The First Excuse Ever Made

In Genesis 3, we see the first excuse made in human history. God specifically commanded Adam and Eve to steer clear of the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden. Satan, however, tempted Eve. Eve, in turn, gave some fruit to her husband, Adam. God came looking for Adam and Eve when he knew what had happened. When He finally knew their whereabouts, God asked, “Did you eat from the tree I commanded you not to eat from?” Look at Adam’s reply: “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”  

Notice that Adam did not simply answer yes. Instead, in his defense, he made up a poorly invented reason for why he did what he did. He attempted to defend himself by shifting the blame from him to God Himself! When asked about what he had done, Adam said to God, “the woman you put here with me,” as if saying, “if it weren’t for the woman you created, I would not have taken a bite from the forbidden fruit.” Here then was humankind’s first excuse—a poorly invented reason to defend oneself for failing to do what ought to be done and thus completely evading responsibility for one’s actions.  

What if Noah made an excuse?

Consider next the story of Noah and the great flood. In the biblical account, we are told that God decided to destroy all life on earth because of man’s sinfulness. Everything on earth was set for destruction, for such was the consequence of sin—its wages are death. He instructed Noah to build an ark out of God’s mercy and love of His creation. Can you imagine what would have happened if Noah made an excuse that building an ark was just too difficult? If Noah opted out and made an excuse to spare himself from the responsibility God gave him, he would not have been able to save his family; worse, no life would be left on earth, which means that the world as we know it today may not have existed at all either.  

What about Moses? In chapter 4 of Exodus, God commands Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Moses, operating in fear, did not just make one excuse, but three! First, Moses was initially worried that the Israelites might not believe in him if he told them that God appeared to them. This was Moses’ first attempt to postpone taking action and neglect his God-given responsibility. God then said to him that he was to show the Israelites a sign.  

Even Moses had an excuse

Moses’ next excuse was that he was not an eloquent speaker. How could he possibly speak to Pharaoh to let God’s people go? Third, Moses despaired as if running out of excuses: “Please Lord, send someone else.” The next verse is key to the story. In verse 14, the Bible says that the Lord’s anger burned against Moses (Exo. 4:14). Why? Because God is a God who hates excuses. Remember, God, values obedience. Making excuses and obeying God are opposites. There can be no obedience in the face of reasons.  

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