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Inside: Moses questioned his calling from the Lord five times. Each of those times provides us with a framework to look at our lives and ask ourselves why we aren’t living out what we’ve been called to do. Which of these fives ways resonate with you? What’s holding you back from your God-given calling in life?
Note: This article is part of a series, “Why You Aren’t Living Out Your Calling.” While many consider “calling” and “purpose” to be the same, I think there’s a distinction for the Christian. Each of us has the same purpose: to love and glorify God. However, since we’ve all been gifted with different spiritual gifts at different times (1 Corinthians 12), we all have our own calling from the Lord.
Moses Gave 5 Excuses as to Why He Couldn’t Live Out His Calling
When God called Moses from the burning bush to lead his people out of slavery, Moses resisted five times.
Do you see yourself thinking any of these objections to what God has called you to do? If so, God’s response each time is for you too.
1. Moses questioned his abilities
When God called to Moses from the burning bush and explained what he wanted from Moses, his first objection to his calling was to say, “Who am I?” (Exodus 3:11)
Have you ever felt God nudging on your heart to do something you feel underqualified to do? Has He put a dream in your heart that is above and beyond anything you’ve ever thought of?
God doesn’t keep us in comfortable and easy places for too long. Instead, he’s most concerned with our growth and obedience.
But to look at ourselves and our own accomplishments and deem the assignment beyond our possibilities is not the way to approach your calling.
In response to Moses, God said, “I will be with you.”
God never asked Moses to do anything alone. Instead, he promised Moses he would be with him and promises you today that he will be with you.
Focus on God through your journey, not your weaknesses.
2. Moses questioned his calling
In Exodus 3:14, after God told him he’d be with him through the journey and gave Moses a sign to look for, he questioned God again. He asked, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”
Can you relate? Perhaps you’ve started a Bible study in your church, and while you’re obedient to the calling, you doubt the calling. Was it really God who called me to do this? Maybe I misunderstood. What will other people say about me?
It doesn’t have to be as God-related as a Bible study for us to question our calling. For example, maybe you felt God telling you to quit your job or go back to school. At first, you’re pumped. But then you start to tell other people, and you lose the certainty of your actions.
You think, “was that really God that told me to go back to school when I can’t afford it or was it my own desires or the voices of other people clouding my judgment?”
God responded to Moses’s uncertainty with, “I AM who I AM.”
But shortly after that, in verse 19, God warns Moses that not everyone will believe him. That doesn’t make his calling any less, nor does it yours. Because we always look instead to the one who is I AM.
It’s never really about us or our abilities or what we bring to the table. It’s about God. Instead of looking inside, look up.
3. Moses feared other people’s reactions
After God said he’d be with Moses and gave him a sign, after He reminded Moses who He was, Moses still doubted.
In 4:1, Moses, as a response to God explaining everything that would happen, said, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?”
This time Moses put the opinions of others above his calling. Above his God.
Isn’t this just like us?
We go to church and listen to a sermon, then open up Facebook on the way home. We read how loved and worthy we are in the Bible but stew for days over a negative comment thrown your way. We think God put something on our hearts, but we ask everyone we know their opinion.
While Biblical wisdom from other believers should be sought out before embarking on a new adventure, there’s a difference between Biblical community and polling everyone in your sphere if what you feel lead to do by God is right or wrong.
In response to Moses’s latest objection, it’s interesting God doesn’t give him an explanation in response. God could have brought up that he already told Moses that the elders would listen to him and how it would all play out (Exodus 3:18). Or God could have simply repeated, “I will be with you.”
Instead, God gives Moses 3 miracles he can do in the presence of the Israelites.
So what should be our response when we’re more worried about what others think about our calling versus what God thinks?
You could ask for a sign or three and continue to doubt if God doesn’t answer this prayer. Or you can look back at your own life and remind yourself of when God has performed miracles and been faithful. If you’ve been living more than a decade, then you have stories of God’s faithfulness to you.
4. Moses doubts God
Moses just saw two miracles and is armed with how to perform a third. He knows by now who is sending him and why. Yet Moses can’t take the focus off of himself.
Whether he’s grasping for straws for a way out of this or he doesn’t believe God can do all He says he can, Moses replies in Exodus 4:10 Moses says, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”
God’s response to Moses here is similar to “I AM” in that he reminds Moses who He is, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord?”
Do you ever doubt God can do everything he says he can do? Do you think those amazing stories in the Bible don’t cover your situation? Or maybe you think God doesn’t perform miracles anymore.
God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)
The same God who equipped Moses for his calling is alive in you today through the Holy Spirit.
5. Moses Begs
Out of reasons and persuasion tactics, Moses begs God not to send him for the fifth and final objection.
But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.” (Exodus 4:13)
God has been so patient up to this point. Answering Moses’s objections, sometimes more than once, providing signs and miracles, and ensuring Moses that he would always be with him.
And although it says, “Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses” in Exodus 4:14, I still see God’s goodness towards his servant. God knew Moses would only go kicking and screaming, and so he planned for it.
In the following sentence from God, we read that he’s already called Moses’ brother to come to help him.
“What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and he will be glad to see you. You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do.”
God sent Moses help but did not release him from his calling.
Although it seems like God sent Aaron to do what Moses was scared of and will do all the talking, God said in verse 15 He would help both of them speak.
God knows what we need before we even ask for it. God never asked Moses to his calling alone, and he hasn’t called you to do anything without his presence.
Whatever calling you have from the Lord, rest assured:
- God will be with you.
- The same God that was with Moses is with you today.
- God’s voice and opinion of you is the one that matters.
- God never changes.
- God will equip you along the way.