Sunday, March 9, 2014

Excuses Offered to God

Proverbs 22:13 The lazy man says, “There is a lion outside!  I shall be slain in the streets!”

We tire easily of the excuses of others, but we are pretty good at making them ourselves!

Depending on the character of the person, we are more or less likely to accept excuses.  But God knows our character completely!  What do you think His attitude toward our excuses must be?

Let us examine some excuses that are commonly offered to God….

“My sin is someone else’s fault!”

Genesis 3:12-13  Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”  The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Adam and Eve were given one rule in the Garden of Eden, to not eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.  When God confronted Adam and Eve about their sin, they began playing the “blame game”.  Adam instantly blamed Eve for his own sin, even going as far to blame God Himself when he says, “The woman whom YOU GAVE to be with me…”  God also confronted Eve, who in turn blamed the serpent.

How often do we do the same thing and blame others for our own wrongdoing?

It is vital to understand that we will all be held accountable for our own sins.

Ezekiel 18:20 The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.

Ezekiel 18:30  “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways,” says the Lord God. “Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin.

“Everyone else was doing it!”

How often do we engage in sinful deeds because that is what the crowd is doing?  This “mob mentality” is responsible for countless atrocities throughout history.  Many of the Nazis that worked in concentration camps when tried for war crimes would plead that they were “just following orders.”

Matthew 7:13-14  “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.  Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

We recall the account of the golden calf from the book of Exodus.  While Moses was up on Mt. Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments from God, Aaron was put in charge.  The Israelites grew restless and began to complain amongst themselves and to Aaron.  They wanted Aaron to make a false idol for them to worship in the place of God, Aaron relented and did as the people demanded, and it does not appear that he even attempted to restrain them.  When Moses finally returned from the mountaintop, he was angry to find the chosen people of God worshiping a false god!

Exodus 32:22-24  So Aaron said, “Do not let the anger of my lord become hot. You know the people, that they are set on evil. For they said to me, ‘Make us gods that shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’  And I said to them, ‘Whoever has any gold, let them break it off.’ So they gave it to me, and I cast it into the fire, and this calf came out.”

Aaron didn't accept the responsibility for his own actions in creating the golden calf and chose instead to blame the people for being so wicked, basically saying, “Well, you know how they are…”

A similar situation takes place in the book of Matthew as Jesus is before Pilate.  The Jewish people could not put anyone to death without approval from a Roman authority, and so the people brought Jesus to him, accusing Jesus of blasphemy.  Pilate was in control of Jesus’ fate at this point and could find no fault with Him, but…

Matthew 27:24  When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this just Person.  You see to it.”

Instead of releasing Jesus, who was innocent in his eyes, Pilate turned Him over to the mob to appease them and protect his position of power.

“I just can't..." 

Recall that in the book of Exodus, Moses witnessed the miraculous burning bush and heard the voice of God, telling him that he was chosen to lead the Israelites out of captivity in the land of Egypt.  Moses was reluctant to do what God asked, saying in Exodus 3:11, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”

God assured Moses that He would be with him.  This did not convince Moses and he began offering several excuses to God.  

Exodus 4:1  Then Moses answered and said, “But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you.”

Again, God assures Moses that He would be with him and provided him with the miracle of his rod changing into a snake and his hand changing from leprous to healed by putting it in his tunic. God said that these miracles would prove to the people that Moses was still not convinced.

Exodus 4:10 Then Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”

God once again pointed out that He would be with Moses and would teach him what to say.  But once more, Moses attempted to get out of serving God.

Exodus 4:13 But he said, “O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send.”

By this point God was getting frustrated with Moses and He told him to take his brother Aaron along with him to be his spokesperson (Exodus 4:14-17).  God sent Moses on his way and didn't listen to anymore of his excuses.

It’s amazing (not in a good way) to see the audacity that Moses exhibits toward God through the course of giving Him his excuses for not wanting to serve, even to the point that God gets angry with him!  In spite of all of the excuses Moses offered to God, Moses became the great leader that God saw in him from the beginning.

Are we guilty of the same?  Do we attempt to make excuses for not wanting to serve God?

I hear a lot of excuses from Christians that are reluctant to use their talents for God’s work.  They will say that they are not well versed enough in the Scriptures, or, like Moses, are not eloquent enough to share God’s Word with others (“I just don’t know what to say”)

In times when we want to offer excuses for not serving God, we need to remember, that as Christians, like Moses, we are chosen to do His works!

