Date: August 25, 2019 (Sunday PM)
Bible Text: Luke 14:16-26 | Steve Damron
Series: Transcribed Sermons
Two Excuses used in the Old Testament
- The Excuse in Worshiping the one true God (Exodus 32:1-4)
- It's the people's fault
If you have your Bibles this evening, we are starting in Luke chapter 14, then we are going to be in the Old Testament the rest of the time. Luke chapter 14, and hopefully you will understand where I am going after we read some of the passages.
There was a man that was carrying two buckets and in the buckets were piles of fish. He was stopped by a game warden up in the northern Michigan area. A Game Warden just happened to come upon this man when he is carrying two buckets filled with fish. And the Game Warden stopped him and said, hey, do you have a license to catch those fish? And the man looked at him and said, oh, no, no, no. Actually I do not need it. These are my pet fish. The Warden said, come on, pet fish. And the man looked at him and said, yes. He said, every night I walk down here to the lake and I bring these fish down to the lake and I dump them in. I let them swim around for a little while. Then I whistle and they jump back into the buckets and I take them home. The Game Warden looked at him, and if you know northern Michigan, he said, that is a bunch of Hoowie. And he is form northern Michigan, so he said fish can't do that. He goes, oh yeah, they can. He goes, oh really? Well let's go down there. And so, the Game Warden was really kinda curious at this point. And so the man with the two buckets of fish went down to the lake, and he poured the fish into the lake and then he stood patiently waiting. After several minutes, the Game Warden looked at the man and he says, well? And the man looked at him and says, well, what? And he said, well, when are you going to call them back? He says, call what? He said the fish. He goes, what fish? You will get it ........ some of you.
In Luke chapter 14, this kind of goes along with this. Starting in Luke chapter 14:16, Jesus is talking to a group and he says unto them, "... A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make (what is the word?) excuse. The first said unto him. I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me (what is the word?) excused. Another said, I bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou has commanded, and yet there is room. And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper."
We are going to look this evening at the idea of no more excuses. You know, the work of the Lord is plagued with excuses. They seem to abound with every endeavor. The lost come up with all kinds of excuses. And as we knock on doors and as you have shared Christ with folks, I am sure you have heard some. For instance, you are trying to deal with somebody on coming to the Savior and they say, I must become better before I can become a Christian. Well wait, that is what I want you to do. Becoming a Christian will make you better. But some people do not get that. They are like, no, once I get rid of this sin then I will come to Christ. Actually through Christ He will help you get rid of that sin. So that is what some people say when they are coming to the Savior. And they excuse coming to the Savior by saying, I must become better before I can be a Christian. Some say I cannot give up my sins, and I would say you can't, but through Christ you can. Some say, I cannot live the Christian life it seems impossible. And yes, it does seem impossible, but that is not what we are asking you to do. We are not asking you to live the Christian life, we are asking you just to come to Christ and get saved. Some say I will have to give up too much. And some say I see too many hypocrites. So all of those things we have probably heard in presenting the Gospel to somebody. And they have presented excuses and they are just a few of the many excuses that the unsaved present to us when we are presenting Christ's wonderful salvation.
However, that is not what I want to consider this evening. I do not want to consider whether you are coming to the Savior this evening. Hopefully many of you in the majority of you have come to the Savior. But the Bible records some famous individuals who presented the Lord with excuses when asked to do a challenging task. Maybe you have been giving God excuses of why you can not give, or why you can not serve, or why you can not be separated unto the Lord, or why you can not tell others about Christ. And my prayer is that tonight, and then we are going to look at it next Sunday night, we are going to look at this idea of no more excuses. I get tired of excuses. I get tired of excuses with little kids. I get tired of excuses with teenagers. I get tired of excuses with parents and adults. And sometimes I think we forget that God himself, I think gets tired of your excuses. God help us as we consider this idea this evening. We are going to look at two excuses used in the Old Testament that God would challenge us to throw away the excuses and come before God and say, you know what? Humbly and as best I can, I will just serve you. I may not be able to do much. And I may not be worth a lot, but I will give you everything and I will throw aside my excuses. I believe God rewards that attitude.
