Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Exodus 4:10-13 Here am I; Send someone else

"Moses said to the LORD,
'O Lord, I have never been eloquent,
neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant.
I am slow of speech and tongue.'

The LORD said to him,
'Who gave man his mouth?  Who makes him deaf or mute?
Who gives him sight or makes him blind?
Is it not I, the LORD?
Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.'

But Moses said,
'O Lord, please send someone else to do it.'

Moses protests that he lacks eloquence and fluency, characteristics which he believes necessary for a 'real' leader of the people of God.  Whether he truly had some type of speech impediment, or was just suffering from a fear of failure (after having spent the last forty years in the desert, far from the court life of Egypt) is not made clear in this passage.

In the New Testament book of Acts, Stephen -- testifying before the Sanhedrin -- has this to say about Moses:

"Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians,
and was powerful in speech and action."

Acts 7:22

Apparently Stephen does not share Moses' assessment of his abilities.

Moses has already given several reasons why he should not be chosen to fill the job of God's deliverer:
  • Who am I?  (I'm not important enough.) Exodus 3:11
  • What is His name?...What shall I tell them?  (I don't know enough.) Exodus 3:13
  • What if they do not believe me or listen to me?  (They'll think I'm crazy.) Exodus 4:1
And now Moses has added a final excuse:

  • I am slow of speech and tongue.  (I'm not a public speaker and I can't think on my feet, and my goodness, this is the Pharaoh I'll be standing in front of...)  Exodus 4:10
God, of course, knows all this, and has the perfect comeback:
  • Who gave man his mouth?  (I'm God.  I created you.  I'll help you.  I'll teach you what to say.)  Exodus 4:11-12
Finally, Moses' real attitude comes out.  Left with no excuses, he displays the true attitude of his heart:

"O Lord, please send someone else to do it."

Although shocking in its honesty, I suspect that we might have to admit that at least once, we have shared that exact attitude.  We would like to see something done about a particular need or situation, to see an injustice made right or an evil exposed.  However, we do not necessarily want to be the one in the spotlight, the deer in the headlight, the place where the buck (pun intended) stops.  At least Moses was honest enough to admit it.  Even with all of God's assurances, Moses still did not feel capable of taking on this assignment.

Unknown to him, this probably made Moses the perfect candidate for such a mission.

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