God’s Call and Our Excuses pt. 1
Have you ever sensed God’s call on your life? Did you answer it or make excuses for why you “can’t do it”?
Let’s look at the verb form of the word “call”. To “call” is to summon a person – as a phone call, when the ring-tone summons you to answer. To call is also “to select or appoint for a specific office, duty, or employment” – as a “call to arms” gathers soldiers or citizen militias for battle readiness.
So a “call” from God is a summons, a selection, and an appointment to a specific area of service or a special task. A good example of a call is from the life of Saul of the New Testament, who later became the Apostle Paul:
“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God . . . “ Romans 1:1.
A “call” begins with a personal experience with God: first He calls us to enter a relationship with Him. Some respond affirmatively to that call – others answer either “No” or “Later”.
For those who have responded with a “Yes” to the call to salvation and are then summoned to a specific duty or ministry office, this second “call” will be answered with either obedience or disobedience. There is no middle ground to a call of God on your life – you either do what He asks or you don’t.
There are many excuses that I have heard over the years from people whom God has called to serve Him in a particular place, with a special duty or task; I’ve probably made some excuses myself. Why do spirit-born Christians sometimes say “No” to God’s call?
We’re going to look at an Old Testament saint who was called to a specific mission and responded, “No thanks” to God, with a head full of excuses.
In my blog post entitled Rescued for a Reason, we looked at the early part of the life of Moses. We saw how Moses had been rescued from death three times by God.
Now we find Moses, after 40 years of a shepherd’s life, standing before a burning bush in the wilderness. During this personal encounter with the Holy One of Israel, Moses is issued a call by God to a specific task – to go to Egypt to free the Israelites from Pharaoh’s enslavement.
Moses opens his arsenal of excuses and explanations as to why God picked the wrong man.
- Excuse #1 – Why me?
His first excuse is in the form of a question:
“But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?’ ” Exodus 1:11
The implication is “I’m nobody”. Did Moses think God was not already aware of that? God frequently takes nobodies and makes them into somebodies in His kingdom plan. But God, understanding that Moses is really afraid to return to Egypt, answers this excuse with: “I will be with you.” What more can you ask for? Apparently quite a bit more.
Moses has bad memories of his last experience in Egypt when he killed an Egyptian who was beating an Israelite slave. The deed was known among both the Egyptians and the Israelites; neither took kindly to Moses’ rash deed. Another question to delay obedience:
- Excuse #2 – Is this really you, God?
You can’t blame Moses for asking the question, “Who are you anyway?” It’s not every day you encounter a burning, talking bush. Sometimes I wish God would speak that clearly to me. I can imagine Moses doing a quick mental scan: he asks,
“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?”
Apparently, at this point in his life, Moses had not been spending time with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, or he would have known who was commissioning him. It’s only after stepping out in obedience to the call of God that Moses later becomes the man with whom “God spoke face-to-face, as with a friend.” Ex. 33:11
God patiently answers Moses’ question,
“I AM WHO I AM. [In some translations, I AM WHO I WILL BE.] This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ” Exodus 3:14
God then gives Moses his full instructions; to whom he is to deliver the message and exactly what he is to say.
- Excuse #3 – What if they don’t believe me?
Moses stalls again with the question:
“What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?”
There are those of us who always imagine the worst outcome when we see the assigned task as a hard one. We call ourselves “realist”. In reality, we’re sometimes just too scared to try. We fear rejection. We fear failure. If you don’t try, you won’t fail, right? But if you don’t try, you also don’t succeed. We seldom think of not trying as a lack of trust in God.
We haven’t yet learned that when God calls us, He will give us what we need to carry out the assignment, even though there can be pain and disappointments in the process. Many people opt out when the going gets tough. If God has indeed called us to a place of service, we’ll never be really fulfilled until we wholeheartedly enter into the call.
God then reveals another part of His plan to Moses: He demonstrates a series of miracles which will convince the elders of Israel that God indeed has sent him. Moses’ staff turns into a snake and back to a staff; his hand becomes leprous and then whole again; then God says that water from the Nile will become blood as Moses pours it onto the ground.
Moses is still not convinced.
We’ll look at the closing arguments between God and Moses in part 2 of God’s Call and Our Excuses. You may see yourself in those closing discussions. Will Moses fulfill God’s call on his life willingly? What will it take to persuade him?
Have you been rescued by God; seen miracles in your life, but remain skeptical that God will take care of you and your family if you answer His call on your life?
©2012, Marcy Alves
- Rescued for a Reason (marcyda.wordpress.com)
- So that Everyone Will Know – Exodus 7:5 (dianneguthmuller.com)
Posted on February 3, 2012, in Christian Growth, God Encounters, Reflections and tagged a calling from God, answering God's call, excuse making, excuses, God, God's call, Israelites, Moses, obedience to God, Old Testament, Pharaoh, provision, trust. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.