Telling God “No”

Have you ever told God “no.” Have you known what God wanted you to do and then, for whatever reason, you shied away from simple obedience?

The story of God telling Moses to be his spokesman to Pharaoh is a dramatic example of this possibility. Notice how Moses records a confrontation with God and his will in Ex. 4:10-16,

“‘Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.’ Then the LORD said to him, ‘Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.’ But he said, ‘Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.’ Then the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses and he said, ‘Is there not Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he can speak well. Behold, he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth, and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth and will teach you both what to do. He shall speak for you to the people, and he shall be your mouth, and you shall be as God to him.’”

What a gripping account of the vulnerability of Moses and God’s grace. Moses fails to trust God and is disobedient. He had the audacity to tell God “no.” Are you kidding me? God is enraged at the lack of faith of Moses, and yet he graciously provides a solution to being God’s spokesman. God selects Aaron to speak for him instead of Moses.

Most of us would probably say that we have not had an experience like Moses and have never so blatantly said “no” to God. When I read this story, it is so easy to find fault with Moses and wonder how he could have been so foolish! And yet, the more I think about it, the more I see myself doing something similar every time I choose to doubt God’s leadership of my life. Every time I want to worry and doubt God and his promises, I am saying “no” to God and his loving care for me. Since life is not going the way I want it, I can fall into the rut of doubting God’s care for me and even question his leadership of my life. That is a slippery slope, and we must all try to avoid it. I simply need to live a life of trust in God and his promises and be faithful to his will as recorded in scripture.  I need to do this in spite of my circumstances.

This truth reminds me of something I heard Professor Howard Hendricks say when talking with one of his students. Hendricks asked a student how he was doing, and the student replied, “ok, under the circumstances.” To which, Hendricks profoundly said, “what are you doing under there!”

In summary, I have to live a life of faithfulness regardless of my circumstances. I have to live “above” my circumstances if I am living by faith.

Father, such faith-living is very challenging. Help me to realize when I am saying “no” to your leadership for my life. I do this when I complain, doubt your promises and when I worry. Help me to live a life of faithfulness and to courageously take the hills that are before me in life. Give my your grace to be a man of passionate obedience and live above my circumstances.

Following Jesus with you,


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