DEVOTIONS AND SERMONS

                 Index

 
Excuses And Fear
 

1. Moses

Exodus 3:5-12
5 "Do not come any closer," God said. "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground."
6 Then he said, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob." At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.
7 The LORD said, "I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering.
8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey--the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.
9 And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them.
10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt."
11 But Moses said to God, "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?"
12 And God said, "I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain."


God appears to Moses, calls him to lead Israel out of bondage. Moses is afraid (v6,11), he feared his own inadequacy. God's solution to our inadequacy: "I will be with you".

Exodus 3:13-15
13 Moses said to God, "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?"
14 God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.'"
15 God also said to Moses, "Say to the Israelites, 'The LORD, the God of your fathers--the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob--has sent me to you.' This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation.


Moses is afraid, he does not know enough to go. God replies that the message is simple - "I am who I am". People don't need to know the whole Bible before they obey.

Exodus 4:1-3
1 Moses answered, "What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, 'The LORD did not appear to you'?"
2 Then the LORD said to him, "What is that in your hand?" "A staff," he replied.
3 The LORD said, "Throw it on the ground." Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it.


Moses fears others wont respond. God shows him that he has power. We do too! (Bible record of miracles, evidence of our own changed lives, Holy Spirit)

Exodus 4:10-12
10 Moses said to the LORD, "O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue."
11 The LORD said to him, "Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD?
12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say."


Moses fears he won't be talented enough to speak well. God shows him that he will help Moses to speak (Luke 21:15 - He helps us too).

Luke 21:15
For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.

Exodus 4:13-15
13 But Moses said, "O Lord, please send someone else to do it."
14 Then the Lord's anger burned against Moses and he said, "What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and his heart will be glad when he sees you.
15 You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do.


Moses' real excuse emerges - he doesn't feel like going. God is angered by our fear and continued excuse-making. There is no valid excuse. Jesus taught this too.

Luke 9:57-62
57 As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go."
58 Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."
59 He said to another man, "Follow me." But the man replied, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father."
60 Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God."
61 Still another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family."
62 Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."


2. Gideon

Judges 6:7-14
7 When the Israelites cried to the LORD because of Midian,
8 he sent them a prophet, who said, "This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
9 I snatched you from the power of Egypt and from the hand of all your oppressors. I drove them from before you and gave you their land.
10 I said to you, 'I am the LORD your God; do not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live.' But you have not listened to me."
11 The angel of the LORD came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites.
12 When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, "The LORD is with you, mighty warrior."
13 "But sir," Gideon replied, "if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our fathers told us about when they said, 'Did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt?' But now the LORD has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian."
14 The LORD turned to him and said, "Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian's hand. Am I not sending you?"


Israel was being oppressed by Midian. Gideon was so afraid that he was threshing wheat in a winepress (v11). God promises He is with us, but Gideon asks, "If the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us"? God responds: "Go in the strength you have". He says basically, "Trust me. Give me your best, I'll do the rest".

Judges 6:15-16
15 "But Lord, " Gideon asked, "how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family."
16 The LORD answered, "I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together."


Gideon explains that God doesn't understand how weak he is. God explains that anyone plus God equals victory.

3. Isaiah

Isaiah 6:1-8
1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple.
2 Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.
3 And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory."
4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
5 "Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty."
6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar.
7 With it he touched my mouth and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for."
8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"


God appears to Isaiah and Isaiah is convicted by his own unrighteousness. God responds by taking away Isaiah's guilt and challenging him to go. Isaiah responds with the right attitude: now that he has been forgiven, he is ready to do whatever God wants.

4. Jeremiah

Jeremiah 1:4-10

4 The word of the LORD came to me, saying,
5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."
6 "Ah, Sovereign LORD," I said, "I do not know how to speak; I am only a child."
7 But the LORD said to me, "Do not say, 'I am only a child.' You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you.
8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you," declares the LORD.
9 Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, "Now, I have put my words in your mouth.
10 See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant."


God explains to Jeremiah that He had chosen him from the beginning. The same is true for us.

2 Thessalonians 2:13-14
13 But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.
14 He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Jeremiah says, "I am too young and experienced to go". As usual, God promises to help Jeremiah through every situation (v7-8). He will give Jeremiah the words to say (v9).

Conclusion

Mark 9:17-27
17 A man in the crowd answered, "Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech.
18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not."
19 "O unbelieving generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me."
20 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.
21 Jesus asked the boy's father, "How long has he been like this?" "From childhood," he answered.
22 "It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us."
23 "'If you can'?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes."
24 Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"
25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil spirit. "You deaf and mute spirit," he said, "I command you, come out of him and never enter him again."
26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, "He's dead."
27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.


The man fears that his son's problems cannot be overcome. The man wants to believe, but he has doubts - "If you can....". We need to have the attitude: "I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief". We must believe our beliefs, doubt our doubts.

John 7:16-17
16 Jesus answered, "My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me.
17 If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.


Challenge

If you really want to overcome your excuses and fear, just go for it. Put it into practice and see if God's word and promises really work.