Exodus 4:1-16

Every person, even the most self-confident person, at some point in their lives will experience feelings of insecurity. Insecurity is defined as lacking self-confidence or self-doubt. Insecurity is characterized by the belief we either do not have what it takes or we are lacking the ability to accomplish tasks that confront us or we are called upon to handle.

God called Moses and appointed him to be the one whom God used to deliver the children of Israel from the house of bondage. Moses raised a litany of objections and excuses why he is not the right person for the job. God, on the other hand, would have none of it. It would be nice if God asked us first whether or not we would like to do something before He assigns us to do it. However, God knows full well that if He asked us or left the choice up to us in most cases we would only do those things we really wanted to do or those things that offer the least amount of discomfort. In essence, God realizes if He leaves the choice up to us we would not do it.

When we look behind Moses’ objections we discover that the root of insecurity is a self issue and not a God issue. Moses was fine going to work every day and spending time with his family and friends, but the moment God told him He had a job for him that required Moses to be front and center, to step outside his comfort zone that is when the problems began. There are some people who openly admit they are behind the scenes kind of people. They are not interested in being out in front or taking a leading role. I can truly identify with these feelings and sentiments. No one really likes to be pushed outside of his or her comfort zone. This is really the heart of the matter – doing things that make us feel uncomfortable. Most of us are willing to take baby steps and resistant to the idea of being thrust into situations that we are not used to being in; however, when God calls us out and gives us an assignment we need to understand it is no longer about us, it is about God and ultimately, God knows better than we do what we can and cannot do. Another thought here is in some cases if we are not pushed we probably will not go.

Moses’ objections highlight two areas of our make up that can be problematic and are root causes of problems with insecurity.

a) Self-Esteem – How we feel about ourselves
b) Self-Concept – How we see ourselves in relationship to others and the world around us

These two go together. Self-esteem is usually viewed in terms of high or low. Self-concept, by contrast, is viewed in terms of good and poor. People who have high self-esteem generally feel good about themselves and believe they possess the resources to accomplish both simple and challenging tasks. They do not become easily discouraged when they fail to accomplish a task no matter how many attempts it make take them. They keep at it because they believe they can do it.

Moses was on the other end of the spectrum. He suffered from low self-esteem coupled with a poor self-concept. Moses did not believe he had what it would take to accomplish the job. He saw himself as inadequate and lacking. He believed that there were more capable people who would do a better job then he would.

For Moses the seeds of insecurity were sown at an earlier point in his life. He was not born insecure no one is born insecure. Like Moses, for people who struggle with feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt, something happened somewhere along the way that contributed to the current feelings of insecurity. So, what happened? Moses was born a Hebrew, but he was raised an Egyptian. He grew up and was educated in the house of Pharaoh. One day he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew and he killed the Egyptian. The next day a Hebrew brought to Moses’ attention what he had witnessed and Moses fled Egypt because someone had found out what he had done. He was found out. Imagine that you have believed some thing about yourself to be true and one day you discover it is not true. I would suspect the revelation that you are not who you thought you were or were led to believe is a traumatic experience, a shock to the system. All of the self-confidence you had turns to self-doubt.

In the case of Moses, the incident in Egypt changed the course of his life:

1. It brought Moses face to face with the reality that up to that point and time his life was a lie. He discovered that day he was not whom he thought he was or was led to believe.
2. Rather than deal with a situation that was obviously uncomfortable, Moses chose to run and hide.

As we explore how the feelings of insecurity formed and developed in Moses, we gain insight into how insecurity works in our own lives and in the lives of others around us.

a) Feelings of insecurity are usually born as a result of the discovery that we are not at together as we had previously thought and the realization that we are entering a place outside of our comfort zone.
b) Worry or being overly concerned with what other people will think of us or say about us feeds and fuels feelings of insecurity and inadequacy.
c) A failure to deal with situations and things that cause us to become uncomfortable will keep us on the run and rob us from experiencing much of the joy that life has to offer. Moses spent a combined 80 years of his life in the desert, a dry and barren place.

We can see that insecurity left unchecked has the ability to cause our lives to be dominated by self-doubt, rob us of our joy and steal years of productivity from us.

The question then is how do we overcome insecurity. As we listen to the dialogue between God and Moses, for every objection Moses raises God counters. God teaches Moses and us that feelings of insecurity, inadequacy and self-doubt must be challenged.