Heavenly Father, I pray that you would help us this evening. Help us to get rid of our excuses and come to you as those humble, undeserving servants. Lord, we push aside, those things that seem to weigh-in and say, we can not do this or that. Lord, maybe we would just submit to an almighty, all powerful God who knows more than us and who has given us a challenge maybe in our life. And help us to take up that mantle or take up that task and to do it with all our might. As always, Lord, I ask you to do that which I can not, and that is speak to hearts. We ask and claim your power in Jesus name. Amen.
So let's consider two Old Testament examples. First in Exodus chapter 32, a well known passage of excuse making. Exodus chapter 32, and here we have the story of Aaron and Moses and it is the story of the golden calf. And here, Aaron, I call this the excuse in worshiping the one true God. And you may say, man, that is not happening in my life. But I think as you consider this excuse on what Aaron was doing, I think you are going to see some of the tentacles of those excuses creeping into your heart and in your life. Because I think sometimes Satan comes in and we have given our life to the Lord, we are saved, and we are trying to serve Him. But really there are some things as far as this world and the worship of the one true God that sometimes we make excuses. And you are going to see that Aaron, is a great picture here.
In Exodus 32 look at verse one. "And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. And all the people break off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, these be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt."
The picture here is fitting for you and I as believers, because the historic scenario of the children of Israel is that of being brought out of bondage. So let's consider that. Go back to Exodus chapter one. So they were being brought out of bondage and in Exodus, chapter one notice verse 14. "And they made" this is the Egyptians. We know that because of verse 13, "And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour." That means harshness. It means that it was not easy. Notice verse 14 again, "And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in morter, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour." That is not something that is enjoyable.
Notice in Exodus chapter two in verse 23, "And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage." Their bondage was so heavy, the rigor was so hard that they are crying out to God because it was not easy. We see in chapter six in verse five, "And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant. Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgements." The children of Israel were released from that bondage. It was rigorous, it was strenuous, it was hard, it was not easy, it was grinding, it was growling, it took their families, it took their lives. It cost them everything and now God delivers them and what is happening? Moses goes up into the mountain because Moses wants to spend time with the Lord. Think about that. Here is Moses, their leader, he wants to spend a little time with the Lord and he goes away. They are like, where is he at? Where is he at? We do not even know what he is doing? So they come to Aaron, they are crabbing, complaining. They bring some gold together, put together this golden calf, and what did they say in our passage in Exodus 32? What does it say in there? It says that these be thy gods O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. Wait a minute--that golden calf? Who brought you up? Who heard your cries? Who brought you out of bondage? The the sad state of these people.
But look at the excuses that we find here. It is found later in the text starting in Exodus 32:19 "... that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses' anger waxed hot... And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it..." And Moses, look at verse 21, "And Moses said unto Aaron, What did this people unto thee, that thou hast brought so great a sin upon them?" So look at the excuses, I found three. Verse 22, "And Aaron said, Let not the anger of my lord wax hot:" (Pretty sure his hand was on his hip and when he said it there was probably a lisp.) Alright, "thou knowest the people..." Excuse number one for Aaron - it is the people's fault. It's the people's fault. People made me do it. It is always somebody else's fault. And this can be so true in your life and mine. Somebody comes to you and it is their fault. Oh, everybody else, you do not understand my child. You do not understand. I mean, I would be perfect except for them. Alright, Aaron, you are sounding just like them. It is the people's fault. We bring on the sin, we bring on the misery into our lives and then we turn -- and it is their fault. It is everybody else but yours. It is the people's fault.
Look at verse 23, it is not just the people's fault, "For they said unto me, Make us gods, which shall go before us: for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out the land of Egypt, we wot not what has become of him." Now just so you know that is a little Jerryish. You know, I do not know too many people that say 'we wot not.' What does it mean? We have no clue where he is. That is kind of in our vernacular, 'Jerry's vernacular.' He is like, oh, I do not know wot not you are talking about. All right, but here in this text, what we see is, it is not just the people's fault, it is the preacher's fault. Now it is Moses fault that they have to build a golden calf. He was not there. He was not there for me. He just was not there. I tried to call, I tried to text and I don't understand it. He is just not there. So you know what, I am just going to go sin. That is stupid! It is just flat out stupid. But here we have the excuses of Aaron and the excuses of these people. It is not just the people's fault, it is the preacher's fault. No, it is not Aaron.
