Making Excuses: The Moses Diagnosis, Post #46

One of my wise supervisors years ago told our non-profit organization’s staff meeting that when we met adversity, we shouldn’t make excuses. That we should instead accept responsibility. Even after Sept. 11, 2001, when the world was in an uproar and the economy was in limbo, we tried not to make excuses. We worked hard to meet our fundraising goals in an adverse climate.

I have remembered that sage advice ever since and thought more about its practical application. In essence, make solutions, not excuses.  It’s not easy to do, though. I’ll give you an example.

Moses is one of my favorite people in the Bible. He was prophet, lawgiver, and dynamic, influential leader.  He was tending sheep with his father-in-law Jethro  when he looked over and saw this ususual flaming bush that would not burn up.

“When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, ‘Moses! Moses!’ And Moses said, ‘Here I am.”  (Exodus 3:4 NIV84)

So God talks with Moses and tells him to bring His people out of Egypt. What do you think Moses said after the dynamite,  pyrotechnic bush display in the sheep field?

Moses starts making excuses!  He asks God basically “why me?”  After God reassures Moses that He will be right there with him, Moses asks, “Who do I say sent me?”– another question of doubt and insecurity.

“God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’ This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” (Exodus 3:14 NIV84).

By this time God probably assumes that Moses is feeling better about his assignment, so God gives him more training on exactly what to say to the Israelites. Nope, Moses isn’t done with his excuses. Moses’ doubting questions, like “What if they don’t believe me?” turn into plain excuses. Here comes my favorite.

“Moses said to the Lord, ‘O 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.’ The Lord said to him, ‘Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.’ But Moses said, ‘O Lord, please send someone else to do it.’

“Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses and He said, ‘What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well…I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do.’” (Exodus 4:10-14a, 15b NIV84).

Whew. Moses actually had the audacity to tell God to send someone else.  Moses was the king of excuses. Now when I find myself making excuses for something, even without verbalizing it, I call it the “Moses Diagnosis,” and I try to shift toward making solutions.

Moses, of course,  did accept God’s assignments over and over, from leading the Hebrew people out of Egypt to the plains of Moab, across from Canaan; to delivering the 10 Commandments to the people from Mount Sinai; to raising the resources–too many resources– for the Tabernacle.  He was used powerfully by God throughout the Bible as one of the greatest prophets and leaders.

He was close friends with God, which is so sweet. “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.” (Exodus 33:11a NIV84).

And toward the end of Moses’ life, it was said of him, “And so Moses finished the work.” (Exodus 40:33b NIV84).

Wow. I so want that—both for the Lord to speak with me as a friend AND for me to finish the work, the assignment laid out for me. What about you?  May it be so in us that we accept and complete our God-given assignments with integrity.

God can use any of us to do His work, even with our insecurities. God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.

Let’s work hard to make solutions, not excuses.


–For what are you making excuses in your life?

–Are you thinking someone else will do the assignment that is given only for you to accomplish?

–Please comment below on what you are thinking/feeling after reading this post on “Making Excuses: The Moses Diagnosis.”


–“May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands.” (Prayer of Moses, Psalm 90:17 NIV84).

–“After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he [Jesus] was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.” (Matthew 17:1-3 NIV84).


–Let’s all work hard to Make Solutions, Not Excuses.

–If you aren’t part of a Bible-based church, I encourage you to go on Sunday.

–Please open your Bible and feel encouragement from it daily.

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  1. very helpful

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