Excuses, Excuses, Excuses!
What Are Yours?
BY Susan E. Todd
(May 2003)

Part One

The dictionary definition of "excuse" is "to make allowance for a short-coming; to overlook; to serve as justification for; to vindicate." (Webster's 1828) Let's take a look at some very famous excuses by some very famous people in the Bible and see if their excuses are any different from the ones we use today. [Ouch!]

Adam and Eve's Excuse
"Don't Look At Me"

When God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden He gave them only one restriction. He told them not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Because God created Adam and Eve with a free will, when confronted with temptation, they had a choice to make: obey God and live, or eat the fruit that was forbidden and die. The right choice would bring everlasting life and the wrong one, everlasting damnation. The choice was theirs to make.

They chose to disobey God. Adam knew the rules. God gave them to him. (Genesis 2:16-17) And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Yet Adam not only loved Eve, enough to die with her, but also wanted something that belonged to God; omnipotence. Adam committed two sins, disobedience and covetousness. (Luke 12:15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.) Eve disobeyed both God, by not obeying His commandments (John 14:15), and her husband, by not submitting to his authority (Ephesians 5:22). Didn't God give her to Adam (Genesis 2:22)? Why then was she listening to the voice of the devil? Her eyes were on material things and not on the things of God.

When confronted with their sin Adam blamed Eve, Eve blamed the serpent and the serpent slinked away. What did he care? He had won. Adam and Eve had lost. That's the way he wanted it.
(Genesis 3:12-13) And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

God asked a question of both Adam and Eve but not of the serpent. God created the serpent (the devil), just like He created Adam and Eve, but unlike Adam and Eve the serpent was already condemned. God knew the serpent's motives and his future. But God wanted Adam and Eve to know what they had done and what their future would be like.

So God asks the question of man, "Where art thou?" Adam was not where he was expected to be. Adam was made to have fellowship with God. Knowing that he had sinned by disobeying God's command and now having knowledge of good and evil he hid from God. Adam's fellowship with God was broken due to his sin. Adam hid from God. God did not withdraw from Adam.

When we sin we withdraw our fellowship from God. God looks for us and asks us, "Where are you?" "Why can't I find you?" "Why are you hiding from me?" "What have you done?" It is impossible to have true fellowship with God if we are in sin. (1 John 1:6) If we say that we have fellowship with him (God), and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:

Next God asks the question of the woman, "What is this that thou hast done?" Eve was not doing what she was created to do. The woman was created to be the man's helpmeet. (Genesis 2:18) And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. The purpose for Eve's existence was to be a helper for Adam.

The woman was created from man's side to be by his side. (Genesis 2:21-22) And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. Eve was meant to be by her husband's side not off by herself. Because Eve was separated from her husband she was vulnerable to the temptation of the devil. (1 Timothy 2:14) And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Eve foolishly blamed the devil for what happened to her.

But God's question to Eve is, "What did you do?" "What did you cause to happen?" "Why did you do this?" God expects an answer for why we sin.

Adam and Eve's excuses were to blame someone else for their sin. Who do we blame when we sin?

Cain's Excuse
"Looking Out For Number One"

Cain knew all about sacrifice. His parents no doubt told him over and over again as he was growing up about the first sacrifice that was made because of their disobedience to God. Cain knew how Adam and Eve had broken God's heart. Cain knew how God had to sacrifice His very own creation, two perfect spotless lambs, to atone for the sins of his parents. He also knew why it had to be a blood sacrifice.

Yet despite this knowledge, Cain rebelled against God and offered a sacrifice that was unacceptable to God, a bloodless sacrifice. Cain didn't love God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength. He did not put God first. Cain dishonored his earthly parents, Adam and Eve, and he dishonored his heavenly parent, God. Cain did what Cain wanted to do.

Cain knew his offering was not what the Lord required but he offered it anyway. He got mad when he saw his brother Abel doing right and he murdered his brother for envy. The same thing happened to Jesus (Matthew 27:18 For he knew that for envy they had delivered him).

