Moses’ Five Complaints

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, April 7, 2017 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

We’ve all made excuses when we’re been told to do something we don’t want to do, especially when the command comes from God. How often do we try to wiggle out of obedience? I am not talking about the struggle between wanting to obey God and not knowing how or just trying to get up and do it; I am talking about knowing what God is calling you to do, not wanting to do it, and trying to get out of it. Interestingly enough, one of the most important people in the Bible did this: Moses. Take your time to read Exodus 3-4 when Moses receives his calling at the burning bush. In this encounter with God, Moses tries five times to get out of the job. What are they, and are they familiar to us today?

The first complaint is: “Who am I?” Who am I to go to Egypt to deliver the people? Who I am I to go preach the Gospel to this person or that group? Who am I to lead a church? Who am I to start and lead a Bible study group? Who I am I speak truth? Who am I to even write this post?

Let me be straight up. None of us are worthy to do the jobs God wants us to do. None of us have the talent in and within ourselves to do the job. And most of us recognize that. God often intends to put us in impossible situations so we have to depend upon him. But that is also part of the blessing. We actually are not doing the work of the impossible; God is. He seeks to have us participate in the journey with him. He’s doing more than the lion’s share of the work. And often, like with Jehoshaphat, we just need to go and watch him work. If God is going to go with us, why do we worry about who we are? If we could do the job without God, he would not send us anyway.

The second complaint is “Who are you? What is your name?” There are countless people that claim they are sent by God to give a message, yet the message demonstrates to have nothing to do with him. When we Christians talk about “God created the heavens and the earth,” a common atheist objection is “Which God? Thor? Shiva?” They usually know we are talking about the only one true God, but they say that to try to throw us off our game. God’s response is: “I AM WHO I AM.”

Do we know who God is? Can we describe him? Or do we just have an image of God that fits what we like God to be - an image that sounds a lot like us? I wrote a series about the attributes of God last year. Do we know them? A sad reality is that very few preachers will touch on the character or nature of God other than a few passing references. When was the last time we heard a sermon or had a conference about the attributes of God? How can we proclaim a message about God unless we are studying and learning about who God is? How often do we spend time with him? Do we have any desire to see him in heaven? Do not let ignorance of God be the reason you are left behind. God may not have let Moses off the hook, but he is not above passing us by, for good.

The third complaint: “What is no one believes me?” This is often a big one. We like the applause and we like the attention. But what if no one believes us? Do we keep going or do we quit? Let me describe two preachers that had no believing audiences: Noah and Jeremiah. Noah preached for 120 years prior to the Flood, building the Ark as something more than a symbol of upcoming judgment. Only his wife, three sons, and their wives listened. Jeremiah was the only prophet to proclaim 70 years of captivity and he was imprisoned for it. Even when King Zedekiah came to privately hear the message, he never really believed it because he would not obey it.

What if no one believes us? What does anyone’s opinion have to do with truth? How does anyone’s reception of the message have to do with truth? Truth does not care about what others think nor does it care about who receives it or not. Both Noah and Jeremiah were correct. It is our job to present his message even if we are the only one preaching it and the only one believing it.

The fourth complaint: “I can’t talk.” Did you know Moses had a stutter? Moses was not a Charlton Heston with that booming voice, “Let my people go!” He stuttered and stammered through his speech. He was the equivalent of King George from The King’s Speech. Why was Moses concerned about his speech? He was afraid his stutter would make people not believe him. I understand what Moses was going through. Through most of my life, I had a heavy stutter and where did God put me? Into public speaking arenas. Classrooms, conferences, church events, with many more to come. I am significantly better at it now than I was even a few years ago, but it’s not completely gone. It was frustrating to not get a word out, but I never let it embarrass me. This is the same line of reasoning as “Who am I?” We know our weaknesses. But let me hit one more thing here: Paul never developed his message with eloquence of speech. He could speak fluently but that wasn’t his method. He came with a demonstration of the power of the Holy Spirit. When God sends us, he will give us the words to say and when to say it, if we listen to him.

The fifth complaint: “Send someone else.” This is simply a straight-up cop-out. Moses flat out was saying, “I don’t want this job, please give it to someone else.” God designs us for specific jobs, to be able to handle certain tasks. He does not call the equipped; he equips the called. Let us not be those who would rather let someone else get the privilege of going on the journey with Christ while we hang back in our comforts, and miss God.

God did not let Moses off the hook. He needed Moses for this job and despite his reluctance, Moses so took on the job that he repeatedly pleaded with God to not wipe out Israel nor to go on without them. But God can certainly leave us behind. Rees Howells was nearly left behind. God gave him a deadline, at 6:00pm one night, to join him or not. He fought the decision until just before the deadline. Another preacher came to a church service and wept for four straight weeks. When the pastor of that church went to find out what was up, the preacher held blueprints for a church that matched perfectly the building he was in, and he didn’t build it. He saw another pastor sharing the vision given to him.

What is God calling you to do? Do not give excuses or complaints to get out of it. I pray I never have to experience someone else walking in the very ministry I was supposed to do. The Parable of the Talents is in the Bible for a reason. The wicked servant’s talent was taken from him and given to the one who was most productive with his talents. Do not let God pass you by because you simply did not want to step out in faith.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.