I was driving down interstate 65 and for some strange reason the Holy Spirit prompted this question in my heart; "What is one of man's greatest hindrances?" I began to ponder different answers, but I never felt the peace of God on any of them. Finally the Holy Spirit said, "One of man's greatest hindrances is EXCUSES! When I actually gave it some thought, it does seems that we are especially good at making excuses. Sometimes we make excuses to try to keep from hurting someone's feelings. For example, If you were asked to hang out but really didn't want to go, you might want to spare the feelings of the asker and come up with some excuse as to why you had to decline. Sometimes we make excuses to avoid responsibility for our actions. We make excuses for things we did wrong, times we failed, things we don't want to do, situations we don't want to be in. How many times have you told someone "I forgot" when in reality you just didn't want to do what was asked of you? To be perfectly honest, making excuses isn't a good practice and it is especially dangerous when we start making excuses in our spiritual lives. We make excuses when we don't want to obey (like commands to forgive, or to stop gossiping). We make excuses when we don't want to go where God sends us (it may be a mission field, or it may be a visit to a friend, or it may be church). We make excuses when we don't want to believe what God tells us (that all things work for the good). Let's look at Exodus chapters 3 & 4. If you have studied we saw that the Lord has told Moses that he was the man God has chosen to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Moses doesn't want the job and so he gives God his list of excuses. The first excuse that Moses gives is one that we should recognize. Moses suggests that God has the wrong guy for the job. He feels he's not qualified. Listen to what he says, "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?" And God said, "I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain. Moses felt overwhelmed with the responsibility. He didn't feel that he was up to the challenge. Remember, that wasn't the case 40 years earlier, but now he feels that this job is just too much for us. Maybe Moses felt this way, because of his past failure in jumping the gun and killing an Egyptians; because of his advanced age; because of the magnitude of the task; because of past rejections by the Hebrews; and because of the time that had passed.......Egypt had changed. In reality, it is not unusual for people to feel this way when they are asked to do great things. God answers Moses with some profound truth, "I will be with you." God doesn't tell Moses that he is wonderfully gifted. He doesn't tell him that he has more talent than he realizes. He doesn't tell him that his problem is low self-esteem. He tells Him that what Moses lacks, God will supply. I can't imagine that any of the great servants of God ever felt qualified for what God called them to do. Paul told us in Philippians that he had learned that "he could do all things through Christ who gives him strength." The key was not Paul's ability, but God's. In fact, God speaks to Moses as if this whole project is a "done deal." He doesn't say, "Moses, IF you bring the children of Israel out" . . . He says WHEN you bring them out. It doesn't matter what you are facing. It doesn't matter what God has called you to do or to endure . . . you can do it if you trust His strength! Whatever the challenge, God will be with you. You may not be strong enough by yourself but you are not by yourself. He is with you! One caution. Before claiming this promise and running headlong into some massive undertaking, be sure that what you are doing is God's will. We've already noticed that timing is everything. Make sure you are operating in God's timing. Make sure that you are not violating God's Word. Make sure you have bathed the matter in prayer. Make sure that you have counseled with some wise Christian friends. And after you have done so, go with confidence knowing that God will go with you and will supply what you lack. But Moses doesn't want to do what God has called him to do. (Sound familiar?) Listen to this next excuse. It has a familiar ring to it. Moses said to God, "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, "The God of your fathers has sent me to you," and they ask me, "What is his name?" Then what shall I tell them?" God said to Moses, "I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: "I am has sent me to you.’" God also said to Moses, "Say to the Israelites, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you." This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation. God tells Moses that he should tell the Israelites that God's name is: "I am who I am". In other words, tell them that the God who always has been, is, and always will be has sent you. Sure, it would have been easier if God had just said, "Tell them my name is Larry." But God is not like that. He is not human. He cannot be confined by a name. He transcends any description of Him that we can muster. Let me state it again, it is important for us to understand that God was not trying to give us a name so much as reveal a portion of His character. He is the God who is, was, and always shall be. In closing, God has just finished telling Moses that the Israelites will listen to Him. He told him that Pharaoh would resist but would eventually be brought to his knees. And . . .the Egyptians would end up giving the Israelites treasures before they leave. After God says all this Moses says, "I don't think it is going to work." The problem was that Moses was trusting his imagination rather than God's promise. He was seeing obstacles while God pointed to opportunities. He saw problems and God saw potential. God had already told Moses that His plan IS GOING TO WORK. Moses wasn't paying attention. Sometimes we don't either. God tells us: I will supply all your need. I will never leave you or forsake you. You can do everything through Christ who gives you strength. Moses isn't listening. Perhaps Moses has a different scenario in his head. Maybe he is imagining standing before Pharaoh's telling him that he was sent there by a voice coming out of a bush that was on fire but not being consumed. He knows that everyone will think he is crazy! 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." The LORD said to him, "Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say." In defense of Moses, it is possible that Moses did have a problem. He may have had a speech impediment. He may have been "rusty" with his Hebrew or Egyptian. And it could be possible that he didn't like speaking in public. The bottom line; Moses is trying to hide behind His inability but God is telling Him that He will not call Him to something that He doesn't equip him for. God says the same thing to you. If you will follow Him, He will give you what you need. If you are willing to serve Him, He will equip you to serve Him well. You may not have a natural talent in a particular area but if God has called you to a particular work, He will give you what you need. There have been many times in my life where I was called into situations I felt completely unqualified for . . . and yet when I took a step of faith and agreed to what God called me to do . . . He gave me the ability, strength, wisdom, the words, the patience . . . whatever was necessary. Are you making excuses so you don't have to obey? Are you making excuses so you don't have to do what you know God wants you to do or to go where He wants you to go? Are you making excuses for why you will not trust Him? My friend, if you want to be greatly used of God you must be willing to follow wherever He leads you. It's time to stop hiding behind the excuses we are so good at making. It's time to stop resisting and start following. It's time to stop saying, "I can't" and start saying, "He can." It's time to stop debating faith and start practicing it! Lets pray: "Lord, I submit my entire life to you. I fully accept your instruction and construction in the places where I am cluttered and unfocused. Please give me the "strength of faith to trust" that "you are" in the circumstances. Help me keep my mind and heart focused upon you and Heaven to come. In Jesus Mighty Name. Amen!"
Simple Nuggets ""You can have results or excuses not both!" "Every excuse is a chance to fail" "Excuses are the nails that builds a house of failure!"
Something to think about: "Are your excuses more important than you dreams?"
All my love and prayers,
Minister Dorothy King