“O Lord, please send someone else to do it.“ Exodus 4:13
There is a strange dichotomy when it comes to serving God. We want to serve Him, but often it is on our terms and not His. We want to be used by God and would love to distinguish ourselves by doing something great for Him. But our desire is often based on our own idea of how we can best serve Him and what we think we have to offer Him.
God however does not choose us to serve Him based on our desire nor our self estimation of our usefulness to Him. To the contrary, God usually chooses us when we are least likely to want to do it and are feeling totally inadequate and unqualified to do it.
Moses is the poster child for this dichotomy. As a young man he set out in his own strength and timing to be God’s man of faith and power to deliver the Israelites from the Egyptians. His ill conceived plan backfired on him and he ended up fleeing for his life. Ironically it took forty years of desert exile to divest him of all spiritual ambition in order that God could finally use him.
When God interrupted Moses’ comfortable life with the burning bush and called him to return to Egypt Moses balked. “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” he protested. (Exodus 3:11) This was just the first of four major excuses that Moses sought to use to wiggle out of God’s call to use him. God’s responses to these objections give us insight into what serving God is really all about.
1. “Who am I?” God made it clear to Moses that serving Him is not about who the servant is, but who the sender is. The assumption that we have to be somebody special or have unique gifts to serve Him is not only erroneous but actually interferes with God’s purposes. His delight is in choosing the weak, the foolish and the ignoble to serve Him so that the greatness of the results might be from Him and not from us. (1 Corinthians 1:26-27 & 2 Corinthians 4:7)
2. Moses then throws out the “what if it doesn’t work?” objection. “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say ‘The Lord did not appear to you?’” (Exodus 4:1) This objection is wrong-headed as well because it bases the legitimacy of God’s calling on some measure of success and not God’s eternal purposes. Serving God is not about being successful in the world’s eyes.
In fact serving God often does not go well, resistance and delays are common and we may not even see results in this life. Our service for God may not work out the way we have imagined or hoped, it certainly didn’t for Moses. But that must not discourage us from obeying Him nor rob us or God of the pleasure of our service for Him.
3. Next Moses argues the “I don’t have what it takes” hesitation. “Lord I have never been eloquent, in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” (Exodus 4:10) Now Moses is lying. Why would he do that? We know from Steven’s speech to the Sanhedrin in the New Testament that “Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action.” (Acts 7:22)
The demands of every major calling from God eclipse the limits of our own gifts and abilities. That calling stretches us so far beyond our realm of experience and competence that we can easily find ourselves confessing like Moses that we just do not have what it takes. But here again God’s incredulity with Moses’ objection “Who gave man his mouth?” instructs us that dependence on God and not our abilities is the only way we can really serve Him.
4. Finally Moses is gut level honest with God and reveals his insecure, trembling but rebellious heart. “O Lord, please send someone else to do it.” (Exodus 4:13) This engenders God’s anger. It is in direct defiance to the wisdom and the power of God’s choice. Moses is making an assumption here that is not even in God’s play book. He is assuming that God has a plan B, someone else who can do it; yes, someone else on the bench who can quarterback the Exodus, the Mother of all Super Bowls. But God doesn’t. Moses is His choice, His only choice and it is not because Moses is qualified to do it. It is because God’s choice qualifies him.
Be assured, God’s choice of you is His plan A. He has no plan B regarding you. Like Moses you can step out in faith knowing it’s all about God and not about you. It doesn’t matter whether or not you are successful because you can leave the results to Him. And you may even feel like you do not have what it takes, but God does; and He will give you what you need, when you need it.
Have you found yourself caught in this dichotomy of wanting to serve God, but on your terms and not His? What have you learned about serving Him from a place of reluctance or inadequacy?
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