1 Peter 2:9  But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light

The Bible is full of accounts of people that had various circumstances and handicaps that they could have used as excuses, but instead they chose to serve God, and with His help, they were able to do great things through His will!   I came upon the following post that sums this point up nicely:

The next time you feel like GOD can't use you, just remember...

Noah was a drunk
Abraham was too old
Isaac was a daydreamer
Jacob was a liar
Leah was ugly
Joseph was abused
Moses had a stuttering problem
Gideon was afraid
Samson had long hair and was a womanizer
Rahab was a prostitute
Jeremiah and Timothy were too young
David had an affair and was a murderer
Elijah was suicidal
Isaiah preached naked
Jonah ran from God
Naomi was a widow
Job went bankrupt
John the Baptist ate bugs
Peter denied Christ
The Disciples fell asleep while praying
Martha worried about everything
Mary Magdalene was, well you know…
The Samaritan woman was repeatedly divorced, and "living in sin"
Zaccheus was too small
Paul was too "religious"
Timothy had an ulcer
...AND Lazarus was dead!

...No more excuses now. God can use you to your full potential. 
Besides you aren't the message, you are just the messenger.

2 Corinthians 12:9  And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

It is also important to remember that, just like Moses, we have God on our side.

Philippians 4:13  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  

We must have confidence in ourselves, but most importantly, faith in God!

“I didn't know it was not Your will…”

Jesus is describing a judgment scene in Matthew 7:21-23 - “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

On the day of Judgment, I imagine that there will be countless excuses that Jesus will not accept from those who say that they are His followers in this life, but chose to ignore God’s Word instead of obeying it.  Too many that claim to be Christians allow themselves to be ensnared by false doctrines, false teachers, or just substituting their own will for God’s.

Acts 17:29-31  Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising.  Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”

We have been given the very Word of God which tells us the will of God.  The Bible is sometimes difficult to understand, but I don’t believe that God would give us a set of instructions that are beyond comprehension.  We must study God’s Word to understand His will.

2 Timothy 2:14-16  Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.  But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness.

We must not pick and choose from God’s Word what to obey and what not to.  James 4:17 Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.

“I’ll serve God when I’ve taken care..."

Jesus told a parable in Luke 14:16-24 that dealt with this particular excuse:  Then He said to him, “A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’  But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’  And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.’  Still another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’   So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.’   And the servant said, ‘Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.’  Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.  For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.’”

The guests invited to the supper made excuses for not being able to come, so the master of the house invited anyone who could come!  There is no shortage of lost people in the world, if God’s invitation is ignored, He will invite others!

Luke 9:59-62 Then He said to another, “Follow Me.”  But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”  Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.”  And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.”  But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

This section of verses is difficult to deal with because it seems that Jesus is being insensitive to this man who just wanted to make funeral arrangements.  I don’t think that God intends for us to outright ignore our Earthly obligations, but He does want us to have our priorities in order and wants us to put Spiritual work ahead of Earthly work.  How many times have we not served God because of Earthly things?

The man who wanted to bury his father had a pretty good excuse by our standards, but how many of us have not followed Jesus because we were “too tired” after a long day of work, or we were on vacation?

“I don’t have time for God right now.”

Through the course of his ministry, Paul was at one point brought before the governor Felix, being accused of blasphemy.  In the process of defending himself before Felix, Paul essentially preached the Gospel to him.  Felix seemed to be swayed by Paul’s teaching and kept him around for a while and listened to him preach about Christ.  But in Acts 24:25 we read:  Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, “Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.

Felix put off becoming a Christian because it was inconvenient for him to do so at that time.  That is all the scriptures says of this.  We do not know whether Felix ever called for Paul and obeyed the Word of God or not...


“Excuses are the nails used to build a house of failure.” - Don Wilder

God offered us His Son, what are we offering in return?  Are we offering our best to God?  Or are we just offering excuses?

Today we have studied a multitude of excuses that are commonly offered to God, but I think that the bottom line:  No excuse is sufficient.

I think that some people intentionally choose not to study God’s Word because “ignorance is bliss”, and they might find out that they have to change something about themselves or their actions in order to please God.

But Jesus says in John 15:22: If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.  

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