Cain lied when confronted by God about his brother's whereabouts. Cain sinned by murdering his own brother, among other things, and when confronted with what he did (not giving God the sacrifice He deserved) he became defensive. He made excuses.

Cain did not want to take responsibility for his actions. (Genesis 4:9) And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?

Cain's excuse was that he only thought of himself. "What about my offering, Lord?" "What's the matter with what I gave you?" "I labored hard." "Why won't you accept what I have done?" Cain wanted to meet God's requirement on his own terms. He took the easy way out.

What excuse do we use when God requires something of us? How far short of murder are we willing to go to appease our conscience for putting ourselves ahead of God? Think about it!

You know you should be in church. It is a sacrifice of our time that God requires of us. (Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.) Yet what excuses do we come up with for not going?

We are admonished to read the Bible. (Matthew 22:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.) As a matter of fact God promises us a reward for doing it. (Revelation 1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.)

What are you doing for God that you think is adequate but know that it is not pleasing to the Lord because your heart is not really in it? Are you really giving your all or just what you feel like? Doesn't God deserve our best? Didn't He give His best for us? His only begotten Son (John 3:16)? Isn't God worthy? Revelation 4:11 tells us that He is. (Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.) God is worthy of the very best that we have; not second best.

Satan's Excuse
"I Will"

Of all the created beings Satan was given the greatest position in heaven. He was the covering cherub around God's throne. He was the most beautiful angel. He was also a musical creature. (Ezekiel 28:13-15) Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.

What was Satan's excuse? Pride. He wasn't satisfied with what he had. He didn't want to be the best, first or most important in his field, even though he was a one-of-a-kind being. He didn't want to be near God, he didn't want to serve God. He wanted to be God. What follows are the five "I will's" of a proud heart and the end of a promising career.

(Isaiah 14:12-15) How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

Satan's five steps up the corporate ladder:

  • STEP ONE: Storm the gates.
  • "I will ascend into heaven."

  • STEP TWO: Declare yourself leader of your co-workers.
  • "I will exalt my throne above the stars (the other angels) of God."

  • STEP THREE: Give yourself a more important position.
  • "I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north."

  • STEP FOUR: Move into the boss's office; put your feet up on his desk.
  • "I will ascend above the heights of the clouds."

  • STEP FIVE: Overthrow and replace the boss.
  • "I will be like the most High."

    Pride is a sin that is spelled "S" as in self; "I" as in me and "N" as in nobody else.

    What was Satan's reward for this attempted take-over?

    First, he was cast out of heaven. He was sent in the opposite direction from where he wanted to go.
    Jesus said in Luke 10:18, ... I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.

    Second, his throne was set up below the stars not above like he expected.
    (Job 1:7) And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
    His kingdom became the earth. He became the god of this world.
    (2 Corinthians 4:4) In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

    Third, he will inhabit his own place but it will be very hot there.
    (Isaiah 14:15) Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

    Fourth, he will be cast into the bottomless pit and eventually into the lake of fire and he will rule down there.
    (Revelation 20:1-3) And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.

    (Rev 20:10) And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

    Fifth, he shall become like a worm, not a god.
    (Isaiah 14:11) Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee.

    While his delusions of grandeur didn't last long, the consequences of his actions will last an eternity.

    (Proverbs 16:18-19) Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.

    Stay humble.

    The Excuse of the People of Noah's Day
    "Seeing Is Believing"

    (Genesis 6:11-13) The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

    Noah preached for 120 years and he had no converts. Day after day the people heard about God's wrath and His coming judgment. Yet no one believed Noah. Why would God do such a thing they reasoned? For one hundred twenty years they heard about rain and a flood. But no one believed. What was rain?

    Noah preached about the salvation that was only to be found in the ark he was building each and every day. But no one believed him. How could that ark float when there was no water around? The people of Noah's day could not see past the ends of their own noses. What they couldn't see they wouldn't believe. Since they had never seen rain they refused to believe in it or what it could do.

    I'm sure it was hard to turn a deaf ear to all the questions, criticisms, ridicule and scorn from his family and friends all those years. Maybe Noah couldn't see it either and he probably didn't understand but he was willing to take a step of faith. That faith saved his life and the lives of his wife, his three sons and their wives.

