Remember from last time that Moses’ world was turned upside down in an instant. The crisis destroyed his confidence and challenged his identity and security. In the desert, God gave Moses time to grieve and rest. But when it was time to move on, God appeared to Moses in a burning bush with a new assignment.
Moses’ answers show us just how devastating the ordeal was for him and how much his confidence had been shaken. Moses came up with 5 excuses for why he could not do what God was asking of him. Each excuse revealed a lie that Moses believed about himself.
See if you can relate to any of these excuses.
Who Am I?
“Who am I that I should go …” (Exodus 3:11)
This excuse is based on our identity or self-image. It reveals what we believe about ourself. Obviously Moses did not feel like he was important enough for God to use him. Have you ever felt insignificant? Have you ever felt unqualified or like others were more capable than you? Have you ever compared yourself to someone else and felt “less than” perfect?
The Lie = I am not important. I am not significant or valuable to God. I am a nobody.
What will I Say [or Do]?
“Suppose I go and say to them, ‘[Your] God has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” (Exodus 3:13)
This excuse is based in our feelings of inadequacy. We feel under-qualified to do what God has asked us to do. We don’t know what to do or where to begin. We often give up before we start because we don’t know how to take the first step. We think so far into the future that we get stuck or paralyzed with fear.
The Lie = I don’t know what I am doing. I am not capable or qualified for the job. I am inadequate.
“What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?” (Exodus 4:1)
This excuse is based in fear. Anytime we are afraid of something, we start imagining the worst case scenario. We say to ourselves, “What if this _____? or What if that _____?” We think of every possible excuse not to do something out of fear. What if we fail? What if others laugh at us? What if it takes too long or requires too much work? We can waste a lot of time and mental energy coming up with excuses in our minds not to do something.
Lie = It’s not going to work. I will mess things up. I did not hear from God.
“I have never been eloquent, neither in the past [or in the present]. I am slow of speech and tongue.” (Exodus 4:10)
This excuse is based on insecurity. We defeat ourselves in our minds. We think we “can’t” do something so we don’t bother trying. We assume we can’t, so we won’t. Sometimes it has less to do with our ability, and more to do with our mindset. Moses had legitimate reasons for why it would be difficult for him to do what God was asking of him. Basically, God was asking him to do something that he wasn’t good at. By his response, we get a sneak peek into what was going through his mind. Essentially Moses was saying to God, “I don’t know who you think I am, but I am not the right person for the job. I was never good at what you’re asking me to do and nothing has changed now. You’ve picked the wrong person.”
Lie = I’m not good enough. I can’t say what I mean. I always say the wrong things!
Send Someone Else
“Please send someone else.” (Exodus 4:13)
This is the point in our journey where we sabotage ourselves and hinder God’s work in our lives. We are so afraid of failing that we give up before we start. How many of God’s plans and purposes have we missed because we were too afraid to step out and trust Him? We give up on ourselves. We give up on God’s ability to change us. We resign ourselves to believing that this is the way life will always be. We simply give up.
Lie = I can’t change! I am not like _____. This is the way it will always be.
All 5 of Moses’ excuses revealed something about himself. Each excuse we make reveals something about ourselves too. The pain and struggle Moses experienced planted the seeds of insecurity and fear and doubt in his mind. The same is true for us also. Pain can intensify feelings of inadequacy and deflate our self-esteem. Crises can change our perception of ourselves and God as we question everything we once held true. It can distort our view of reality. It can turn once confident individuals into fearful, insecure people who lose hope that things will ever change. Unless God challenges us, we will stay stuck in our pain and refuse to move forward. Our excuses reveal not only the depth of our pain, but also the resulting lies we’ve believed. Understanding our pain and exposing the lies is crucial to our recovery.
Find out next time how God responded to Moses’ excuses and what He may be saying to us now. Discover powerful lessons Moses learned in the process of confronting his fears that we can apply in our everyday life.