According to the Scriptures, Moses was "educated in all the learning of the Egyptians." Indeed, as a prince in Egypt, Moses had grown to be a "man of power in words and deeds" (Acts 7:22). Thus, it is hard to equate this eloquent and cultured man with the stammering shepherd who, at 80 years old, was overwhelmed with his inadequacies, so much so that he pleaded with God to choose someone else.
Consider: The Lord took a self-assured world leader and reduced his opinion of himself until he possessed no confidence. And it was in this state of mind that God decided to use him. Having been thoroughly convinced of his unfitness for leadership, Moses was now qualified to lead.
Remarkably, the Lord would ultimately reveal Himself to Moses (and all Israel as well) as Jehovah-Rapha: "I am the Lord that healeth thee." Yes, God is our healer, yet there are times when God's hands wound before they heal. Indeed, He must cripple our self-confidence before we truly become God-confident. He breaks and drains us of pride so that we, who were once full of self, might instead be filled with God.
The Lord called Moses to return to Egypt as His spokesman. In response Moses pleaded, "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" (Ex. 4:10).
Never been eloquent? What about Egypt? "Moses the Eloquent" has become "Moses the Stammerer." The identity of a sophisticated leader, a prince who knew the highest tiers of Egyptian culture, no longer functions in Moses. God has so humbled His servant that he cannot even remember his days of powerful words and mighty deeds. Moses has only one memory of Egypt: failure.
For Moses, the very mention of the word Egypt floods his mind with weakness; Moses fears returning to the place of his humiliation, especially as a leader. Yet, God has not called him to be a leader, but a servant. And, to be a servant, one need not be eloquent, but obedient.
It Was God's Idea
Moses is sure his particular weakness, stammering, will disqualify him. How can a man who cannot speak clearly speak for God? Yet, not only is the Lord unhindered by human weakness, He asks, "Who has made man's mouth? Or who makes him mute or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?" (Ex. 4:11). Amazingly, the Lord not only accommodates Moses' condition, He takes credit for it!
It is a profound thought: God stripped Moses of his worldly place and training, burdened him with a heavy and slow tongue, and then commanded him to serve Him in this specific area of weakness: speaking!
The Lord could have instantly healed Moses! He could have given him oratorical skills greater than what he possessed in Egypt, but He did nothing to cure Moses. In fact, the slow speech is God's idea!
Perhaps we have spent too much time blaming the devil for certain limitations that actually have their origins in God. Yet, what truly matters with the Almighty is not the eloquence of our words, but His power to fulfill them. It's a fitting combination: stammering words backed up with immutable power. "I...will be with your mouth" (Ex. 4:12). This is the alliance that makes for victory.
Why is the Lord so attracted to the lowly? He knows the weaker His servant, the more genuinely he will praise God for the work He accomplishes.
So the Lord kept Moses weak, and He maintained His servant’s sense of dependancy throughout the wilderness sojourning. Forget Charlton Heston’s portrayal of Moses with perfect articulation, there is no record of God having healed Moses’ stammer. Standing before the regalia of Pharaoh's court, Moses spoke with the same stammering tongue that began to afflict him in his old age. Later, at the Red Sea, when the horses and chariots of Pharaoh's army cornered the fleeing Hebrews, Moses lifted his voice and, with struggling lips, proclaimed, "Sta-sta-stand st-still a-a-and see th-the s-s-salvation of the L-L-Lord!"
Who would not be tempted to plead, "Hurry Lord; heal his stutter!" Yet, the Red Sea parted. God was never troubled by His servant's flawed oratory skills.
This is the glory of the cross: self is crucified so that Christ may be revealed in power.
The fact is, the Lord deliberately seeks those who know their flaws. Paul testifies that "God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong. . .the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God" (1 Cor. 1:27-29).
"That no man may boast before God." May the revelation of God liberate us from human vanity. The truth of God is this: Our weaknesses are an asset. God has chosen us, not because of our strength, but because we are weak. I am not talking about our sinfulness, but that our weaknesses and lack of pedigree do not disqualify us from being used by God.
I am not saying we shouldn’t seek God to heal our weaknesses, let us pray and believe Him! But let us also not excuse ourselves from God's calling because of our weakness. You see, before the Almighty, we each are nothing, and we can do nothing of lasting value apart from Him. It is in our lowliness that God's glory rises to its greatest heights.
Perhaps your last place of service to the Lord seemed to be a complete failure. Yet, it is possible that the Lord has simply been making you perfectly weak, that He might manifest Himself perfectly strong within you.