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Moses spent the best part of forty years in a palace in Egypt as a scholar – then, he spent another forty years in the desert as a shepherd – then, at the grand old age of eighty, when most folk are wanting to slow down and take life easy, God called him, and the rest is history ... for Moses spent his last forty years as a saviour to the nation.

Moses discovered his best years were still ahead of him. When most people his age would be living in a retirement home, putting their feet up, playing golf, doting on their great grandchildren, this guy was out there, on the trail, doing business for God. That tells me, serving Jesus in world mission isn’t just for the young.

When we shine the flashlight on Exodus 3 and 4, we come face to face with the present-tense God, the God of today! A God who meets us where we are and who takes us where he wants us to be. A God who takes us the way that we are and who shapes us into the person he wants us to be. A God who specialises in restoring failures, and Moses really blew it (Exodus 2). I mean, he made a real mess of it, but God didn’t write him off. So far as God is concerned, failure is never final. He is God of the second chance!

Did you see how the chapter begins? This day was just the same as the day before, and the one before that; in fact, that’s the way it was for forty years. It was doing ‘the same thing day’.

Until ... there was nothing special about the bush, it was the same as any other acacia bush – seen one, you’ve seen them all! But this one is burning, and it’s not burnt out.

Then God called him: ‘Moses, Moses’ – the old shepherd heard his name, and said: ‘Here I am!’ For Moses, this was a distinct call from the Lord. He was confronted with the awesome majesty of God. No wonder he hid his face for ‘he was afraid to look at God.’ The Lord told him exactly what he wanted him to do – he was to bring his people out of bondage in Egypt.

How did Moses handle the situation? Truth be told, not too well! He wasn’t overly enthusiastic. We sense something of his reluctance to go and do what God wants him to do. So, when God speaks, it’s nothing but excuses, excuses, and yet more excuses!

Number one excuse is in 3:11 ... ‘Lord, who am I?’ He felt so small, so insignificant. Inferior! God gave him a tremendous promise – the assurance of his presence in verse 12. A bit like the Great Commission, for he is with us all the way, all the day! When God is with us, we have nothing to worry about.

Number two excuse is in 3:13 ... ‘Lord, I won’t have all the answers.’ Moses felt embarrassed, unsure, and uncertain; he was out of his depth, it was all too much for him. God said to him in verses 14-15 that he would have all of him ... all that God is would be his portion, all that God has would be his provision.

Number three excuse is in 4:1 ... ‘Lord, they won’t respect me.’ He’s pulling his hair out; he has a built-in fear of being ridiculed and he’s not sure he can handle their cynicism. That’s when God reminds him in verses 2-7 of his stupendous power, for our God is able to do anything but fail. We can’t do it, but God can!

Number four excuse is in 4:10 ... ‘Lord, I don’t have the ability.’ He reckoned he had no natural talent; he wasn’t that eloquent, it was tough for him to talk in public. That’s when God told him that he would meet his deepest needs in verses 11-12. Moses didn’t need a refresher course in oratory skills, he just needed to trust in the Lord’s ability.

Number five excuse is in 4:13 ... ‘Lord, you’ve got the wrong man, send someone else.’ The bottom line, Moses didn’t want to go anywhere near Pharaoh. Not for him, not his scene! God said ‘go’, Moses (like Jonah) said ‘no’. God was having none of it, he told him that he was his choice for the job, but he also sent Aaron along with him (something Moses lived to regret in later life).

God’s way may not be the easy way, but it’s always the best way! Moses pretty much said: ‘Who, Me, Lord?’ He tried to weasel out of God’s call! A bit like: ‘Lord, here am I, send my sister!’

God is calling us out of our comfort zone, he wants us to leave the familiar behind us, he wants us to move out and move on, he wants us to take a risk – you see, the Lord loves to lead his people in places where they have never been before. He calls us to go beyond the boundaries of our safety net ... without excuse!

There aren’t nearly enough crutches in the world for all the lame excuses!

Abraham, old. Leah, unattractive. Moses, stuttered. Gideon, poor. Rahab, immoral. David, an affair and all kinds of family problems. Elijah, suicidal. Jeremiah, depressed. Naomi, widowed. John the Baptist, eccentric. Peter, impulsive. Martha, worried a lot. The Samaritan woman, several failed marriages. Zacchaeus, unpopular. Thomas, doubts. Paul, poor health. Timothy, hyper-sensitive.

Quite a list! A bunch of misfits, but God used each of them in his service. That’s where God excels. He makes us a channel of blessing.

So, when God calls ... we follow ... no excuses!