When you don’t believe in yourself – God does!

Arnold Friberg’s  “Moses and the Burning Bush (1957)

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this, while we were still sinners Christ died for us.

Read Exodus 3:2-4:20 and 6:30-7:2 Moses tells God that he stutters and stumbles on his words and that he doesn’t think he is up to talking to Pharaoh, that Pharaoh won’t give him the time of day because he can’t speak well.  So God shows grace towards Moses’ weakness and uncertainty by sending Aaron with him to do the actual talking to Pharaoh.  Basically, God tells Moses what to say, then Moses tells Aaron what to say to Pharaoh.  So God understood Moses’ weaknesses and his needs, and worked with him anyway.

The story of Moses starts in Exodus chapter 2.  If you take the time to read the whole story it really shows you how God was prepping Moses from birth for the task he had planned for him.  Here is a short recap of Moses’ life up until he gets to this meeting with God in Exodus chapter 6.

At the time of his birth the Pharaoh had ruled that all baby Hebrew boys should be put to death at birth.  Moses’ Mother saved him and hid him for a while until he became too hard to hide, then she put him in a basket and had his sister watch him (they put him where they knew Pharaoh’s daughter would be bathing.  He was adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter and she paid his own Mother to take care of him for several years.  (Isn’t God good).  The thing about this is that his natural Mother could continue teaching him the Hebrew customs and beliefs, and also because he was in the Pharaoh’s palace he was raised knowing how to deal with those folks also.  It came to a point that Moses killed an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew and he had to flee for his life into the desert.  There God gifted him with a time of peace where he could mature.  He married and had some children.  Then the day came that God wanted him to do his true purpose and that brings us up to Exodus 4:10.  God tells Moses that he wants him to go back to Egypt and stand in front of Pharaoh and demand the release of his people the Hebrews.  Moses tells God that he doesn’t believe he can do it because he cannot speak well.  (Many people think this means he stuttered, but it could be any manner of impediment, from nerves, to just thinking and speaking slowly. The bible describes his speech and tongue as slow and his having faltering lips.)

We are told that God’s anger kindled against Moses because of his faintness of heart.  Moses straight out told God to find someone else. This was even after God had shown him some miracles with the his shepherd’s staff.  However, despite God’s irritation with Moses, he patiently gave him what he needed to be emotionally ready for the work at hand.  God told him that he could get his brother Aaron to do the actual talking for him.  This gave Moses the boost of confidence that he needed to believe that he wouldn’t make a fool of himself and let God down.

 I am sure that Moses was not jumping for joy at the assignment anyway, as when he left Egypt he was fleeing for his life.  So why would he want to go back and jump into the frying pan where he might be killed, and his people were enslaved anyway?  God also let Moses know that all the men who had been seeking his life were dead so the danger of returning and being imprisoned or killed did not exist anymore.

No matter how much Moses doubted his abilities, God told him that he had a job to do and that he wasn’t going to get out of it!  God knew that he had been training Moses his whole life just for this purpose. He already had all of the skills he needed inside of himself.    We are never told how long Aaron spoke for Moses, but it doesn’t seem like it was always that way.  During the Exodus Aaron was appointed the first priest of his people.  Moses was the leader and the judge.  Moses at some point must have started speaking without the prop of Aaron…after all his father in law eventually told him that he needed to appoint others to help him judge because one man couldn’t do it all.  Moses mentions his speech impediment three times once in chapter 4 before he got to Egypt and then twice again after he got there in chapter 6.  It is evident that Moses just didn’t really believe in himself.  If we go by what Stephen the first Martyr of Christianity said in his speech to the Sanhedrin in Acts 7:22…”Moses was educated in all the learning of the Egyptians, and he was a man of power in words and deeds.”

This story tells us that sometimes God gives us a task he has been training us for all along.  Even when we don’t realize it, and we don’t think that we can do it.  God knows what we are capable of doing, and he is with us to help us do it.  Sometimes, even when we don’t believe in ourselves, we need to take time to remember that God knows what he has planned for us, and he always…always…fully equips us to do his will for us…we just need to wait upon him and find out what he wants us to do.  We run into trouble when we try to work outside of God’s will for us.


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