“So the Lord said to him, ‘Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say’” (Exodus 4:11).
Moses was the greatest prophet of all times, yet he tried several times to excuse himself from the honor of leading God’s people out of bondage into freedom. Moses repeatedly complained that he was “slow of speech and slow of tongue” (Exodus 4:10).
Why did God choose Moses to be the one to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt? Here is a man allowed to speak intimately with God. I cannot think that Moses excuse was the same as doubting God’s will. Moses writes in his autobiographical text the assurance that God gave Him – signs and wonders to display – both to the Jews and to Pharaoh – that would validate the words Moses was to speak.
Neither can I accept that Moses was afraid of what man might do to him. Moses did not question God’s ability to bring the Jews out of Egypt or that God would send plagues on the Egyptians. And in fact, when God told Moses to go to Egypt, Moses left in such a hurry that he did not even take time to circumcise his infant son (a mistake that only his wife Zippora remedied in time to save her husband from the angel of death).
So my reasoning (though without the benefit of theological training) is based on an earlier reading of the story of Moses – the time when he killed an Egyptian for beating a Jewish slave. This was an act worthy of death, yet Moses had a deeper love for and allegiance to his Jewish brethren than the Egyptian royalty that raised him in their household.
God chose Moses, not because He would miraculously heal this obvious speech impediment for Moses, (which God did not do) but because Moses loved God’s people with the same love God has.
The Apostle Paul, another man of Biblical fame, wrote often of his weaknesses. By his own admission, Paul says that he was given a ‘thorn in the flesh’ to keep him humble after being allowed to see heavenly visions. Also, though Paul was given spiritual eyes, he may have been alluding to his poor eyesight in Galatians 6:11, where he writes, “See with what large letters I have written to you with my own hand!”
Moses and Paul teach us an interesting truth about God’s choosing each of us and giving us a personal mission. Paul writes that boasting in the flesh is self-aggrandizement and profits no one. He also reminds us that our bodies are part of the offering we give when we follow Christ: “From now on let no one trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus Christ” (Galatians 6:17).
I’m sitting with these thoughts today as I look at the many Christian brothers and sisters who are in dire circumstances, poverty, poor health, or facing terminal illness. What is the body but a vessel we use on earth to pour out blessings to the people that God loves. Oh, to love others as oneself and in spite of the troubles in this world – true religion.