Not just that, look at verse 24. "And I said unto them, (this is the classic) Whosoever hath any gold, let them break it off. So they gave it me: then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf." Poof! It is not just the people's fault, or the preacher's fault, it is nature's fault. I was born this way. Oh, yeah it is nature's fault. No, actually God gave the ultimatum here. Do you notice that all in this text it is Aaron and it is Moses talking back and forth. God settles the issue in verse 35, look at what he says. "And the Lord plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made." God's the ultimate person who knows your excuse, because notice at the end, that is God saying it. He is saying, guess what Aaron it was not the people, it was not the preacher, it was not nature. You made it! And sometimes we get the same way. We make up all kinds of excuses of why I am not going soul winning. You know what? I am not going soulwinning because I never see anybody saved. So what? Witness! Share Christ with somebody! Your job is not to save them! Somebody already did that and that was Christ. And he can do a lot better at saving than you can anyways. But what he wants you to do is to go out and tell people about it. And when you sit and say, well, I don't know. I mean, what am I supposed to say, preacher? Tell me.
Well, do you have a testimony? Maybe get one. Get a testimony and sit down with somebody and say, I do not know a lot about scripture. I do not know a lot about the Word of God because you know I am newly saved, but this is what I know. I once was blind, but now I see. That alone and the intensity and the passion that you have for a Savior that saved your soul, that brought you out of bondage. Quit the excuses. Excuses need to stop. Consider the consequences of your excuses. Look at verse 25, "And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies:)" You know what will happen when you start making excuses about worshiping the one true God. And some of you, and that is what ultimately Aaron and his excuse making and these people, they were making an excuse about worshiping the one true God.
And some of you, you make excuses for not giving and serving wholly to God. And you say, well, it is the people. You know what if that Fairhaven was a little better? I don't care about the people here. It is you that' i going to stand before God. You are going to have to stand before God by yourself. And he is going to say, wait a minute. It it is not all those other people. You -- what did you do? Who did you serve?
That is what the Bible is telling us. We can come up with excuses, but ultimately you pile up those excuses and you know what you are going to lead yourself to? Lewdness and sensuality - - that is what it says right here. When you get away from worshiping a holy, righteous God. Guess what that opens up, lewdness and sensuality. Then in verses 26 to 32, "Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the Lord's side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him. And he said unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor." 3000 men died.
You know what happens as a Christian when I decide not to worship the one true God, not only lewdness and sensuality, but death and destruction. And that is happening all across America today. Churches have decided that they will not worship the one true God. Instead they worship this world. And so they bring in sensuality, they bring in immodesty, they are not separated anymore. Why? Because they are saying it is not the one true God. And you know what is happening all across America, death and destruction in our churches. Ichabod is written all across our nation. Why is it written there? Because we said, oh, it is the people. They are just different. I mean we can not get them to come to church. Then so what, let's worship by ourselves the one true God, because he alone is worthy to be praised. No more excuses. Ultimately, God is the final authority on our accountability. We read verse 35, "And the Lord plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made." Ultimately you can deny, you can excuse, you can shift the blame, but God has the final word and just so you know, God will have the final word when you stand before him and every knee will bow. And at that point I think your head will hang, and you will say, wow, I made an excuse.
We see a second excuse, and we will be a little faster with this one. Numbers chapter 13, the first excuse that we see in the Old Testament,that we are looking at is Aaron and that is his excuses in worshiping the one true God. Then we have the 10 spies. The 10 spies, their excuse is not gaining the ground for our Savior. Not gaining the ground, look at chapter 13 and verse two. "Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel:..." And we know the story, he sends them out. Look at verse 25, "And they returned from searching of the land after 40 days." And look at their excuses. Verse 28, "Nevertheless the people be strong..." You know what? To me, it is scary. They are big. All right, look at verse 28 again, "...the cities are walled,..." the people are scary. The task is too large. Verse 29, "The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites,... and the Canaanites..." It is not just the people are scary, and the task is too large, but the task is overwhelming. And then verse 31, at least they admitted one thing and they probably got it right. "But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we." Basically what they said is, they are a bunch of weaklings. All right, so at least they got one thing, right? You guys are a bunch of wusses, alright, that is one. So the people are scary, the task is too large, the task is overwhelming, and we are weaklings. It is all their excuses.
