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Moses Answered And Said, "But..."

We hesitate to speak ill of Moses, a man of whom the Holy Spirit records great praise: "Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth". "My servant Moses ... is faithful in all Mine house: with Him will I speak mouth to mouth ... wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant, against Moses?" (Num. 12:3-8). Yet the Spirit of God records some low points in the great man's career, things written aforetime for our learning. The Exodus 4 account of that great day on the far side of Sinai was one of them. Moses had been called into the presence of God-who revealed Himself as Jehovah, the I AM. He had been given one of the greatest commissions ever entrusted to man, to bring release to men and women in bondage and to lead them on to become the people of God. "And Moses answered and said, 'But...'

A certain reticence in acceptance of divine recognition for higher service is a seemly thing, often in keeping with the character of the men God chooses for His great work. Gideon's appreciation of his family's position in Manasseh and his own place within his father's house was the kind of humility that helped to make him an illustration of a greater Saviour. Jeremiah's awareness of his own lack of development and fitness for his great service on behalf of God's people made him more reliant upon the One who said, "I am with thee." In neither case, however, nor in any case, is there room for argument against the call of God; no room for "But".

Peter made a similar mistake on that housetop in sunny Joppa. As in his vision the great sheet descended, and all manner of fourfooted beasts and creeping things and birds were offered for him to kill and eat, he said, "Not so, Lord." His response to the command bespoke a life of exemplary dedication to the laws of God. "I have never eaten anything that is common and unclean". The three-fold lowering of the sheet was to remind Peter of another refusal when on a dark night he had thrice refused to acknowledge his Lord. With that still full in his memory, though forgiven, he had been ashamed to fully declare his love as the Lord persisted with the question, "Lovest thou me ...?" Yet all ~ are called to divine service must learn that past error must not rob God of present service. There is no place for argument against Him, no "Not so" if there is to be a full acknowledgement of His Lordship. "Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46).

If anyone is called to divine service, whether through revelation of the Lord's will through His Word, or through recognition by his brethren, there may well be a feeling of unworthiness and insufficiency, but there should never be a "But" or "Not so". In some cases there may even be a hidden impediment in the life, some action or habit not brought under captivity to the obedience of Christ. Yet we all, even in fruitbearing, need cleansing, that we may bear more fruit.

Let us not allow natural reticence or sinful impediment to deter our service for the Master, for He has called us into His presence, knowing all our secrets and fears. He has revealed Himself to us, and desires to reveal Himself in us. He has given us the Great Commission to lead men out of bondage and to minister to them till they attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a full-grown man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. Christ has pledged Himself to be with us. Let us learn this lesson from the life of Moses, that we answer not with the "but" of disagreement, but with Paul's willingness on the road to Damascus, "What shall I do, Lord?" (Acts 22:10).