Moses, Reluctant Servant (Lord, Please Send Someone Else)

Welcome to Real Life. I picture Moses[1] as a strong man of immense faith standing up to Pharaoh and leading the Israelites out of Egypt. That’s why I love this verse: 

But Moses said, “O Lord, please send someone else to do it.”[2]

Let me explain.

The Israeli people are growing in strength and number during their sojourn in Egypt.[3] This frightens Pharaoh. In order to control them, he forces the Israelites into slavery. He also proclaims an edict: every male infant born to Hebrew parents is to be killed. So Moses should have died on the day of his birth. Instead, God has other plans. This son of slaves is adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter. He grows up in the palace. Yet, Moses retains an affinity for his people. So that when he witnesses an Egyptian mistreating an Israelite, Moses kills the Egyptian. Fearing Pharaoh’s reprisal, he flees Egypt and lands in Midian. There, Moses leaves behind the stress of the big city and begins a peaceful new life as a country shepherd. 

However, God interrupts Moses’ easy life. On an ordinary day tending his flocks, the Almighty One calls out from a burning bush,[4] “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.”[5] The Lord has seen the misery of his people in slavery. He’s heard their cries. He cares. He’s coming to rescue them. Moses is thrilled … until God says, “I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

Me? Moses immediately decides this is a bad idea.

Moses:  They’ll never believe you sent me. Why would they listen to me?
God:     I’m giving you three miraculous signs as proof: 1) your staff will become a snake, 2) your hand will grow leprous – then heal, and 3) water from the Nile poured on dry ground will turn to blood.

Moses:  I’m no public speaker. I’m not eloquent. I stumble over my words.
God:    I made your mouth. I’ll help you speak and teach you what to say.

Finally Moses blurts out, “O Lord, please send someone else to do it.” 


Moses wants his people rescued. He’s seen their misery. He wants them set free. But, he’s a realist. What God’s calling him to do is impossible. Moses has lived in the palace. He knows Pharaoh’s power. The king of Egypt could kill him at a whim. And Pharaoh won’t be happy with this request. He won’t want to lose his free labor pool of slaves. This is a no-win assignment. Moses wants no part of it. Can’t he just continue as a simple shepherd? He can cheer God on from the sidelines. He’d rather not get involved.

I’ve been there. I’ve heard God’s call ... and balked. I’ve made excuses. Who am I? I’m no one special. Why should I write, teach, or share my faith? Why would anyone listen to me? I don’t have the talent, the resources, the guts to obey God. Can’t someone else do it?

That’s why I love this verse. Moses’ faithless words encourage me. Because even though he begins poorly, he doesn’t stay there. Moses was no one special. He did not possess the talent or resources or guts to live out God’s call. But here’s the thing: Moses did not rescue Israel. God did. Moses simply needed to obey, one step at a time. As he did, God grew him into a leader, a man of immense faith, and one of the greatest prophets this world has ever known.

And if God can use a reluctant servant like Moses, maybe there’s hope for someone like me.

Taking it further …

  • Is God calling you to something hard? Do you want to say, “Lord, please send someone else”? Remember Moses. You can’t do the impossible. But, God can. 
[1] Like Charlton Heston in Cecil B. DeMille’s movie The Ten Commandments
[2] Exodus 4:13
[3] See earlier blog “Joseph’s Long Road to Greatness
[4] Eventually, Moses become known as someone who speaks to God face to face as a man speaks to his friend.
[5] Exodus 3:6

Comments

  1. I appreciate Moses' reluctance as well for I have told God he picked the wrong person for the job too. It's a comfort to know that the greatest figures in the Bible were just as human as we are. Thanks for the reminder, Peggi. I really needed this. Your writing is always concise and readable, yet strong, effective, and encouraging.

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  2. Thanks, Linnea, for your kind words. It's a blessing for me to watch you living out God's call - one step at a time. Your faith encourages me, friend!

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  3. I come here by way of Linkedin. We all have been the 'reluctant servant' at one time or another in our walk with Christ. It's when we 'Let go and let God' that we learn to be more confident in our living for Him.

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  4. Hi friend,
    I love your name "quiet spirit." Thanks for stopping by.

    I appreciate your thoughts on letting go and letting God. Sometimes, it's me needing to let go of an easy life - to pursue the hard, but fulfilling call of God on my life.

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  5. Hi,
    One of the most fascinating things that fascinates me about God is that he doesn't look at your heritage, your degrees, your talents, your courage, or your lack of it. God looks only at your heart. That is for me very encouraging. When I read about Moses, I always see the man who was humble enough to know that there was a Creator, a God that was the "God" and this God was the one he wanted to follow. I don't even think Moses thought about being a leader. he was kind of like Jeremiah, that said, let someone else do it, I am, too young. One thing I have noticed and learned, it is the heart that counts for God. And in Moses' case it was his heart that counted. God knew his heart and therefore knew that he could depend upon him.
    Enjoyed your article Peggi.
    Ciao,
    Patricia

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  6. Hi Patricia, I so appreciate your perspective. I never saw Moses in that light. It gives me another way to see him.

    You are absolutely right - God looks at our hearts. That's why I keep asking Him to change my heart and make it more like His.

    Thanks so much for comments! I love to learn from you.

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