Jump Start # 2564
Exodus 4:10 “Then Moses said to the Lord, ‘Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.’”
Poor Moses. God had a job for him and he didn’t want to do it. Unlike Jonah, who just ran the opposite direction, Moses tried to hide behind some excuses. Most of us have tried that ourselves in different times of our lives. Hiding behind an excuse seems like a reasonable way of getting out of things. Sometimes it works with each other, but it never does with God.
Moses wasn’t a preacher. He didn’t have the gift of gab. He said of himself that he was “slow of speech.” I know a few folks like that. When they try to tell a story, you want to finish it for them because you are not sure if they will ever get to the end.
What we find in this section of Scriptures is a series of excuses that Moses tries to use on the Lord. He believes God made a mistake in picking him. He doesn’t want to go. Yet, with every excuse, God has an answer. God is not letting Moses off.
Here are some thoughts for us:
First, Moses was honest. Later the Scriptures will define Moses as the most humble person. We see that here. He doesn’t think he can do it. Convincing someone that he can do something is probably easier than telling someone who believes he can that he shouldn’t. Pride colors our eyes to reality.
Second, God could have given Moses a golden tongue, but He didn’t. God didn’t change Moses’ ability. God didn’t send Moses to a speech class. God didn’t see Moses’ speech problem as a problem. Moses led Israel for forty years. He would be put to the test often. His great leadership skills would save the nation. He didn’t need to be a slick speaker to lead the people. Now, often, too often, it’s just the opposite these days. A person is elected to office because he has charisma and can give a good speech. He may be crooked, dishonest and a real creep. However, people will vote him into office because he has a sparkling smile, knows how to conduct himself before a crowd and is good at raising money. But without character and heart, he will make a terrible leader. You can teach a person how to give a speech. You can’t teach heart. Character is what a person is on the inside.
Third, God put people in Moses’ life to help him. So Moses wouldn’t do well in a speech class, God provided Aaron to be the mouthpiece. God often does that to us. He puts us around people that has more knowledge and more experience than we do. These people help us and allows us to do the jobs that we are supposed to do.
Now, we often have modern day Moses’ among us. We can be quick to get ourselves out of doing things because we feel that we lack ability. Put up a few names to be the next shepherds in a congregation and you’ll likely see one talk himself out of serving. He doesn’t think he can do it. It may be that he doesn’t want to do it. Ask a man to teach a class. If it is his first time, you’ll likely hear the voice of Moses coming out. I can’t do that. I’ve never taught a class before. I won’t know what to say. What if they ask a question and I can’t answer it?
Sometimes a person doesn’t know what talent he has until he gives something a try. People can see ability and talent in us that we do not see in ourselves. So, how can we get more to do more? How do we get some off the sidelines and more participating?
First, go slowly. In teaching, have someone fill in for one class. Walk them through the material ahead of time so they have an understanding of what is expected. Follow up afterwards with how he felt it went. Gradually, work him into a team teaching role, where you teach the most and he is teaching a few. Let him observe you teach and learn. On a singing night, allow someone who hasn’t led to have a chance. Experienced song leaders can work with him before he leads. They can show him some of the mechanics of song leading.
Second, some find out that they can’t do things. Not everyone can teach. Not everyone can lead singing. Not everyone can lead. But the kingdom is much more than just those few public roles. The kingdom needs lots of folks who can do what they are capable of.
Third, don’t be discouraged because you cannot do what others do. Aaron played an important role in Biblical history. He wasn’t Moses, but without Aaron, Moses couldn’t have done what he did. The glory should always go to the Lord and not ourselves. If we are looking for a shout out, our names in the spotlight, then we need to do some serious thinking about who we are. We are just instruments in the kingdom of God. We need to be thankful that God can even use us. Surrounding Paul was Barnabas, Silas, Apollos, and Timothy. Only Paul was an apostle. Yet, each of these men filled important roles in the early church.
Finally, don’t let a handicap, a speech problem or some other trouble keep you from doing what you can in the kingdom. Moses was slow of speech. Don’t you think God knew that? Maybe God made him that way on purpose. Yet, for decades Moses led God’s people. Find what you can do and then pour your life into. Learn to be the best that you can. Don’t let obstacles easily stop you. We can be our own worst critic and we can allow our nerves to get the best of us. You overcome those fears by seeing the good that you can add to the kingdom. You think of the others who you can help. You look at the people who have helped you on your journey and all you are doing is helping others as well.
Moses was slow at speech, yet God still used him. Are you allowing the Lord to use you in the kingdom?