“But I…,” But God

Then the LORD said, ‘The cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have seen [their] oppression. Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.’ But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?’ He said, ‘But I will be with you…’  Then Moses said to God, ‘If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, “The God of your fathers has sent me to you,” and they ask me, “What is his name?” what shall I say to them?’ God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM…’ Then Moses answered, ‘But behold, they will not believe me or listen to my voice, for they will say, “The LORD did not appear to you.”‘ The LORD said to him, ‘What is that in your hand?’ He said, ‘A staff.’ And he said, ‘Throw it on the ground.’ So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent…‘Put out your hand and catch it by the tail’—so he put out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand— that they may believe that the Lord… has appeared to you.’  But Moses said to the LORD, ‘Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.’ Then the LORD said to him, ‘Who has made man’s mouth?… Is it not I, the LORD? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.’ But he said, ‘Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.’” Exodus 3:9-11,13-14; 4:1-5,10-13

There are times we resist God’s call because we choose to look at ourselves instead of Him. Moses is captivated by the burning bush, and upon exploring it, hears God summon him by name, declare where he is standing holy ground, identify Himself, and issue the call to lead Israel from Egyptian slavery. Then Moses seems to forget the supernatural flame and gets tangled up in his “buts,” a stream of excuses not to obey and trust the LORD. He is tripped up by fear and weaknesses, and God addresses every one by miracles and promises of His presence and power. Moses names the covenant LORD Who issued the call, then addresses Him as Lord (Adonai, Master); his view of the All-Sufficient, Almighty LORD is limited by his own resistance. Moses would, by his refusal, miss out on what Paul experienced, I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.” (1 Corinthians 2:3-4)


In the flesh, we can focus on the near-term, the stinging pests of our inabilities, the possibility of being criticized or misunderstood or rejected altogether, and fail to look beyond to the Almighty King Who wields the flaming scepter of authority, and wants to be trusted and magnified in His enabling. Would I today decide to release my excuses and train my eyes on Him? Will I choose to relinquish my consternation to His sufficiency and power?

LORD, take all my “buts” and envelop them in “but God.” Your grace is greater than my fears and distrust, Your strength perfected in my weakness. At every bidding, may I wholeheartedly respond, “Here am I, send me!” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10; Isaiah 6:8)


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