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“How can you attain satisfaction if you have more excuses than action?” This excellent question by Stanley Paskavich is one I need to tape all around my house. When it comes to soul-winning, personal Bible study, hospitality, visiting, or any number of opportunities to shine the Light, it’s all too easy to offer excuses. It’s tempting to excuse away sins and weaknesses. Sadly, the excuser only fools herself. God sees and knows. The purpose of this Bible-marking topic is to help us remember to take action and take ownership. It’s a great study to share with our children, Bible classes for teen girls, and ladies’ Bible class. God wants His people to put away their excuses and rely on Him. With excuses out of the way, imagine what He can do through us!
In the front of your Bible, list “Excuses” as your next topic, and write Gen. 3:8-19 next to it.
Most of the passages in this Bible-marking topic are lengthy. For the sake of space, they cannot be written out here.
Turn to Genesis 3:8-19.
Excuses have been around since the very first sin. Underline the excuses given by Adam and Eve. In the margin next to verses 16 & 17, write, “Were Adam & Eve excused?” At the end of the verse 19, write Ex. 4:10-14.
Turn to Exodus 4:10-14.
Underline the excuses given by Moses. In this case, the excuses weren’t in an effort to cover his sin but to get out of a God-given task. In the margin next to verse 10, write, “I’m not good enough.” I imagine this is the excuse we all probably feel like giving the most. Notice God’s reaction. Draw a squiggly line under “So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses” in verse 14. At the end of the verse, write Ex. 32:22-35.
Turn to Exodus 32:21-35.
Underline the sad excuses given by Aaron. As a leader, he let the people down. Instead of taking a stand, he gave in to peer pressure. Instead of taking ownership of his responsibility, he blamed others. Aaron tried to excuse himself by saying, “The people made me. I had no control.” But Scripture still lays the blame at his feet in verse 25, “for Aaron had not restrained them,” and in verse 35, “the calf which Aaron made.” Put brackets around verses 33-35 and in the margin write, “Tragic results.” At the end of verse 35, write Jud. 6:14-16.
Turn to Judges 6:12-16.
Underline Gideon’s excuses in verse 15. “I’m not strong enough. I’m weak.” These fearful excuses were met with assurance from a loving God. Draw a squiggly line under God’s promise in verse 16, “Surely I will be with you.” At the end of verse 16, write Jer. 1:4-8.
Turn to Jeremiah 1:4-8.
Underline Jeremiah’s excuse in verse 6. The excuse, “I’m too young,” wasn’t good enough. God had a job for Jeremiah! Draw a squiggly line under “Do not say, ‘I am a youth'” in verse seven and “I am with you to deliver you” in verse eight. At the end of verse eight, write Matt. 7:21-23.
Turn to Matthew 7:21-23.
Underline the excuses given by many in verse 22. Draw a squiggly line under Jesus’ reply in verse 23. In the margin, write, “Jesus doesn’t want excuses. He wants obedience!” At the end of verse 23, write Matt. 25:24-30.
Turn to Matthew 25:24-30.
Underline the excuse given in verse 25, “I was afraid.” Draw a squiggly line under the master’s reply in verse 26, “You wicked and lazy servant.” Also underline, “Cast the unprofitable servant into outer darkness” in verse 30. At the end of the verse, write vs. 41-46.
Turn to Matthew 25:41-46.
Underline the excuse given in verse 44, “When did we see You…?” Truly, they saw and did nothing. Draw a squiggly line under “and these will go away into everlasting punishment” in verse 46. In the margin, write, “Excusing ourselves from action= everlasting punishment.” At the end of verse 46, write Lk. 14:16-24.
Turn to Luke 14:16-24.
Underline the excuses beginning in verse 18. The excuses involved materialism, work, and even family. Draw a squiggly line under “the master of the house, being angry,” in verse 21 and “none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper” in verse 24. In the margin, write, “No excuse is good enough.” At the end of verse 24, write Ac. 24:25.
Turn to Acts 24:24, 25.
Underline “Felix was afraid” and “when I have a convenient time” in verse 25. The areas under his consideration had to do with holy living and accountability. At the end of verse 25, write 26:27, 28.
Turn to Acts 26:27, 28.
Underline verse 28. Sadly, Agrippa was not quite convinced to act on the most important decision of his life!
If you are using this Bible-marking topic in a classroom setting, you might want to create a chart on the whiteboard or make a handout. Ask the students to notice and list the different excuses given. Then ask them, “Are these excuses we offer today?” Your chart might look something like this:
Ex. 4:10-14 I’m not good enough.
Ex. 32:22-35 The people made me. I had no control.
Jud. 6:14-16 I’m not strong enough. I’m weak.
Jer. 1:4-8 I’m too young
Matt. 25:24-30 I’m afraid.
Matt. 25:41-46 I didn’t see it.
Lk. 14:16-24 I can’t because of my job/ family.
Ac. 24:25 It’s not a good time.