Maybe you last had that thought in a basketball game or swim meet when the opponent was really good. Or perhaps you were recently hit with a big project or loads of school work, and you thought to yourself, “I just can’t do this.” Maybe you sense that God has called you to do something really big – something that seems impossible for someone of your skill set.
At one point or another, it’s likely that you’ve recognized that you’re in over your head.
That was exactly the thought going through Moses’ mind one day when he encountered the Lord. Moses had been tending sheep for his father-in-law when he saw something out-of-the-ordinary. There was a bush that appeared to be on fire, but the flames were not burning it up. So Moses went to check it out. This was part of God’s conversation with Moses in Exodus 3:7-12.
7 The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 9 And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”
11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
12 And God said, “I will be with you….
In just a moment, Moses went from a man tending sheep to a man who was in over his head. In a sentence, God had called Moses to visit to Pharaoh, and to ultimately lead more than a million people to the promised land. This was big-time, and Moses – understandably – was overwhelmed. So he asks a question. Essentially, “who am I to do this”?
If you are following Jesus, it’s likely that you have found yourself asking the same thing. Who am I to initiate this conversation? Can I really accomplish this task? God, do you really want me to step up and lead this ministry?
There are a couple pieces of good news for Moses in this passage. And there are a couple pieces of good news for us as we sense that we’re in over our heads.
The first piece of good news is that God is at work. Check out verse 8. “So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land….” The primary participant in this action is not Moses – it’s God. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob purposed this. It was his plan and he will accomplish it. In our day, it’s still God who is making things happen. He is the one who is finishing the good work that he began in you (Philippians 1:6) and making us all more like Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:24). God is the one getting things done, and there’s nothing that’s over his head.
That said, Moses had a role to play. So the second piece of good news is that God promises his presence to Moses. “I will be with you” (verse 12). When we Christians feel like we’re in over our heads, we ought to take courage from this same promise of God – the promise of His presence. In John 14:16-17, Jesus says that Father “will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” From tough competitions to difficult conversations to leading people, God is with us – we have his word on it!