Excuses, Insufficiency, and the Grace of God

In the first two chapters of Exodus, God was silent. It has been many years since God has revealed himself to his people the way he did with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and even Joseph. Yet, we have seen that even when God is silent, he is working for the good of his people and the glory of his name. Now, in Exodus 3 the silence has broken. God has chosen to use Moses, an imperfect vessel, to rescue his people from slavery. He revealed himself to Moses as the God of his father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob (Ex. 3:6). Moses realized how unworthy he was for the task at hand. He said, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” Moses was a murderer and rejected, imperfect savior. Who was he to go to Pharaoh and demand he release the people of Israel? On his own, he was not capable. But notice what God says in reply, “But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain” (vv. 11-12).

The salvation of God’s people didn’t depend on who Moses was; it depended on who God is. As disciples of Jesus, we are commanded to go and rescue people from slavery to sin (Matt. 28:19-20). When we look at our own lives though, we see just how unworthy we are. We would be right to complain, “But who am I that I should go to my neighbor, friend, or coworker with the gospel?” We make so many excuses for not sharing the gospel with others, and they are all based on who we are. That’s the problem. The reason many of us fail to make disciples is because we are focused on our inadequacies, instead of focusing on the infinite power of God. The salvation of the people in your life isn’t dependent on who you are or what you have done. Their salvation is dependent on who God is and what he has done on their behalf.

This truth should free us to be intentional about sharing the gospel. God saves sinners despite our failures and imperfections. His power to save is based on his grace, not your performance. When Moses begins to realize this, he asks a better question in verse 13. He asks more about who God is by asking what he and the people of Israel should call him. God tells Moses his name is I am, and that the people of Israel should know it is I am, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who has sent Moses. They can be confident that God will save them because he is committed to his people, his promises, and his purposes.

Even though Exodus 3 is filled with good news, verse 19 lets us know the rescue will not be easy. Pharaoh will not let God’s people go “unless compelled by a mighty hand.” God will reach out his hand and strike Egypt with his mighty wonders. This is an important reminder that the enemy continues to fight even though his defeat is sure. Satan will not stop tempting and scheming against you just because God has rescued you. He will continue to bite, so cling to the one who has crushed his head forever in his death and resurrection.


Mathew Gilbert (B.A. Boyce College) is Associate Pastor for Children and Preschool at The Church at Trace Crossing in Tupelo, MS. He is a M.Div student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Mathew is married to his high school sweetheart, Erica. Mathew and Erica live in Tupelo with their son, Jude. You can follow him on Twitter @mat_gilbert.

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