Exodus 4:11-12 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.”
God has said this sort of thing to many people down through the centuries, and many have reacted as Moses did. Moses was worried about whether the people would believe him, but the bigger issue was whether he believed God, and at this point his faith was quite shallow. It’s interesting that this degree of weakness in Moses is recorded, since he was the one who wrote it! There were later editors, certainly, but modern computer analysis shows that yes, the Pentateuch (the first 5 books of the Bible) were written by one person, and there’s no better candidate than Moses himself. Raised in the court of Pharoah, he would have been one of the very few literate people in the whole group of Israelites. That said, the fact that he did record it shows that he got past what his problem was right here: being focused on himself and his own abilities, or lack thereof. We all struggle with that at times. That really is what faith is all about. Of course, the flip side of that, conceit, is also an issue. We need to do as Paul said: “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” (Romans 12:3) The answer to both issues is looking to our Creator and trusting that He can do anything at all through us, but we can do nothing without Him, just as Jesus reminded us. (John 15:5) I’ve completely lost track of how many people I’ve heard say, “God could never use me to do that.” That is cutting yourself out of the flow of God’s grace and power. God expressly told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) Like Paul, then, we should rejoice in our weaknesses so that God’s power may be demonstrated through us. Moses hadn’t learned that lesson yet! God’s promise to help him speak and teach him what to say should have given him great joy and boldness, but his heart, his faith, was still stiff and small. We can identify with that! However, just as God “fixed” Moses’ faith, He can deal with ours as well, if we will allow Him to do so.
As I have written many times before, the conceit side of this equation has been the bigger problem for me. I was blessed to be raised by parents who never said, or even implied, that anything was beyond me if I would apply myself, but I ended up being able to do so many things that I thought it was me, rather than God working through me in grace. I felt entitled to success! Failing two courses my freshman year in college was a much-needed wakeup call. However, it wasn’t until the Lord gave me an unvarnished look at myself, at 24, that my perspective really started to straighten out. Even at 74 I can’t say that I see things with full accuracy, but as Paul said, “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12) I’m never to give up on myself, but that has got to be because I’m trusting in God’s grace, not on my own ability. As I tell people frequently, we can’t draw a single breath apart from the gracious support of our Creator. However, if I am properly in tune with Him, He will indeed put words in my mouth just as He did with Moses.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Help me rejoice in my dependence on You and not go running off or spouting off on my own, so that all of Your purposes for me may be fulfilled on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!