Moses grew up in Egypt as the adopted son of the daughter of Pharaoh himself. He was royal by adoption, privileged in his childhood, educated, cultured, and trained for political leadership in the home of the most powerful man in the world at the time. But he was raised by his birth mother by a divine act of grace, so he knew all along he was really a Jew.
When Moses hit age 40, he made a defining decision to repudiate his Egyptian privileges to “suffer affliction with the people of God rather than enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.” (Heb. 11) He decided to respond to the inner burden of his heart for his own nation of oppressed people. Good decision. Bad timing and miscalculations followed.
Moses saw one of his Jewish brothers being beaten by an Egyptian, so he slew the slave-driver and buried him in the sand. In that moment, perhaps Moses felt that he was, in some respect, God’s gift to the Jewish people. He would deliver them!
The problem is, they didn’t respond so well to Moses. They rejected him, ridiculed him, and ratted him out to Pharaoh. Moses had to run and spent the next forty years of his life tending flocks of sheep in the deserts of Midian. He was ready, but God wasn’t.
Fast-forward to the ripe old age of 80 when God is finally ready to begin using Moses according to plan. You’ve probably heard the story – Moses encounters God in the form of a burning bush that isn’t consumed by its flames. God calls him to the great task of going back to Egypt to lead the nation of Israel home to the promised land.
Then come the excuses…
They rejected me before…
I’m not a persuasive speaker…
They won’t believe me…
Lord, just send someone else, please?
Sound like you at all? I’ve identified with Moses plenty of times. God gave Moses the perfect answers, but first let me tell you what the answer is not. It’s not the humanistic, self-esteem, pep talk theology of our current culture. We hand a ribbon to everyone whether they compete or not in the name of self-esteem and wonder where all the self-starters and driven achievers have gone.
God’s answer to our lack of self-worth comes in these essential truths to remember…
“I made you.”
When Moses said, “but I can’t speak well,” God replied, “Who made your mouth?” So instead of crying about not having natural abilities, realize that your nature is God-inspired.
“I called you.”
What keeps me going as a Pastor isn’t the praise of people, especially in times when complaints outweight the praise. It’s the calling of God. I preach because God has called me. I lead and make tough decisions because He has called me to do so.
Here’s a truth that’s hard but necessary to hear – confidence follows obedience to God’s call. We ask for confidence to be obedient, but God gives confidence in response to our willing obedience to His calling.
The most significant thing God did for Moses that day was to reveal His identity as the self-sufficient One, as well as the present-tense God. I am is a present-tense statement. You were rejected before, but that’s in the past. You’ve been hurt before, but that was yesterday, and God is calling you today to obey His call.
How do you exchange worthlessness for confidence? You rest in the power of God. He’s real. He has called. And if He has called, He will most certainly see you through. And the only approval that really counts is His.