    Noah and his family lived by faith. The Bible tells us that we are to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). We are admonished by Paul in Romans 14:23b that "whatsoever is not of faith is sin."

    The people of Noah's day displayed tremendous disbelief and as a result they all perished. Not one person took advantage of the open door God had given them for one hundred twenty years.

    The greatest sin a person can commit is unbelief in Jesus Christ as the Saviour. That unbelief leads to rejection of Christ and that is a sin that God will not forgive. Do you believe that Jesus Christ can save you? Have you received Him as your Saviour? If not, why not? Because of unbelief? (John 3:36) He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

    Are you like the people of Noah's day? Don't forget what happened to them. They all perished. There was more than enough room on the ark for thousands of people but only eight people went into the ark and only eight people were saved. The eight who believed by faith what Noah was telling them even though they might not have understood it. The door will not be open much longer. Once God shuts it He will not open it again. There are no second chances.

    "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." (Acts 16:31) Take that first step of faith today.

    The Excuse of the Builders of the Tower of Babel
    "Playing God"

    (Genesis 11:4-5) And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.

    Man has always wanted to be like God. From Genesis to Revelation the conflict has always been man versus God. When times are good who needs God? Who needs God when you have lots of money, a good job, health, a career, or are famous?

    "I'm a self-made individual." "I did it all by myself." "I did it my way." I'm sure you have heard these expressions. Maybe you have even used them yourself. What the people who are saying these things really are saying is: "I am my own god."

    It's dangerous to play God. He does it so much better. Did you know that:

    • God has never been sick a day in His life.
    • God has never slept on the job.
    • God has never taken a day off.
    • God has never made a mistake.

    An officer on the maiden voyage of the Titanic, it is reported, said, to calm a nervous passenger, "Not even God could sink this ship." What a foolish thing to say! He shook his fist in God's face and cost hundreds of men, women and children their lives. John Lennon, one of the Beatles, in the 1960's claimed they were "more popular than Jesus Christ." What a stupid blasphemous thing to say!

    David recognized who God was and what power he had. (Psalm 8:4) What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?

    The Bible tells us that the earth is God's footstool (Isaiah 66:1a Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool:) and the clouds are the dust of His feet (Nahum 1:3 The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.). How small that must make us in God's eyes.

    The Bible says in Isaiah 55:6-9, Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

    God knows best. Give God credit for His creation. God has our best interests at heart. Give God thanks for what He has done for you. Now, while you have the opportunity.

    (Psalm 6:5) "For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?"

    You see, either way, one day, you will bow acknowledge this.

    (Philippians 2:10-11) That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

    Lot's Excuse
    "Let's Wait And See What Happens"

    (Genesis 19:15-16) And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city. And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city.

    When visited by angels and told to flee the wickedness of the city in which he took up residence because the Lord was about to destroy it, Lot took a wait-and-see attitude. Excuse me for saying this but Lot was an idiot!

    The incredible stupidity of this man just amazes me. Lot is visited by two angels. He knows they are angels. At least he gets that part right!

    Lot made one bad decision after another. He chose the wrong neighborhood to move into. His witness was so bad that his own sons-in-laws don't take him seriously. He mishandled the accommodations of his guests. He offered his virgin daughters to a sex-crazed mob. And told to get out of town he argued with his liberators. He even negotiated where to go.

    Let me tell you this. If one angel, let alone two, showed up at my door with a message from God, I'd take notice and do whatever they told me to do pronto.

    When God tells you to do something, whether or not He tells you the why, you had better do it or you will suffer the consequences. Don't quench the Holy Spirit; act immediately.

    I believe one day God will reveal to us all the wonderful things He had planned for us if we only would have obeyed Him without questioning the why and the wherefore. We will be greatly disappointed as we see the things we longed for pass before our eyes and realize they could have been ours; they were within our grasp, if only we had been obedient to the Spirit's leading. (Psalm 16:11) Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

    There is a true story about a young man up in the Canadian northwest who was informed that he had just inherited a great deal of money. He had a limited amount of time to claim his fortune but he decided to wait and go at the last minute. When he finally set out a storm passed through and his journey was delayed. He arrived TOO LATE to claim his inheritance and died a poor man.

