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Exodus 4:1-17

No More Excuses

  • Matthew Dodd
  • Sunday Night Messages
  • September 13, 2020

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
September 13, 2020

1. Excuses. Since Adam and Eve’s fall in the Garden of Eden, people have mastered the art of making excuses for their actions and inactions.
2. defines an excuse as “a reason that you give in order to explain why something has been done or has not been done, or in order to avoid doing something.”
3. I have found that insecurity rooted in fear often leads to excuses. “I can’t do this because. . .”
4. If you have made excuses in the past due to insecurity or you are making excuses now because you are afraid, you are not alone.
5. Tonight, during our study in Exodus 4:1-17, we will discover life-transforming principles from God’s Word so that we may be done with making excuses.

Exodus 4:1-17

1. In Exodus 3, we are told that after 400 years in Egypt, in fulfillment of His promise to Abraham in Genesis 15, God 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 attempted 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.” (Exodus 3:14)
a. God is self-existent, eternal, all powerful, all knowing, everywhere present.
b. He is the promise-making, promise-keeping God.

Transition – But was that good enough for Moses?

• The answer is “No.”
• Verses 1-9 provide the first remedy against making excuses. . .

I.  Make the foundation of Your Life (1-9)

• If you want to put an end to making excuses, then the existing foundation of your life must be replaced.
• Your fears and insecurities must be replaced by faith.
• Make faith the foundation for your life.

A. “What ifs” are quicksand (1)
1. Moses was rejected forty years earlier. (2:11-15)
a. He killed an Egyptian soldier who was beating a Hebrew slave.
b. Moses thought that Israel would see that he was their deliverer.
c. But they rejected him because they were not ready to leave Egypt and he was not ready to lead God’s way.
2. Moses was a broken man, humiliated after forty years of tending his father-in-law’s sheep.
a. I am sure he was relieved to hear that God was going to deliver Israel.
b. But he did not want to step out and obey God’s calling because he was afraid of failing and being rejected again.

APPL – Life can break us and humiliate us, but we are not useless.

• Through it all, God is inviting us to make faith the foundation of our lives.
• God is not done with us yet.

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

ILLUS – The transformation of Ravi Zacharias.

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

Exodus 3:18, And they will pay heed to what you say

APPL – Never build your life on “What ifs.”

• It does not matter what other people think.
• It does not matter if people will not listen.
• How people respond is not our responsibility.

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

APPL – Faith is a better foundation than “What ifs”. Romans 8:31-39 gives us better questions to consider.

Romans 8:31-35, 37, 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? Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.

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

1. God was patient with Moses.
a. Moses was a broken man.
b. But God was building Moses into a man of faith.
2. God had already promised His presence, but He also gave proofs to build up Moses’ faith.
a. Staff into a snake – Moses’ authority over Egypt and God’s ability to animate an inanimate object.
b. Afflict and cleanse leprosy – Israel would be delivered from defiled Egypt and cleansed for service to God. God can afflict and cure the incurable.
c. Water turned to blood – The Nile was considered the source of life for Egypt.
o Osiris, the false Egyptian god, was credited with providing all blessings.
o Blood signifies death.
o Therefore, Moses has the power to defeat the Egyptian gods and punish the Egypt with death.
o Ultimately, this signified that God of Israel was greater than Egypt’s gods.

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

• God bears witness to us through His Word, the Bible.

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 bears witness to us that Jesus is the Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:3-4, For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures

• The Holy Spirit bears witness to us that we are children of God.

Romans 8:15-16, For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God

• This three-fold witness and work of God results in changed lives.

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 am 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 on faith and not on “What ifs.”

Transition – Verses 13-17 provide the second remedy against making excuses. . .

II. God’s Grace is More Than Enough (13-17)

A. Do not focus on your inadequacies (10)
1. Moses felt inadequate to do what God was calling 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 possibly persuade Israel’s elders or Pharaoh this time?
3. So, Moses makes an excuse to refuse God’s calling. But Stephen gives us a more accurate picture of Moses in Acts 7:22.

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 – Perhaps you can relate to feeling inadequate or inferior.

ILLUS – Reading and comprehension issues.

APPL – This is a common response to God’s calling by many of His servants, but it is not a reason for resisting His call.

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

ILLUS – My second attempt at teaching.

B. Our adequacy is from God (11-17)

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.

1. God gave us life.
a. God gave us our abilities, talents, and gifts.
b. God gives us opportunities to use our abilities, talents, and gifts to share Jesus with others.

1 Corinthians 12:4-7, Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. 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 – My first evangelism class with a professor who had a speech impediment.

2. God told Moses that He would teach him what to say.
a. Seminary and Bible College are profitable.
b. But God will open doors and give us opportunities to share Christ with others as we trust in His grace to make us adequate.
c. This is God’s plan and God’s way so that our confidence may rest in the Lord.

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 pleaded with God to send someone else, saying, “Please, Lord, send the message by whomever You will.” (14)
4. The anger of the Lord burned against Moses because he was rejecting God’s presence and promises by rebelling against God’s calling and command.

APPL – Do not resist the Lord and miss out on what He has planned for your life.

• Do not let a “What if” become a “I wish I had.”
• When God calls you, He will be with you.
• When God calls you, He will give you what you need.
• Focus on God. Be with God. Trust in God.

ILLUS – My dad’s step of faith led to my step of faith.


APPL – That said, I must confess how convicted I am by this passage.

• Too many times I have been like Moses, looking at the wrong person, making excuses, running from opportunities, not trusting God.
• But it is not too late to change.
• I find vision and comfort in the words of the Apostle Paul and pray you will embrace them as well, making them your prayer.

Philippians 3:12-14, Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so 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 laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward 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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