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No doubt it was a bizarre sight – the bush burning, but not consumed from the fire. And when God called Moses he said the same thing Abraham said to God in Genesis 22, “Here I am!” This is the same thing the prophet Isaiah said in Isaiah 6 when the voice of the Lord said, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Of course, Isaiah followed up his “Here I am!” with a “Send me!” This was not the case for Moses, but we’re pushing ahead of the story too quickly.
In this encounter with Moses, Yahweh recounted that He knew the affliction of His people and that He knew the time had come to rescue them from the land of Egypt, all to which I’m sure Moses would have, at least silently, said amen.
But then we realize that God doesn’t just have lofty indicatives to speak to Moses, but a specific imperative! The Lord tells Moses that He’s sending him to Pharaoh to accomplish His purposes (cf. Exodus 3:10). This doesn’t sit well with Moses, and he offers God four excuses.
The first is feigned humility — “Who am I that I should go?” (cf. Exodus 3:11). The second is that he doesn’t know God’s name (cf. Exodus 3:13). The third is that the people won’t listen to him (cf. Exodus 4:1). And finally, Moses says he is slow of speech and tongue (cf. Exodus 4:10).
In response to each excuse, Yahweh is full of compassionate mercies. True, His “anger was kindled” (cf. v.14) but instead of wiping Moses off the face of the planet, He shows Him grace, in essence “arguing” with him in order to convince him that he will in fact go and achieve this mission that God has for him and His people.
Please, Not Me
I said Moses gave four excuses and outlined those above. But there is a fifth reply Moses gives to God found in Exodus 4:13 — “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.”
Philip Ryken comments,
This fifth and final objection exposed what was underneath all of Moses’ excuses: a fundamental unwillingness to obey. The real issue was not that he lacked the stature to persuade Pharaoh, or that he was ignorant of God’s name, or that the Israelites would not believe him, or that he was a poor public speaker. God had answered all of those objections. The real issue was that Moses refused to trust and obey.
We could analyze all the reasons Moses had for not obeying the Lord, but at the end of the day, the fact is that he did not want to go. And it’s not that he didn’t want Israel to be rescued! He just wanted God to use someone else. Please send…someone else!
This reminds us of Esther who simultaneously did not want the Jews to be destroyed while also being hesitant to approach the king. But as we know both Esther and Moses did go with the resolve of “If I perish, I perish.” Both were people of faith and were convinced in the end that the reproach of Christ is greater than any worldly treasures or accolades.
Such a Time as This
And this brings us closer (but not quite!) to the point of today’s post. What a time to be alive right? I’m an 80s kid, so the first decade I really fully remember is the 90s.
In many ways, those pre-9/11 days were simpler. Internet access was sparse, and where it was it was soooo sloooow. No cell phones. Classic video games that we didn’t realize were classic. A bit less partisanship in American politics. If you missed a TV show, well, you just missed it. Friday night pizza and a trip to the video rental store was awesome. And the music was better. That’s how I remember it anyway.
And there is a part of me that might daydream periodically and say, “Boy, I wish I were back in the 90s.” “I wish I could raise my kids in a pre-social media, pre-iPhone, pre-COVID world.”
But I’m reminded of J.R.R. Tolkien’s great lines in his Lord of the Rings series,
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
I can’t go back to the 90s. Those are not the days Sovereign Wisdom and Love decreed that I should live my 30s in. Providence has graciously given me the 21st century in which to raise my children. I cannot live pre-9/11 or pre-COVID. We must use these days wisely, for they are the only days we have. Our life is a vapor. You may wish that you lived in another age, but you do not.
This is the very time that Providence has so wisely and kindly bestowed upon you! And it is only a vapor. We cannot and must not neglect the preciousness of what we have been given.
And now to the point. Considering the kind providence of God. Considering the chaos of our day. Considering the fear, cowardice, and evangelical capitulation around us. Considering the future of our nation, of your children and grandchildren, of the Christian faith here in our land. Considering all of this in more, my exhortation to you is simply this: do not ask God to send someone else.
Of course, the Lord is not commissioning you like Moses or even Esther. Each of them had a specific role to play in God’s redemptive purposes.
But when it comes to standing for truth, we certainly have the propensity to wrongly think along the same line of Moses and ask the Lord to send another. It’s not that we don’t want to see change! Many of us do want to see Christ-exalting change in our homes, churches, neighborhoods, and country.
It’s just that we rather the Lord not use us. Oh, Lord, please send someone else! It might cost us our friends, finances, or reputation. To be the one to speak the truth to our neighbors and even our nation, might cost us our job, or it might not even be long until it costs us our freedom.
But these are the days God has given us. And have not the last two years at least shown us how paltry our excuses are? Do you think continued compromise with the world will cause the world to somehow like you? No, beloved. Instead, we must trust and obey Him who is worthy of all that we are and all that we have.
Not everyone is called to be a pastor, of course (an office reserved for qualified men). But none of God’s people are called to cowardice since we know the cowardly find their eternal home in the Lake of Fire (cf. Rev. 21:8). So, stand brothers and sisters. Stand upon the Truth. And don’t just stand there. Do something.
We are not those who shrink back. Let us wage the weapons of Christian truth, wielding the sword of the Spirit, as we seek to do battle against the deceptions, lies, and wickedness of this age. And yes, I think there is specific application here for COVID. But that’s certainly not the only appropriate application.
Just remember, these are not the days for someone else. These are your days.
Lead, men. Lead your home, your wife, your children. Support your local church. Be there. Pray for her and her leaders. Younger men, learn from the older men both the skills of life and how to walk humbly with the Lord.
Ladies, reject the stupidity of the gender fluidity of our day. Embrace your womanhood. Care for your home. Help your husband. Rear your children. Older women, pour into the younger and train them in godliness.
These are not the days for someone else! These are our days. Let us share the gospel and live obediently before the King, which entails even standing for the truth in hard seasons. I think applications abound here. But let us encourage one another all the more as we see the Day approaching. Let us stand together for a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Here we are Lord! Not anyone else. Send us! Not someone else.
Indeed, Pastor Allen…for such a time as this..not only for Esther but for us also. May God grant us willing hearts and the courage to stand firm and go forth.