And let me give you a couple of things that lead to excuse making that is revealed out of this passage. Look in chapter 13:1, "And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give onto the children of Israel..." So what did God say? They are just going to go and look around because I have given the land. What leads to excuse making is when you start doubting God's word. God is the one that said that land is yours. And when you start questioning and doubting God's word, you are going to start coming up with all kinds of lame excuses. And then not only doubting God's word, these are some of the causes of excuse and it builds upon one another. When you start doubting God's word, what you are going to do is found in chapter 13:26-33. When you start doubting God's word, you are going to spread that by discouraging everybody else, so that you have a little band of people that will not follow God and all of you have excuses. That is what happened here. And that is why from a pulpit, we want the word of God preached and we want it clearly edified. Why? Because it squashes the naysayers. The word of God can go forth, and that is why we want it powerfully preached from the pulpit. Why? Because it will stop the spreading of excuses that basically rip apart God's word. Excuses, doubting God's word, discouraging God's people in chapter 14:1, "And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night." They start to find God's will. And in chapter 14:22, this was interesting to me. It says here, "Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, (notice what it says) and have tempted me now these ten times,..."
I went through the rabbis and the Jewish history have analoged the 10 times. They think they pinpointed the 10 times that they had tempted God. The number 10 in the Bible can mean complete, seven can, but 10 can also. How do we know that? Well, you got the 10 commandments and in fact, in Genesis chapter one, when you are all following the creation 10 times, it says God hath said, or God said 10 times. And so it is showing a complete creation in Genesis chapter one. And so many times 10 means something that is complete or it is all completed or it is thorough and what God was saying to the children of Israel is I am sick and tired. What you have done is you have filled up your life so much with excuses that, I am through with you. I am done. There is no hope. I would pray that in my life I would have God's mercy on me enough that I would not come and tempt Him, and tempt Him, and tempt Him, and tempt Him so much that finally He would say I am through. And some people get all bent out of shape in preaching that, but here in the Bible, what do we see? God said, I am through with you. I am done. And there can come a point in a Christian's life that He is through with you. That happens when you repeatedly excuse and excuse and excuse and it could be from the pulpit, it could be from your devotions, it could be just God's Word, it could be circumstances that God is bringing in. He is trying to get your attention. He is trying to turn you back and you are tempting Him and tempting Him and provoking Him and provoking Him. In Numbers chapter 14:22 it says, "Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice; Surely they shall not see the land..." They are not going to see the land.
And may it not be true of any of us sitting here, that you have made excuses about your giving. You have made excuses about your testifying. You have made excuses about your parenting. You have made excuses about your marriage. You have made excuses about your Christian service to the Lord, and God is coming to a point and saying, I am through you are not going to see the land. It should scare us and we should come to God and say, merciful God, Heavenly Father, may it not be that I have doubted your word and I have cast discouragement across your people. God forgive my soul. And may it be God you could stir up again that desire to conquer the land, because the land needs conquered. There is victory. We sing it 'Victory Ahead.' The promised land, the promised land, it is not heaven, the promised land is for us here. It is conquering and to conquer. It is victory for you and I. May God help us to not have excuses. What excuses have you come up with in worshiping the Lord? Have you set him aside and made another altar? And God has been nudging you saying, hey, that has been made more. No, it has not. No, no, no, no, no. You gave me the job.
Oh, be careful. Be careful and let God convict you and let God return to his rightful place of worship. He is the one true God. Or maybe you have been making excuses in your service to the Lord. That is what the 10 spies did, the 10 spies are representing that land that needs to be conquered. When land is to be conquered, do you know what that means? It is a fight. It is a struggle. It is not always easy. I can tell you this in our land, there is not too much struggle anymore. There is not too much. It seems like we are all in ease. Really giving a $100 or giving a $1,000, oh what is the big deal? Oh, but you want me to, you want me to serve? I mean, can't I just give cash? But God wants you. He wants your heart. He wants your life. He wants all of you, and He wants you to be a soldier, to go into the land and to conquer that which needs conquered. Maybe you have been making excuses this evening. God help us to get rid of the excuses.
