I Can't Find the Words
"Moses was taught all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was powerful in both speech and action." Acts 7:22 (NLT)
Have you ever tried to hide from God's call on your life?
Moses did. He fled to the wilderness to get away. The hillside was a comfortable place; one that allowed him to live in obscurity. But God approached Moses as he tended sheep.
When God asked Moses to speak to Pharaoh on His behalf, Moses balked. He felt inadequate. He lifted up his weakness to God and submitted it as an excuse not to do as God asked. "My words get tangled," he said. (Exodus 4:10b NLT)
Yet years later in Acts 7:22, we find that Stephen described Moses as powerful in both speech and action.
How could this be? Did he truly struggle with his words, or was it an excuse?
As an Egyptian citizen and adopted member of the royal family, Moses had access to the finest education. As a young man he rose to the rank of prime minister, a task that required him to communicate with others. But Moses is believed to have had a true speech impediment.
He struggled to get the words out.
So when God approached Moses to join in an adventure to free His people from slavery, all Moses could think about was his weakness.
When Stephen described Moses, hundreds of years later, he had the advantage of seeing Moses' life span. He had heard of every act of courage and victory. Even in death, the name of Moses was revered among the nation of Israel.
Stephen knew when Moses spoke, though he may have stammered, his words carried weight.
The words Moses spoke were described as "life giving." (Acts 7:38 NLT) Moses' words mended arguments, offered justice, negotiated freedom and dispensed wisdom.
Only in hindsight do we see what Moses could not see in the beginning. God wasn't worried about Moses' lack of eloquence, vocabulary or skill, but whether or not Moses trusted God enough to obey.
Where Moses was deficient, God would be sufficient.
Where Moses struggled, God would succeed.
Where Moses was weak, God would be strong.
How many times does God invite us to follow Him into an adventure? Whether it is to be a great mom, or to lead a Bible study, or do anything outside our comfort zone, do we hold up our weaknesses and say, "Sorry, God, I can't," and then point out our weaknesses to Him.
In these instances, "My words get tangled" translates to:
I'm not patient, God, so don't ask me to be a good mom.
I don't like to be in the spotlight, God, so let someone else lead that study.
I'm afraid, God, so don't ask me to [fill in the blank].
When we look past our "tangled words" to His equipping, we find our answer.
What is God asking you to do? Have you been responding with your own version of, "My words get tangled"?
Are you willing to step out in obedience today?
Like Moses, only with hindsight will you one day see how your obedience shaped a child, or a neighbor or a nation.
What do you stand to gain as you take the focus off your deficiency to trust in His sufficiency?
Dear Lord, You know my very real weakness. But I am excited to respond to Your voice today. With You all things are possible, so I step out in faith beginning today. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
Abraham was old; Timothy was timid; Jacob was insecure; Peter was impulsive; and Moses had a speech impediment, yet God used each of these people in such a way that their names are etched in history.
Add your name to the list above: I am _______________, but with God all things are possible (Mark 10:27).
Exodus 4:10, "Moses said to the Lord, 'Pardon your servant, 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.'" (NIV)
Exodus 4:11-12, "The Lord said to him, 'Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.'" (NIV)