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Exodus 4:1-17

No More Excuses

  • Matthew Dodd
  • Weekend Messages
  • April 23, 2018

If you’ve made excuses in the past because of fear or you’re making excuses now because you are afraid, you’re not alone.
Our study in Exodus 4:1-17 will provide practical principles so that we may stand by faith and be done with making excuses.

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture
No More Excuses

Exodus 4:1-17 

Introduction

ILLUS – Training for a triathlon – Iron Man

1. Has fear ever held you back?

2. I’ve found that fear often leads to excuses… “I can’t do this because __________!”

3. If you’ve made excuses in the past because of fear or you’re making excuses now because you are afraid, you’re not alone.

4. Our study in Exodus 4:1-17 will provide practical principles so that we may stand by faith and be done with making excuses.

Exodus 4:1-17

Context

1. In Exodus 3, we’re told that after 400 years in Egypt, God, in accordance with His promise to Abraham in Genesis 15, revealed that He was going to deliver Israel from slavery.

2. From a burning bush on Mt. Sinai, the LORD commissioned Moses to lead Israel out of Egypt.

3. Sensing some resistance, God tried to reassure Moses by promising to be with him.

4. God also revealed His sufficiency to meet the needs of Moses and Israel when He declared His name, “I am who I am”.

  • a. God is self-existent, eternal, all powerful, all knowing, and everywhere present!
  • b. He is the promise-making, promise-keeping God!

Transition – Was that good enough for Moses? Look at his response in Exodus 4:1… 

I. Lake Faith the Foundation of Your Life (1-9)

A. “What ifs” are quicksand (1)

1. Moses was rejected 40 years earlier (2:11-15)

  • a. He killed an Egyptian soldier who was beating a Hebrew slave.
  • b. By doing so, Moses thought Israel would recognize that he was their deliverer.
  • c. But they rejected his leadership because they were not ready to leave Egypt and Moses was not ready to lead God’s way.

2. At this point Moses was a broken man, humiliated after 40 years of tending his father-in-law’s sheep.

  • a. I’m sure he was blessed to hear that God was going to deliver Israel.
  • b. But he didn’t want to step out and obey God’s calling because he was fearful of failure and rejection!

APPL – Though life may break us down and we feel humbled by past failures and rejection, we’re not useless! Through the breaking, God is bringing us to a place where faith is the foundation of our lives. God isn’t done with us yet! 

Isaiah 42:3, A bruised reed He will not break, and a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish.

ILLUS – Though sent into exile as a teenager, the prophet Daniel made faith the foundation of his life and did not use the injustice done to him as an excuse.

Daniel 1:8, But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank.

3. But fear deafened the ears of Moses so that he was unable to hear God’s promises.

Exodus 3:18-21, And they will pay heed to what you say; and you with the elders of Israel will come to the king of Egypt, and you will say to him, ‘The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. So now, please, let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.’ But I know that the king of Egypt will not permit you to go, except under compulsion. So I will stretch out My hand, and strike Egypt with all My miracles which I shall do in the midst of it; and after that he will let you go. And I will grant this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall be that when you go, you will not go empty-handed.

APPL – Don’t build your life on “What ifs”. Faith is reality not “What ifs”.

  • It doesn’t matter what other people might think.
  • It doesn’t matter if people will respect you.
  • How other people respond is not your responsibility!

ILLUS – Telling my parents I was going to be a pastor and not a lawyer.

Romans 8:31-39 gives us some better questions to consider…

Romans 8:31-39, What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies;who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written,

“For Your sake we are being put to death all day long;
We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through

Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

B. God’s promises are solid ground (2-9)

1. Notice how patient God was with Moses.

  • a. God knew Moses was broken.
  • b. God’s goal was to build a man of faith!

2. God already promised His presence, but He also provided proofs to strengthen Moses’ faith.

  • a. Staff into a snake – signified Moses’ authority over Egypt and his ability to animate an inanimate object.
  • b. Afflict and cleanse leprosy – Israel would be delivered from defiled Egypt and cleansed to serve God. God is able to afflict and cure the incurable.
  • c. Water turned to blood – The Nile was considered the source of life. Osiris, the Egyptian god, was credited with providing all blessings to Egypt. Blood signified death. Therefore, Moses had the power to destroy the Egyptian gods and punish the land with death. Ultimately, the God of Israel was greater than the gods of Egypt. 

APPL – God has given us a three-fold witness as well.

The Bible – the road map for our lives.

2 Timothy 3:16-17, All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

  • The resurrection of Jesus Christ – death is defeated.

1 Corinthians 15:20, 58, But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.

  • Changed Lives – from persecutor to Apostle.

1 Corinthians 15:9-10, For I am the least of the apostles, who am not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.

APPL – We only get one shot at life. I’m not saying that stepping out in faith will guarantee a life on “Easy Street.” There will be setbacks and trials. But when those trials come, stand by faith and not on “What ifs”. No excuses.

