Then the LORD’S anger burned against Moses and he said, “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and his heart will be glad when he sees you. You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do (Exodus 4:14,15).
We know the slogan. We have seen it on shirts and banners. It’s meant to inspire us. It is intended to make us throw away our excuses. It tells us: “Just do it!”
It’s not a new command. The Lord God could have used that phrase when he called up Moses to active duty.
He had just explained to Moses that he was about to activate his plan to rescue Israel from slavery in Egypt. His command was clear: “So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt” (Exodus 3:10).
The command was answered with excuses: “Who am I?” “What if they do not believe me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you?” “I am slow of speech and tongue.”
Finally, Moses simply said, “O Lord, please send someone else to do it.” (Exodus 3:11-4:13). That’s when the omnipotent God could have shouted at him: “Just do it!” and threatened to strike him down with fire from heaven if he did not.
He was angry. But his anger is always under control. He recognized that Moses was tempted to be a “draft dodger.” He had an answer for that temptation. It is written: “And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (I Corinthians 10:13).
God provided Moses a way out. He provided him with his brother, Aaron—and divine help for both of them.
No more excuses.
But what an amazing solution! The brothers had not seen one another for at least 40 years. They had grown up in different worlds. Moses was raised as royalty. Aaron grew up as a slave. Now, an 80-year-old Moses, stripped of his royalty and scratching out a living as a herder of sheep in a desolate place, is called to do the seemingly impossible. “I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”
Quite a promotion! But it seems like a futile, perhaps suicide, mission. And his second-in-command is a senior-citizen slave? And we thought God asked us to carry out tough assignments at times! Maybe we are still facing some of those tough ones. An old hymn carries the words, “With the Lord begin thy task.” That’s good advice. It was good for Moses. It’s good for us.
We don’t always get to choose the tasks assigned to us. Sometimes, they come down through a chain-of-command. Sometimes they are doctor’s orders. Sometimes they are responsibilities for loved ones.
It isn’t always easy to be an officer or a parent, or a nation’s protector. Most likely, we come across tasks we do not want to do, and at times, tasks that we feel we cannot do. Sometimes, there are expectations we doubt we can measure up to. One of the most difficult is living our lives the way God wants us to. Just ask Moses.
Then remember the rest of his story as he led Israel for 40 years until they were ready to march into the Promised Land.
Jesus had once said that it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to be saved. It prompted the disciples to ask, “Who, then, can be saved?”
His answer stands for all time: “With man, this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God” (Mark 10:27).
“All things are possible with God.”
Begin the God-given task with God by your side. Then, “Just do it.”
We remember the words of the hymn:
“With the Lord begin your task; Jesus will direct it. For His aid and counsel ask; Jesus will perfect it. Every morn with Jesus rise, and when day is ended, In His name then close your eyes;
Be to Him commended.” Amen.
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military