In Exodus 3 and 4, God gives Moses a tall order – to go to Pharaoh and to bring God’s people (the Israelites) out of Egypt, where they were suffering and subject to slavery under Pharoah’s rule.
How did Moses respond? Did he take up this task immediately and in all eagerness obey God to rescue the Israelites? No he did not. He objected, gave excuses, and bargained with God:
- Moses’ first excuse in Exodus 3:11 was “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” Moses considered himself unworthy to be selected by God to fulfil this mission.
- Moses’ second excuse in Exodus 4:1 was “What if they do not believe me or listen to me…” Moses again considered himself unworthy and doubted his ability to convince the people and to listen to him.
- Moses’ third excuse in Exodus 4:10 was “… I have never been eloquent… I am slow in speech and tongue.” Moses had considered himself inadequate to be selected by God to fulfil this mission.
- Moses’ last excuse, and in all desperation was in Exodus 4:13, where he out rightly begged God to “… send someone else to do it”.
Do these excuses sound familiar to you? Have you been called to service recently? It does not have to be service in a big way or to give up your life to serve God in some foreign land. It could be service in your own workplace, service in small little ways such as supporting and praying for missionaries. What has your responses been? Has it been “..but I am not good enough.”, “There are others out there who are much better than me.”, “I don’t have the time or energy to help.” I put it to you that these may be the exact feelings Moses felt when God called him.
Looking at God’s responses to Moses’ objections and excuses, I gleaned a very important principle, that is – God’s call to service Him always includes His enabling and providence. God enabled Moses by blessing him with the ability to perform miracles, so that the Israelites will believe that it was God who sent Moses. God provided for Moses by sending his brother Aaron to journey alongside him. Most importantly, God provided for Moses by assuring him that God will go before Him, and that God was with Him (Exodus 3:12, 14-15).
God DOES NOT need us to serve Him. God is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent – why would He need us as sinners, as unworthy men to serve Him and His Kingdom? God calls us to serve Him because He loves us, and wants us to be part of His love and great work. Through service, God wants us to grow in love and in faith, and be awed by the fruits that are reaped when we obey Him. He calls us to serve Him so that we may find purpose in our lives. God does not need us to serve Him; being able to serve Him is a privilege. We should be thankful that God calls us to serve Him.
It is natural to have doubts or objections when God calls. However, at the end of the day, we only have to trust and respond to his call. Our God who is faithful, will take care of the rest, like how he led his people out of Egypt.
Sister Matilda Xie