The Weekly PowerBreak – “Excuses, Excuses”

Have you ever noticed how quick people are to make excuses for their failures today, and if you question their excuse you seem to be unfair?

Recently, I was stood up by a person who had a standing appointment with me for the purpose of discipleship. When I questioned him on his failure to show up or at least contact me, he began to make one excuse after another. When I turned the table on his excuse making, he turned on me to make me feel unjust for questioning his excuse. Sound familiar? Consider the following lesson on excuse making?

1 Samuel 15:13–23 (ESV) — 13 And Samuel came to Saul, and Saul said to him, “Blessed be you to the Lord. I have performed the commandment of the Lord.” 14 And Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears and the lowing of the oxen that I hear?” 15 Saul said, “They have brought them from the Amalekites, for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen to sacrifice to the Lord your God, and the rest we have devoted to destruction.” 16 Then Samuel said to Saul, “Stop! I will tell you what the Lord said to me this night.” And he said to him, “Speak.” 17 And Samuel said, “Though you are little in your own eyes, are you not the head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel. 18 And the Lord sent you on a mission and said, ‘Go, devote to destruction the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.’ 19 Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord? Why did you pounce on the spoil and do what was evil in the sight of the Lord?” 20 And Saul said to Samuel, “I have obeyed the voice of the Lord. I have gone on the mission on which the Lord sent me. I have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and I have devoted the Amalekites to destruction. 21 But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the best of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.” 22 And Samuel said, “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king.”

Notice three things about Saul’s excuse making. First Samuel pointed out that his failure which brought the reason for making an excuse was his ego. The Lord made him king when he was “little in his own eyes.” Whenever we fail to finish what we are committed to doing too often the reason we feel justified or want to justify ourselves with excuses is our ego. When we stand up someone we think our schedule is more important than theirs. Whenever we fail to do what God has commanded we feel ourselves more important than God and His word. Secondly, Saul began to blame the people for his failure which is taking excuse making to another level by tossing someone else under the bus – much like Adam did to Eve in the garden when confronted by God. Thirdly, God calls Saul’s excuse making idolatry. Whoa! He is saying that to make excuses means you are setting up your reasoning above God, therefore it’s an idol.

There’s another example of excuse making in God’s word where the Lord Jesus Christ described enjoying His Kingdom like being invited to a great banquet and when the guests were called to the banquet, they all began to make excuses. Look at how lame the excuses are!

Luke 14:18–20 (ESV) — 18 But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ 19 And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ 20 And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’

Really! You couldn’t have waited to check out the field? You couldn’t have waited to examine the oxen? You couldn’t leave your wife for the banquet or better yet, bring her? How many people make excuses and miss out on the enjoyment of God and His Kingdom. “I don’t have time to pray. I can’t get up in time to make it to church on time. I can’t make it to prayer meeting on Wednesday.” And the list goes on where multiple excuses are made.

But wait! There is one excuse we cannot make which should lead us to making a check on all excuses. God says that His power, nature, and invisible attributes are clearly seen in His creation. Therefore, we are all without excuse and are accountable to God.

Romans 1:20 (ESV) — 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

Romans 3:19 (ESV) — 19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God.

What does this mean? Next time you fail to keep an appointment, fail to do what you are bound to do, or make a mess of something – own up to it instead of making an excuse. God knows all about it and He, along with others, will be more apt to forgive you than to hear yet another lame excuse. For to make an excuse is only an attempt to cover your transgression and that will never lead to success.

Proverbs 28:13 (ESV) — 13 Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.

Godspeed,

Bob Brubaker