We don’t need to go too far into the Bible to start seeing the nature of mankind and the ability to create excuses to avoid doing something they may not want to do, or simply lack the understanding of what it is involved. Moses was probably one of the most influential and gifted leaders in Scripture and his exploits as a leader are jaw dropping.
He knew what it was like to lead people, bring instruction and encouragement only to be a recipient of excuses from the people of Israel. Many times it frustrated God so much so He often wanted to act upon it, only to have Moses plead with God to hold back.
Moses was also a reluctant leader and he tried to make excuses as to why he should not do what God was calling him to do (Exodus 3-4). There was five excuses which I am sure we can identify with that causes this hesitation in us to go and fulfill what God has called all of us to do.
‘You have got the wrong person’
Moses says, ‘Who am I?’ (Exodus 3:11). He felt inadequate. I feel, ‘I am not good enough.’ ‘I am not holy enough.’ Moses said to God, you’ve got the wrong person. Why me?
God’s reply is, ‘I will be with you’ (Exodus 3:12a). That is all that matters.
‘I am not ready yet’
Moses says, ‘What shall I tell them?’ (Exodus 3:13). He felt ill-informed. He did not think he would be able to answer all the questions. He thought he would have nothing to say.
God said, ‘This is what you are to say’ (Exodus 3:14). God will give you the message at the right time.
‘I might fail’
Moses says, ‘What happens if it all goes wrong?’ ‘It might not work out.’ ‘What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, “The Lord did not appear to you”?’ (Exodus 4:1).
In answer, God showed Moses His power (Exodus 4:2–9).
‘I do not have the skills’
‘Moses says, ‘I do not have the right gifts’: ‘O Lord, I have never been eloquent… I am slow of speech and tongue’ (Exodus 4:10). It seems that Moses may have had a stutter or some other form of speech impediment. (‘I speak with faltering lips’, Exodus 6:12).
God said, ‘I will help you speak and will teach you what to say’ (Exodus 4:12). God’s strength is made perfect in weakness.
‘Someone else will do it’
Moses says, ‘Please send someone else to do it’ (Exodus 4:13). It is easy to think, ‘someone else will do it better than me’.
God was not really pleased with Moses, but said He would send Aaron to be with him: ‘I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do’ (Exodus 4:15b).
Eventually Moses agreed to go God’s way and followed God’s call. Then all the battles started and things got worse rather than better. Moses complained to God that he had not yet done what he promised to do (Exodus 4:23).
God responded to Moses’ complaint by giving him a clearer vision of who he is. God said, ‘I am the LORD. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the LORD I did not make myself known to them’ (Exodus 6:2–3).
In a few sentences, God reveals more of his character to Moses. His character has not changed; he is faithful and keeps his word (Exodus 6:4–5). He suffers with you and feels your pain (v.5). He guarantees deliverance and freedom (v.6). He brings you into an intimate relationship with himself (v.7). He leads you to your inheritance (v.8).
From my own experience, this hesitation to go comes from the knowledge that when we do eventually go, it isn’t easy and like with Moses it seems to be worse than getting better at times. We can easily justify this because who in their right mind would volunteer to go and do something that potentially be that hard, it seems we are worse off.
When Jesus told us “Therefore go…” (Matthew 28:19) it was never about how we feel or what we want to do. It was said with the outcome in mind for the people who are lost, who need to hear the Gospel, who need to experience God’s love as we have experienced it.
Jesus said it this way “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:12-13
We have no excuse to not obey what Jesus has asked us to do. The mission field needs us, our communities need us, our families need us to be bold and full of courage to share about Jesus and show how He has changed our lives.
Like Moses, he never started off as the greatest leader that ever lived. He started reluctant, but chose to do what God asked of him. God was with him and God made him to be the person that we know him today.
It’s ok to be hesitant, but we can’t stay that way. There needs to be a time when we say to God we will go because the task is still great and people need the opportunity to experience Jesus and the life change He brings.
Let’s do this together!