Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites our of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11)
Moses had spent forty years tending sheep on the back side of the desert; now God was ready to use him to deliver the people of Israel from their bondage in Egypt. Moses started well. When God called to him from the burning bush, Moses responded willingly, “Here I am” (Exodus 3:4). But as soon as God revealed His plan to use Moses as the divine deliverer of His people, Moses began to exchange God’s use for his excuse. Let’s take a closer look, and I promise you will be as comforted today as you are challenged to answer whatever call God has placed on your life.
When Moses asked, “Who am I . . . ?” he was acknowledging the truth that he was not qualified to carry out God’s call to do anything, at least from his perspective. Forty years earlier, he had killed an Egyptian slave master who was beating a Hebrew slave. When it becamse known that Moses was a murderer, he fled Egypt and spent the next forty years as a shepherd in Midian. We can only imagine that in the intensity and intimacy of his encounter with God in the burning bush — God the Lord, who instructed Moses to take off his sandals because he was standing on holy ground — that Moses remembered just how sinful he truly was. He had lost his temper and committed murder, supposing that the people of Israel would recognize him as the great deliverer of their nation (Acts 7:25).
But here is the comfort for you and me . . . and also the challenge. To be sure, God knew who Moses was. God knew that Moses had tried, in his own strength, to free his countrymen from slavery in Egypt. Moses had gone about things in the wrong way: he had trusted in his own strength rather than the strength of the Almighty. And Moses was under no illusions about how sinful he was; he had committed murder, killing one who was made in the image of God, the most heinous act imaginable. Yet here was God, calling Moses the murderer into His service to deliver His people out of their bondage in Egypt!
This is one of the greatest comforts we find throughout sacred Scripture: God sees past our past, all the way to our current potential as an instrument of usefulness in His mighty right hand. This was true for Moses, and the same is true for me and you.
Have you ever wondered why God chooses to use such messed up people in His service? It’s because we are all He has to work with! We are all messed up. We are all sinners with a past that would embarass us terribly if those closest to us knew what God knows about us. And yet, in His magnificent mercy, God raises us out of the pit of our sinful past and into His promised plan and purpose for our lives. And that is why God refused to accept Moses’ excuse that he was not good enough to answer God’s call. Moses was absolutely right to believe that he was not good enough in his own strength, but in the strength of the Almighty he was more than good enough; he was God’s ordained instrument of usefulness.
By the way, if you continue reading in Exodus, you’ll see that Moses made a few more excuses, and God simply moved Moses from excuse to use, and that is exactly what God wants to do in each of our lives.
Does that knowledge comfort you? Here is the challenge: Have you answered God’s call in your life? Remember, God knows everything about your past, and he still wants to use you in the present for His glory and your ultimate good. So when you sense His call, don’t object “Who am I?” Say “Here am I!”
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!