    God is never wrong. God is never off schedule. He is always right on time. We're usually the ones that are either running a little ahead of time or a little behind.

    What are you waiting for? What is holding you back? Tomorrow may be too late. We are not guaranteed a tomorrow.

    (James 4:14) Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

    Salvation is definitely something you do not want to wait on. The world says, "He who hesitates is lost." The Bible says, (2 Corinthians 6:2) (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

    Moses' Excuse
    "Who? Me?"

    Moses gives God five of the weakest excuses God ever heard. Yet God in His wisdom, and not willing to take "no" for an answer from those whom He calls, comes back with an irrefutable response every time. I'm sure Moses was not too happy.

    Excuse #1

    Moses: "But God, I couldn't possibly do what you are asking of me. I have no experience in the negotiation business."

    (Exodus 3:11) And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?

    God: "I'll go with you and tell you what to say and give you a bonus (the Promised Land) when you are finished the job."

    (Exodus 3:12) And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.

    Excuse #2

    Moses: "Ah, God, I don't want them to get mad at me so who should I say sent me?"

    (Exodus 3:13) And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?

    God: "Don't worry, Moses, they know who I AM."

    (Exodus 3:14-15) And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.

    Excuse #3

    Moses: "Ummm, what if they don't believe me?"

    (Exodus 4:1) And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee.

    God: "Don't worry about that, I've got it covered. They love signs. I'll give them signs."

    (Exodus 4:2-9) And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod. And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it. And the LORD said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand: That they may believe that the LORD God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee. And the LORD said furthermore unto him, Put now thine hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow. And he said, Put thine hand into thy bosom again. And he put his hand into his bosom again; and plucked it out of his bosom, and, behold, it was turned again as his other flesh. And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign. And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe also these two signs, neither hearken unto thy voice, that thou shalt take of the water of the river, and pour it upon the dry land: and the water which thou takest out of the river shall become blood upon the dry land.

    Excuse #4

    Moses: "But L-Lord, I st-st-stutter. And it's worse when I'm n-n-nervous. Who's going to l-l-listen to me?"

    (Exodus 4:10) And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.

    God: "I made your tongue and I can make you speak to be understood."

    (Exodus 4:11-12) And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.

    Excuse #5

    Moses: "I hate to bring this up Lord, but I killed a man and I've been eating dust for forty years. Can't you find someone else?"

    (Exodus 4:13) And he said, O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send.

    God: "I don't want anyone else. You're just the man for the job. You used to be a somebody. You were a prince of Egypt. I couldn't use you then. Now you're a nobody. I specialize in nobodies. Now I can use you."

    And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and he said, Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart. And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do. And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God.

    Moses: (Sigh)

    God: "Anything else, Moses?"

    Moses: "No, Lord. I guess not."

    God: "I didn't think so."

    Exit Moses, tail between legs. Have you ever been there? I have. It's useless to argue with God. He knows best.

    What is your excuse...

    ...for not getting saved?
    (2 Corinthians 6:2) (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

    ...for not reading your Bible?
    (2 Timothy 2:15) Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

    ...for not praying?
    (1 Thessalonians 5:18) In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

    ...for not going to church faithfully?
    (Hebrews 10:25) Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

    ...for not telling people about Jesus Christ?
    (Acts 20:20) And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house,

    ...for not handing out tracts?
    (Proverbs 11:30) The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.

    ...for not surrendering everything to God?
    (Matthew 19:29) "And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life."

    ...for not going to the mission field?
    (Mark 16:15) And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

    ...for not giving so others can go?
    Malachi 3:8

    ...for not stepping out by faith?
    (Romans 14:23) And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

    ...for not doing something for God?
    Luke 21:14

    Whom shall I send and who will go? Excuses, excuses, excuses, what are yours?