By Ben W. Curtis
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Tracy City
“God will never give you more than you can handle.” These words are often spoken to suffering believers, but they are misguided at best, and at worst, just plain wrong. If we could speak with Moses about the events in Exodus, I believe he would agree that on many occasions, God gave both he and Israel “more than they could handle.” God performed signs and wonders to demonstrate that He keeps His promises and saves His people who cry out to Him. But before He can deliver Israel from their slavery in Egypt, the Lord must first begin to deliver Moses from his fear and unbelief.
Moses spent 40 years of his life in an Egyptian palace and another 40 years exiled in the land of Midian (Acts 7:20-29). After this long season of preparation, God met Moses in the desert and revealed Himself as a consuming fire (Genesis 15:17; Deuteronomy 4:24; Acts 22:6-11). Even more miraculous than a burning bush which isn’t consumed, is the fact that Moses himself was not consumed by the glory, beauty, and holiness of God. God’s character causes Him to be both transcendent and imminent. He dwells in unapproachable light but is not far from each of us (1 Timothy 6:16; Acts 17:27). When he “sees” his people’s afflictions and “knows” their suffering, He is moved to action (Exodus 3:7; Exodus 2:25). God has purposed to “come down to deliver” Israel from their slavery and “bring them” into a good land, fulfilling the promise that He made to Abraham in Genesis 15:18-21 (Exodus 3:6).
In Exodus 3:10-14, God merely intends for Moses to be His representative to Pharaoh. But Moses misses the point entirely because he is focused on his own ability (v. 11). When Moses asks, “Who am I?,”God ignores his question and continues: “But I will be with you …” It’s as if God is saying, “You’re right. You are a nobody. You can’t deliver the people. You’ve already proven that from your previous failed attempt (Exodus 2:11-15). But that doesn’t matter because I am sending you to Pharaoh and I will be with you.” In verse 13, Moses’s next question reveals more doubt in his heart. This time he asks God, “Who are you?” Many of our doubts arise from the failure to understand God’s awesome nature and power. When He is small in our minds, our insufficiencies seem large. But when we understand that God is the great “I Am,” we recognize that our sufficiency is in Him.
After God answers all of Moses’ objections, how can he still say, “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else”? Like many of us, Moses had already made up his mind that he was not the man for the job. Don’t miss the grace of God that’s so evident in this passage! Even though God was angry with Moses for his persistent unbelief, God countered his doubts with a merciful provision (Exodus 4:13-16). Before this conversation even took place, God had already sent his brother Aaron. Like Moses, doubts are going to continue to arise in our hearts and minds throughout life: “Can I trust God? Can I believe His Word?” When God gives us more than we can handle, we are faced with a decision: “Am I going to trust in myself, my wisdom, and my resources? Or am I going to depend on the One who is more than able, the great “I AM”?