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.” Exodus 4:9 (NIV)
I spent the day pondering the disciple, Stephen’s, final impassioned speech at his trial before the high priests in Acts 7. He highlights God’s intervention in the lives of the children of Israel, beginning with Abraham following it through the life of Moses. However, verse 22 stopped me in my tracks: Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action. Acts 7:22 (NIV) What? Powerful in speech? I thought Moses was a lousy speaker and needed Aaron, his brother, to help him. As I thought about his story, I remembered that Moses had been trained in an Egyptian household, probably catered to by the Princess who adopted him as a baby and he may have grown up thinking he had it all together. Then tragedy struck when he killed a man in what he thought was an act of compassion for his fellow Israelites. Only they did not see it that way forcing him to flee to the distant land of Midian for forty years. I imagine that he spent time questioning his abilities wondering what God had in mind for his life. Yet, God did not forget Moses but used that time to teach and stretch him for the biggest challenge yet to come. When God pulled him back into the story, he was a humbled man and knew that if he was going to say or do anything of influence, it must come from God, alone. However, do we ever have it all together? No, he still complained and looked for a way out but God was not about to let him off the hook: Then the Lord asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.” Exodus 4:11-12(NLT) Now that is powerful speech! We don’t have to be perfect…just available.