Moses’ first objection is “What if?” God counters with “So what.” Actually, God responds to Moses’ question with a question. God asks Moses “What is in you hand?” Think about that for a moment. While Moses is fixated and worried about the future and what may or may not happen, God redirects his focus and bring him back to the present. It seems to me that the point God is making to Moses and us is while we cannot control what other people say and think about us, we can do something with what we currently possess. Another way to look at this is imagine God asking us what do you currently possess. Give up? In our hands we possess the power and the ability to make things happen, to build and create. In our hands we have God given power and ability that no one can take from us and only we can minimize our God given power and ability. What others may say or think has no bearing on the power to do and change that God has given to each of us. I can remember times in my life when people told me to my face that I could not accomplish certain things. To their surprise, once I used what I possessed my God given ability and power I did it. Another point for consideration is God told Moses, look you use what you possess what I have given you and I will empower you. In other words, when we use what we possess it opens the door for God to step in and empower us. I can see God shaking His head after Moses voiced his first objection. Picture God responding, Moses, Moses, you are missing the point. I am the one who is sending you, you are not sending yourself. I am the one who will cause you to be successful in all that you do. Therefore, why are you worried about what other people might say, think or do. It really does not matter what other’s say or how they feel. There will always be people who disagree with you, not take you seriously, criticize you or dismiss you. So what! Rather then focus on what others might say, use the resources I have given you. Your job is not to worry about the impact your work will have on others, but simply to carry out the task at hand. You are responsible for the work and I (God) am responsible for the results.

Moses’ second objection was “I have never been” and “I am not now.” In other words, I do not see how I can do when I do not possess. To put it another way, this task you are calling me to do has never been my strength and it has not all of a sudden become my strength. God responded by saying, I will help you. I can only imagine God’s patience with Moses is running thin as God points out to Moses look stop focusing on what you think you cannot do and just do it. The truth is, we really do not know what we can accomplish until we at least make an effort. A secondary point here is that if we approach all tasks and challenges from the perspective that God possesses infinitely more resources than we do and will empower us for the task, we will notice almost instantly a weight will be lifted from our shoulders. We will also notice that the pressure shifts from us to God. It is important to keep in mind anything that God calls us to or puts before us is a matter of faith and trust. The real question is how much do we trust God and are we willing to take God at His word. If God has promised to help us and teach us, what more can we say except, OK God, I will do it.

Moses was truly a tough nut to crack. Even with the provisions of God and the promises of God it still was not enough to persuade Moses. In Moses’ third objection he finally gets honest, Please send someone else. Lord, do not make me face my greatest fears and anxieties. Lord, do not make me relive the trauma again by facing these people who discovered I was not whom I said I was or as together as they thought I was. God responded by saying, Be willing to be uncomfortable. I believe God was underscoring the point that everything we do today is preparation for what we will face tomorrow. The discomfort and uncomfortable situations we allow ourselves to experience today will sow the seeds for growth and productivity that we will reap tomorrow. The reality is that we will never grow and become all that God wants us to become or experience all that God has for us unless we are willing to be uncomfortable. I would also encourage us to consider what kind of witness and testimony are we giving to our children, spouses and others if we are unwilling to challenge ourselves and face challenges. How can we possibly encourage others to step out in faith if we are not prepared to step out in faith? Furthermore, what does this say about our faith, trust and reliance on God?

God says, OK, since you do not want to go alone, I will send someone with you.

Here we learn a couple of things about God:

a) God will not take no for an answer
b) Our unwillingness will compel God to turn to someone else to fulfill God’s purpose
c) Failure to be obedient to the things God calls us to do or puts before us will cause us to forfeit the blessings God has for us and someone else will reap them
d) While God will love us regardless, when we are resistant to doing God’s work we lose out on experiencing a closeness with God which can only be experienced by being compliant and willing to do what God puts before us

The crux of Moses’ resistance was insecurity. Moses did not believe he was adequate and capable of accomplishing the task God put before him. Even with God’s assurances and provisions. The truth is Moses was right by himself he was not capable of completing the task God put before him. However, God teaches us we overcome insecurity by changing what we think, feel and believe about ourselves. We must take the focus off of what we believe we cannot do and put our total trust and faith in God to accomplish all things. The apostle Paul reminds us “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

April 11, 2010

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