II. God’s Power is More Than Enough (10-17)

A. Don’t focus on your inadequacy (10)

1. Moses felt inadequate to do what God had called him to do.

Exodus 4:10, Then Moses said to the LORD, “Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”

2. Since Moses had failed to persuade Israel to follow him the first time, how could he persuade Israel’s elders or pharaoh this time?

3. To put it nicely, this is more than an excuse!

Acts 7:22, And Moses was educated in all the learning of the Egyptians, and he was a man of power in words and deeds.

APPL – Can you relate… feeling inadequate or inferior?

ILLUS – Reading and comprehension struggles…

APPL – While many may feel this way, it is not a reason/excuse for resisting God’s calling!

Exodus 4:11, And the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth?”

ILLUS – My second attempt at teaching a mid-week service.

2 Corinthians 3:4-6, And such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of the new covenant.

Transition – “Who we are” does not matter! “Who we belong to” is all that matters! 

B. God provides perfect “on the job” training (11-17)

1. God has uniquely made each of us.

  • a. He gives us abilities and opportunities.
  • b. He gives us talents and gifts.

1 Corinthians 12:4-7, Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 

ILLUS – Evangelism class at DTS with a teacher that had a severe speech impediment.

2. God told Moses that He would teach him what to say. (12)

  • a. Walking by faith means that we will encounter places, people, and situations that will stretch us and force us to lean wholeheartedly upon the Lord.
  • b. This is God’s plan so that our confidence and the confidence of those we are serving will rest on the Lord and not on us!

1 Corinthians 2:1-5, And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God. 

3. Still Moses resisted the LORD and said, “Please, Lord, send the message by whomever You will.” (13-14)

  • a. Translation – “I’m not going!”
  • b. God’s anger burned against Moses. Why?
    • i. This wasn’t fear or insecurity talking.
    • ii. Moses was rebelling against God!

APPL – Don’t resist the Lord and miss out on what He wants to do in you and through you. Don’t let a “What if” become “I wish I had!” 

ILLUS – Caleb’s request after 40 years of wandering with Israel through the wilderness.

Joshua 14:6-12, Then the sons of Judah drew near to Joshua in Gilgal, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, “You know the word which the Lord spoke to Moses the man of God concerning you and me in Kadesh-barnea. I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh-barnea to spy out the land, and I brought word back to him as it was in my heart. Nevertheless my brethren who went up with me made the heart of the people melt with fear; but I followed the Lord my God fully. So Moses swore on that day, saying, ‘Surely the land on which your foot has trodden will be an inheritance to you and to your children forever, because you have followed the Lord my God fully.’ Now behold, the Lord has let me live, just as He spoke, these forty-five years, from the time that the Lord spoke this word to Moses, when Israel walked in the wilderness; and now behold, I am eighty-five years old today. I am still as strong today as I was in the day Moses sent me; as my strength was then, so my strength is now, for war and for going out and coming in. Now then, give me this hill country about which the Lord spoke on that day, for you heard on that day that Anakim were there, with great fortified cities; perhaps the Lord will be with me, and I will drive them out as the Lord has spoken.”

APPL – Our God is a giant-slayer! Whatever God has called you to do, do it with your whole heart!

  • He will be with you.
  • He will give you what you need to fulfill what He called you to do.
  • Focus on Him and know that He will be faithful.

Conclusion 

APPL – We can’t change yesterday but we can choose Jesus here and now.

Philippians 3:12-14, Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Exodus 4:1-17                      NASB

1 Then Moses said, "What if they will not believe me or listen to what I say? For they may say, 'The Lord has not appeared to you.'" 2 The Lord said to him, "What is that in your hand?" And he said, "A staff." 3 Then He said, "Throw it on the ground." So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it. 4 But the Lord said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand and grasp it by its tail"-so he stretched out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand- 5 "that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you."

6 The Lord furthermore said to him, "Now put your hand into your bosom." So he put his hand into his bosom, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous like snow. 7 Then He said, "Put your hand into your bosom again." So he put his hand into his bosom again, and when he took it out of his bosom, behold, it was restored like the rest of his flesh. 8 "If they will not believe you or heed the witness of the first sign, they may believe the witness of the last sign. 9 But if they will not believe even these two signs or heed what you say, then you shall take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground; and the water which you take from the Nile will become blood on the dry ground."

10 Then Moses said to the Lord, "Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue." 11 The Lord said to him, "Who has made man's mouth? Or who makes him mute or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now then go, and I, even I, will be with your mouth, and teach you what you are to say." 13 But he said, "Please, Lord, now send the message by whomever You will."
 
14 Then the anger of the Lord burned against Moses, and He said, "Is there not your brother Aaron the Levite? I know that he speaks fluently. And moreover, behold, he is coming out to meet you; when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. 15 You are to speak to him and put the words in his mouth; and I, even I, will be with your mouth and his mouth, and I will teach you what you are to do. 16 Moreover, he shall speak for you to the people; and he will be as a mouth for you and you will be as God to him. 17 You shall take in your hand this staff, with which you shall perform the signs."

 

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