As you know I love reading stories and there was a story about a man named Richard Pittman. Richard Pittman lived in French Camp, California. He had been blind in his right eye since he was five years old. He was born, I think in the 1940s around there or a little bit afterwards. And for that reason he was classified 4F in the military. 4F means unfit for military service. Some of you are going to be irritated at this. He wanted to be an Army Greenbrae. He tried to join the Army, he was rejected. He tried the Navy and the Air Force but he was rejected. Ahh, you know what is coming. By 1965, he was desperate and there was only one left. Yep, the Marines. He wrote to the draft board and he said, I need to get my classification changed because I have been classified as 4F and I need it changed to 1A. They wrote back to him and said, well, you have to pass a medical examination. He was like, oh great. He was blind in one eye. Pitman says this, he said, I managed to pass, nothing against Marine here. All right. Nothing against, but once you hear it, you are gonna be like, how could any Marine get bye with that. All right, well anyways, Pittman in his own words says this. They told me to cover my right eye and read the chart. So I was blind in my right eye so that worked great. So I covered my right eye and read the chart. Then they said, cover your left eye. So I took my left hand and covered my right eye. It is in his own words. He said, I took my left hand and covered my right eye again and read the chart. I passed. I was a Marine.
After boot camp he was assigned to the first platoon company and this was coming up to the Vietnam War. He was in the first platoon, Company I, Third Battalion, Fifth Marine Regiment, First Marine Division, July 24th, 1966. Over there they named hills by numbers. It was hill 362 it was near the DMZ. The Marine Corps later would be very thankful that they let Pittman in, even with one eye. I company had just reached the crest of this hill 362, 150 men in this platoon were ambushed by 700 North Vietnamese. Pittman's first platoon was at the end of the column when this trap of 700 of them jumped out and they were going to just slaughter them. Lance Corporal Pittman grabbed a machine gun and started down the hill. He was shooting and ran down the trail. Troops swarmed from the jungle to overrun the marine position. Pittman helped drive them back. Then he continued down the trail. He retrieved a wounded Marine, faced an attack by 40 enemy soldiers. He fired his M60 machine gun until it jammed. He was able on the run to get it running again, and then he started shooting. Then a shot came from the enemy and his gun saved his life. It hit the gun, but it made it null and void. He looked down and there was one of the enemies, AK 47 that was sitting there, he picked it up and started just killing them. That ran out of ammo and so he remembered he had his 45, so we pulled that out and started shooting. Pretty soon the enemy said, there is a lunatic and they broke and ran. Pitman finished his one man stand with his last hang grenade, and he launched it. Then he tended to his wounded comrades and the battle had been turned by a man who was not supposed to be there.
He could have made an excuse, somebody else should do it, but he said, I will go and I will do it. Maybe this evening you have been that person saying somebody else should do it. Maybe God is saying, no, you, I need you to give. I need you to serve. I need you to witness. I need you to conquer the land. Pittman, he had an excuse and we all can come up with excuses like Aaron or the 10 spies, but ultimately God is going to stand you before Him someday and say, so what did you do? I left you here. Whether you want to admit it or not, all of us here in America, I think are going to be held at a much higher level of accountability.
I already mentioned it. I mentioned it last week. The average Kenyan makes $150-175 a month. And that church over there, I remember what I said, that church, they in U.S. Dollars are doing $30,000 a year to send missionaries around the world. I think God is going to look at us and say, and what did you do? What did you do? I mentioned it also, their men, they don't even whine about it. I didn't hear one word of whining. Their men go to the Congo. He has a man in the Congo for a month, every month of the year by himself because it's too dangerous for his wife and kids. No whining, no crying. I wonder how many of us would say, well, I mean, but my family, I mean, I mean, and you guys, I mean, I am telling you, some of you, you are like the ultimate Bible scholars when it comes to getting out of something. You can find every verse in the Bible that might give you a little loophole to get out of serving him. You know? I mean, I think I found this here. I think it was a reading in Ezekiel it talked about the wheel and somehow that relates to me getting out of it. Yeah. Instead of just setting aside the excuses and saying, God, I am just going to flat out serve you.