal and you will have to respond as a person. It’s between you and God, and the adventure we call Christianity—the exodus out of Egypt and into the promised land—begins with a call to trust Him.
What is God calling you to be now…in this time of Covid-19? Can God count on you in a crisis to count on Him? What are the excuses you’ve been offering? Today if you hear His voice, don’t harden your heart.
Pastor Randy Maxwell