Excuses are wonderful things, aren’t they? They can be used to justify why we did something really stupid (such as “It seemed like a good idea at the time” but to be honest, anything that starts off with “here, hold my beer” is never a good idea at the time). We use excuses when we get into trouble. We use excuses when we’re caught red handed in the act of our own stupidity. We use excuses in a vain attempt to apologize (but are you really apologizing or putting the real blame on the other person?) or in a vain attempt to give reason to why it’s really not our fault to begin with.
Ah, yes, excuses. They’re wonderful things, aren’t they?
Of course, excuses (and bad ones at that) have been used for centuries upon centuries by the average Joe (“It’s my first day”) to leaders and politicians (“I didn’t inhale”). To be honest, over the years I’ve heard so many excuses. I’ve heard excuses to why it’s really not the persons fault that they wound up in juvy. I’ve heard excuses to why it’s someone else’s fault that once again they were fired from their job.
My favorite excuse though comes from the Bible (yep, I’m gettin’ all Biblical here). In the book of Exodus, God uses both Moses and Aaron to speak up against the Pharaoh who was oppressing the people of Israel. They saw the mighty acts of God together. They saw the fact that God led them out of Egypt, parted the Red Sea, and brought them safely to Mt. Sinai.
And so, while Moses is up on top of the mountain conversing with God, the people of Israel are at the base looking up. All they see is clouds and fire and booming. Scary stuff. They too saw the mighty works of God and how he delivered them. But they had a hard time trusting in a God they couldn’t see, even if it was just a representation of Him. Even back then seeing was believing (kinda).
It’d been about 40 days since Moses went up the mountain. He hadn’t posted on Facebook or tweeted during that whole time. He hadn’t texted Aaron to let him know all was cool and that he was handling the situation. The people wanted something because they were afraid. So they asked Aaron, the priest, the one who had been with Moses and saw God at work, to make for them an idol, a depiction of a god, that they might worship it while Moses is up with God on the mountain. Simple enough. They wanted to do what Moses was doing. Imitation is the greatest form of flattery, right?
Aaron had everyone gather up god, smelt it, and formed it into a golden calf, a good sign of virility and strength. A good depiction of a mighty god. And they he declared that they were to have a festival to the LORD (he uses all capitals here in the English translation because he’s using God’s real name in the Hebrew, but I digress). They have a huge kegger frat party in celebrating God with the golden calf as his stand in.
Moses comes down. He’s ticked. Aaron shoulda known better. It’s like leaving your kids at home while you go out for the night and come back early to find out they had a huge party (yes, stereotypical, I know, but when I was in high school and college it happened).
And then Aaron gave the best excuse ever:
“Don’t be angry with me…you know how prone these people are to evil…they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!” Exodus 32:22, 24
Excuse part 1: Don’t hate the player, hate the game. It’s the people’s fault they’re always messing up.
Excuse part 2: Dude, I have no clue how this happened at all. I tossed in the gold and “bam!” this calf appeared. It’s like all magical and stuff. No clue how that happened.
It’s like “You mean you accidentally deleted my number from your cell? You accidentally selected my name, accidentally hit edit, then accidentally selected delete, and then accidentally selected “yes” when it asked you if you were sure? No prob, happens all the time.
Uhm…no. It’d don’t work like that. That took a lot of work and intentionality to do and pull off.
We make excuses like that all the time.
Worse yet, we make excuses to God. We try to pull the wool over the eyes of the maker of heaven and earth. We try to tell God why we’re not doing as he called us to do through Jesus. We make excuses on why we’re not willing to serve him, not willing to be his hands and feet, not willing to tell others about who Jesus is and the good news of the coming kingdom of God.
Oh, we’re good at excuses. I know I am. And excuses are used to explain why we’re not doing what we’re supposed to do.
My dad has this saying that ticks me off but it’s so true “You’ll do it when you stop saying you will.” What aren’t you doing for Jesus that you know you should? Stop it and just do it.
Don’t let excuses get in your way today. Instead, see how you can step forward in faith and do what God is calling you to do.