Excuses at the Burning Bush

Jame Tissot "Moses and the Burning Bush"







Exodus 3-4: 17

This is a story most of us are familiar with – Moses and the burning bush.  I’ve heard this passage as long as I can remember, but I just recently recognized the “encouragement” value of it!  The Bible is full of stories that encourage us to do what God has instructed and trust Him to make the way. I believe this one to be a powerful one, because for every time Moses says “I can’t”, God comes back with “this is how I’ll help you”.

Moses’s first question was in Exodus 3: 11:  “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”  God answered in verse Exodus 3: 12:  “I will certainly be with you.”  Next, in Exodus 4: 1, Moses said, “But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you.’”

That’s when God showed Moses the three ways He would prove Moses had seen Him (Exodus 4: 2-9) – the rod turning into a serpent, Moses’s leprous hand restored, and the river water turning into blood on the dry ground.  In Exodus 4: 10, Moses used the excuse that he wasn’t an eloquent speaker, that he was “slow of speech and slow of tongue”. God’s response?  Exodus 4: 11  “So the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord?'”  Exodus 4: 12 Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.”

Exodus 3: 13 was a last-ditch effort to get out of the task:  “O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send.”  At this point, God was exasperated  Exodus 3: 14 So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses!”  Basically, He said to Moses, “Fine.  I’ll get your brother Aaron to do the talking, but I still want you to do this.  So, I’ll tell you what to say, you’ll tell him, and he’ll tell the people.”  Even after God had told Moses He would be with him and enable him to accomplish the task, Moses was still making excuses!  By bringing Aaron into it, I think it took away some of the impact that would’ve been made if Moses delivered the message straight from God.  Again, “I think…”.

The point here is, whatever God tells us to do, He will make a way – despite our excuses!


Tori Gay


Painting by James Tissot “Moses and the Burning Bush” in Public Domain