Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 20 Number 9 September 2018
Page 3

Moses’ Excuses, God’s Answers

Gary HamptonGod told Moses He wanted to send him to deliver His people. He responded, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” God took away the excuse by promising to be with him. Anyone is someone with Almighty God on his side (Exodus 3:9-12; Romans 8:31).

Moses asked who he should say had sent him. God said to say, “I Am has sent me,” or the One who exists by His Own power (Exodus 3:13-14; Revelation 1:4)! Moses was to tell the Israelite elders that God had seen their suffering, would deliver them and take them to the promised land. Moses and the elders were to ask Pharaoh to let them go three days’ journey into the wilderness to worship their God. He foretold that Pharaoh would not let them go, even by a powerful hand. The Almighty would send them out with abundance as if Egypt had been plundered (Exodus 3:13-22; Genesis 15:14)!

Moses said the people would not believe him. God gave him three miracles designed to convince the elders that he was God’s chosen messenger. His rod would become a serpent and turn back into a rod. His hand would be leprous and then whole again. Water from the river would turn to blood when poured out on the ground (Exodus 4:1-9).

Moses next said he was not an eloquent public speaker, either before God began speaking or at that very moment. This excuse borders on being an accusation against God. It is tacitly false, as Deuteronomy demonstrates. God did not remedy this supposed problem, but He said He had made man’s mouth and could strengthen Moses (Exodus 4:10-12).

Moses finally asked God to send anyone but him. God was angry because He had promised all necessary aid. He gave to Moses his brother Aaron as his mouthpiece. The ultimate power would come from God as He gave Moses the words to speak (Exodus 4:13-17).

The futility of making excuses to God is evident. He made us. He knows us. He will not ask us to do anything we are unable to do.

Kindness or Severity

Robert Johnson

Robert JohnsonThere are those who believe that the God of the Old Testament must be different from the God of the New Testament. They reason this because it seems to them the God of the Old Testament is vengeful as well as willing to quickly condemn and slaughter thousands of people. The God revealed in the New Testament, however, is perceived to be loving, caring, and a God of love and mercy. Of course, the truth is that God is merciful in both Old and New Testaments, as well as a God who recompenses sin in both Old and New Testaments.

For example, one of my favorite passages from the Old Testament reflects this. “The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them, The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them” (Numbers 6:22-27). God is not breathing fire and brimstone here, but wanting Israel to know He chose them, He loves them and He desires to bless them as His people. Even those times when it seems He was acting harshly against them, He was disciplining them to encourage them to leave sin behind, along with the judgment it brings. Even in all this, God found no joy in the condemnation sin brings. “Say to them, ‘As I live,’ declares the Lord GOD, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?‘” (Ezekiel 33:11).

Certainly, we are familiar with the passages in the New Testament that speak of God’s love, grace and mercy. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-6). Sin, however, is still hated by God, and those who reject Him to make sin a lifestyle will have to deal with its consequences. “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:36). “There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek” (Romans 2:9).

So, how do we reconcile this conundrum some have created about the nature of God? The answer lies not with God, but with us. If we humble ourselves before Him, and submit to His will, we will experience His love and kindness, His mercy and grace, His help and strength, and ultimately His salvation. If we reject His good will, then there is condemnation and punishment; it is ours to choose. You see, God revealed the depth of His love and the extent He loves us by sending His Son to die for our sins. It is the greatest expression of love the world will ever know. How precious a gift Jesus is to us! Yet, if we reject this gift, if we snub Christ, we reject the only avenue by which God’s love is available (Romans 8:39). In this case, what else is available other than God’s judgment? God doesn’t desire any of us to perish, but He does call us to repent, to abandon sin and to submit to His good will instead (2 Peter 3:9).

Yes, whether one experiences God’s love or judgment is one’s own choice. Some say such isn’t fair. It’s infinitely fair, as everyone who chooses God finds life, and everyone who chooses sin finds judgment. There is no partiality with God (Romans 2:11). We shouldn’t blame God for our poor choices, but we should praise Him for His indescribable gift. Which do you choose? Your choice determines how God responds. “Therefore, consider God’s kindness and severity: severity toward those who have fallen but God’s kindness toward you—if you remain in His kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off” (Romans 11:22).

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